Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review-The Restless Sleep by Stacy Horn…A Look Inside New York City's Cold Case Unit

A Book Review of “The Restless Sleep” by Stacy Horn… "Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad". It takes dedication and concentration to read this intriguing and spell-binding tale of old crimes, the investigations, the victories, the defeats, as well as the politics of a cold case unit that explains so much.

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The Restless Sleep-Stacy Horn
"Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad"

Amazon code for this book.
"Right now you have an almost 50% chance of getting with murder in New York; 49.3% of the murders committed in 2003 remain unsolved. That figure of the murders committed in 2003 remain unsolved. That figure will drop in 2004, but not by much. An unsolved murder has up to 5 to 10% chance of being cleared within one year after it goes cold. After two years, that chance decreases to less than 1 percent . If you murdered someone in 2000 and you're not in jail already, you're in the clear. You got away with it. Congratulations.

Let us begin, now with the extraneous out of the way, with one iron clad rule as concerns this book: it is not for the faint of heart.

By that, I mean that the reader should be dedicated to understanding the details, a genuine True Crime afficiando and one who reads to understand the nuances and enjoy a depth of minutiae that would intimidate a more timid reader.

This is, as indicated, a story of a cold case unit. Along with the details, trails, evidence, alibis and other investigative information of the crimes chosen to be illustrative of a cold case in this book, there is also the intriguing political and corporate process involved in setting up, financing, supervising and in general, running a cold case unit.

Fascinating stuff. But again, not for the faint of heart.

To a reader devoted to the convoluted stories of the sad crimes left unpunished and unresolved, this is a compelling read. The author did a fantastic job with the detail, the presentation of the details, and with how the book was written.

The author chose several unsolved crimes that were being investigated by the NY cold case unit. The crimes were varied enough to provide the reader with the many sorts of crimes that are part of the cold case unit and the many difficulties, the heartbreaks, the differences in who was killed, those left behind and, of course, the investigation of them all so many years after the fact. The author tells the story of individual investigations, not all at once, but in “chapters” of the cold case investigation. She’ll give details of the crime, the assignment of the cold case, the background of the investigating detective, the research involved, the search for long forgotten witnesses. Just when a major climax is reached in the investigation, the author moved onto another cold case. After a few more introductions of other cold case investigations, the author returns to the original cold case. And so on like so throughout the book. This method kept this reader spellbound for the entire story.

Linda Leon and Esteban Martinez were drug dealers. They were also parents of three small children. These children were in the home when their parents were so brutally murdered. It’s a compelling story of the investigation, the lies, the travel, the sorry lives of those who committed the crime.

The murderer of Jean Sanseverino had yet to be brought to justice. Someone strangled Sanseverino and defecated all over her dead body. The reader follows the investigation of this case, over twenty years past at the time of the book’s writing. The reader too tries to deduce which of Jean’s many lovers might have been so angry with her to do such an awful thing or wait, could it have been Jean’s estranged husband? There’s hints of another possible perp but for whatever reason, he was never investigated, his alibi never fully verified.

Christine Diefenbach was just 14 years old when she was murdered, so brutally beaten that her ears were torn off. The reader silently roots for the investigating detective to find the monster who took such a young girl’s life. Christine would have been 28 years old when I read this book. She should be married or in love, maybe with children of her own. Yet someone murdered her and no one knows why. Her parents suffer her loss every day of their lives.

It’s these stories and more, mob hits, cruel deaths, that remain unsolved. Cold case units receive more funds today with the advances of DNA evidence. In this book, like the reality of cold case units, some of the cases are solved, some have the perps brought to justice, some remain unsolved. Some times the murderers get caught, many years long after they thought they’d gotten away with it. Often they don’t.

In every case it’s a fascinating story as investigators re-trace history, lost evidence, dead witnesses and find one murderer all warm and happy after leaving the innocents behind that they killed and it’s all worth the effort, time and money.

True Crime afficiandos of the strongest and most devoted will absolutely love this book.
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