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  • Writer's pictureSelena | Beauty's Library

Unmasked Review

I found this to be a truly remarkable read.

Rating: Unable

From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards--and toll--of a life solving crime.

I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.

Crime-solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession.

People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I had always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.

When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.

But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy—even fatherhood—because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”

It is a promise I know I can keep.


I received a surprise ARC of Unmasked from Celadon Books. And I’m so happy to have gotten this opportunity. Thank you so much!

In all honesty, I probably would have never picked this up if this hadn’t shown up at my door unexpectedly. I’m not one for memoirs, and only recently have I discovered a curiosity towards True Crime. That being said, as soon as I opened this surprise, I knew I had to read it.

Now not being that into memoirs, I don’t know what to truly say about this one. How do you review a book based on someone’s life? Let alone rate it. So just as I did with True Crime novel, The Perfect Father, I left this one unrated. I couldn’t put a rating on someone’s life.

However, I found this to be a truly remarkable read. Paul shares with us a deep look into not only his career but how his career affected his personal life. And spread throughout his story we see glimpses of the cases he worked on, deep dives into the cold cases he cracked including the Golden State Killer and the gory details of his career as a detective.

I found this to be a truly remarkable read... we see glimpses of the cases he worked on, deep dives into the cold cases he cracked including the Golden State Killer and the gory details of his career as a detective.

If I’m being completely honest, I was more interested in the individual cases Paul worked on rather than his personal life. But I did appreciate the snipped that he shares. I also appreciated the dark details around the casework Paul worked on throughout his career. Sharing details that Paul stated are often never shown to the public or included in fictionalized detective shows and films. And those dark disturbing details made me once again say to myself “This isn’t just fiction, this really happened.”

I truly admired Paul’s passion towards solving cold cases. Not only did it solve the Golden State Killer and many others as well. But it also put the minds of families with lost loved ones at ease to know the identities of their killers. Which was even more rewarding to Paul.

I think if you’re curious about detective work, cold cases especially the Golden State Killer, and true crime this memoir is a must!


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