Author: Elon Green
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This was engaging and focused on victims rather than a serial killer, but it was also quite light.
This is the story of a serial killer who preyed on gay men, with a focus on the personal lives of the few known victims and the community they formed in early 1990’s New York. It seems likely that the killer escaped justice for longer and killed more people than are known due to police bias. It also seems like he knew a lot about how gay men socialized and this book gives some insight into the places beloved by the community.
I enjoyed this book, but couldn’t help comparing it unfavorably to The Five, a story about five women who lived in the Victorian era and who were all killed by Jack the Ripper. Like The Five, this book did a good job of focusing on the victims. We learned a little more about the killer, because more was known, but he wasn’t the star of the story. We also spent a few chapters on the AIDs epidemic, the LGBT-friendly social spots in NYC, and the harassment and violence openly gay men were often subjected to. However, both the personal stories and historical context felt very light. The whole book was only about 250 pages and there’s only a chapter per person or per aspect of the historical context. By contrast, The Five was incredibly detailed, even though the events it described were so much longer ago. I felt like I got to understand a lot more about the lives of the women in that book, while I mostly learned basic biographical facts about the men described here. This was an engaging story, but I wanted more!