Shenher explains how police unwillingness to believe the women were missing or murdered, jurisdictional squabbles, and a fear of tunnel vision conspired to leave women unprotected and vulnerable to a serial killer nearly three years after she first received a tip that Pickton could be responsible. She unflinchingly reveals her own pain and psychological distress as a result of these events, which left her unable to work with or trust the police and the criminal justice system. "That Lonely Section of Hell" reveals the deeper truths behind the causes of this tragedy and the myriad ways the system--and society--failed to protect vulnerable people.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Shenher's account of the investigation into the disappearances of sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside captures the frustration, self-recrimination, anguish, and helplessness she felt as head of Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) Missing Persons Review Team, during the three long years it took to bring Robert Pickton in for questioning in what proved to be one of Canada's most notorious serial murder cases. Despite receiving what appeared to be credible leads from informants implicating Pickton in 1998, Shenher could not convince her colleagues, or local RCMP officers, to act on leads and investigate, though women continued to disappear. Insufficient and uncooperative staff, racism and other prejudice, and a practice of ruling out possibilities before investigating them slowed the team's progress. It took a toll on Shenher. Nightmares, uncontrolled anger, drastic mood swings, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder eventually drove her from the VPD. Moving letters she wrote to the memory of five victims reflect the deep personal regret and remorse she felt at not being able to save these women from their fate. Shenher's highly readable book provides important insights into a horrifying case and the reasons that it remained unsolved for far too long. (Sept.)