The Skeleton Crew provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes-wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement--and one another--at matching missing persons with unidentified remains. Read more...
The Skeleton Crew provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes-wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement--and one another--at matching missing persons with unidentified remains.
In America today, upwards of forty thousand people are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths.
It's DIY CSI.
The web sleuths pore over facial reconstructions (a sort of Facebook for the dead) and other online clues as they vie to solve cold cases and tally up personal scorecards of dead bodies. The Skeleton Crew delves into the macabre underside of the Internet, the fleeting nature of identity, and how even the most ordinary citizen with a laptop and a knack for puzzles can reinvent herself as a web sleuth.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-03-31
- Reviewer: Staff
Though experts can’t settle on a figure—from 13,000 to 40,000—they agree that there are multitudes of unidentified remains in America, and it’s more than law enforcement can handle. That’s where the public comes in. Self-proclaimed Web sleuths have been identifying victims and investigating unsolved murders since 1999, according to journalist Halber. In her first book, she profiles individuals from this unique subset in a lively study that’s part whodunit, part sociological study. She introduces readers to Todd Matthews, one of the scene’s celebrities, who began investigating unsolved murders in his teens and has spent most of his adult life (to the detriment of his family) attempting to identify Kentucky’s “Tent Girl,” and founded one of the first sleuth websites. Readers also meet Betty Brown, a gifted sleuth who “can find anything” except for the remains of her own brother, as well as Cheri Nolan of the National Crime Information Center and coroner investigator Rick Jones. Using Matthews’s quest for the identity of the Tent Girl as a framing device, Halber shares the petty arguments, forensic techniques, and trivia (both New York and Philadelphia are built upon mass graves). The result is eminently entertaining and will be devoured by armchair detectives. Agent: Lindsay Edgecombe, Levine Greenberg. (July)