Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Restless Sleep, by Stacy Horn

THE RESTLESS SLEEP: INSIDE NEW YORK CITY'S COLD CASE SQUAD
Stacy Horn
ISBN: 0-14-303729-3
Nonfiction
Book #07-077

Between 1985 and 2004, there were nearly 9,000 unsolved murders in New York City. The longer it takes to track down information and evidence about a murder, the more likely it is to go "cold," which often means the criminal goes free while the case is relegated to a back burner for lack of progress. In 1995, Jack Maple and Edward Norris came up with the idea that became New York City's Cold Case Squad, a group of detectives whose sole purpose was to examine file cases that had stalled and breathe new life into them in order to find the killer(s) and close the cases.

Stacy Horn has focused on several cases spanning fifty years: the 1951 strangulation of a young wife, the murder of a cop by a meat hook in 1979, the killing of a misfit girl in 1988, and a couple murdered in front of their three young sons in a 1996 drug-related incident. Horn does a good job of switching back and forth between the development of the Cold Case Squad and the details of the crimes and their related investigations. Her account of NYPD politics is riveting and insightful, and her take on the city's unsung heroes is clear-eyed and realistic.

Horn's prose is both compelling and easy to read, although some readers may be put off by her casual profanity. Each case is deftly introduced, and the victims, although clearly flawed, are nonetheless sympathetic figures. Horn is particularly adept at explaining the ins and outs of organized crime and its deterioration since its heyday. Readers will be invested in the outcome of the detectives' investigations and surprised at the differences between reality and popular TV crime shows. Ultimately, The Restless Sleep is a must-have addition to anyone's true crime library.

1 comment:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

You have been tagged. :) It's for the Nice Matters Awards. A dirct link can be found at http://j-kaye-book-blog.blogspot.com/2007/09/my-first-meme-and-award.html