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Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine Hardcover – June 30, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Last seen in a Brighton Avenue apartment of Portland, Maine on a Saturday night in October of 2001, Amy St. Laurent, 25, had gone out to show a visiting friend the city's Old Port section. Loughlin was then a Lieutenant (now Captain) and 24-year veteran of the Portland Police Department; Flora is a former assistant attorney general for the state and the author of seven mystery novels (Chosen for Death, etc.). Loughlin's recorded entries about the case-his thoughts, emotions and reactions to the investigation-amplify Flora's straightforward but potent narrative as detectives search for the grave, find it (about halfway through the book) and build a case against a leading suspect. This is a feast for proceduralists, giving countless small details of the work-a-day slogging involved, an effort that leads the department to make good on the mystery, catching Amy's murderer, and making the case stick.
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Review

"Loughlin's recorded entries about the case -- his thoughts, emotions and reactions to the investigation -- amplify Flora's straightforward but potent narrative as detectives search for the grave, find it (about halfway through the book) and build a case against a leading suspect. This is a feast for proceduralists, giving countless small details of the work-a-day slogging involved, an effort that leads the department to make good on the mystery, catching Amy's murderer, and making the case stick."--Publishers Weekly

"The tale is brimming with insights about police procedure, jurisdictional disputes, and politics. Over and over again, real life trumps fiction. For instance, after a five-hour standoff, the suspect surrenders one of his guns for a soda, the other for a cigarette. Put that in a novel and no one would believe it . . . The reader is never allowed to lose sight of the humanity of the victim, a young girl who accepted a ride from the wrong guy, then had the temerity to say no and mean it."--Boston Globe

"Readers of true crime will find this chronological tale of the search for Amy and her killer especially compelling because of the personal account of Loughlin, who was lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Department when Amy disappeared. Loughlin's journal, woven into Flora's painstaking recreation of the work of the detectives, highlights the intense discussions that took place among the key players and gives readers a look at the slow, steady progress of real detectives on a real case. There are no 'CSI solutions' that wrap up the case in a conveniently short time. There are no magic findings of DNA. What takes place in this true story is the passionate belief that they will find Amy, bring her killer to justice, and give closure to her family and to the people of Maine." --Foreword
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: UPNE (June 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158465533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584655336
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Rogers ClarkIV on July 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being wicked close to having been a Mainer all my life, I remember how murders back in the 1950s and 1960s held everyone's attention because we were a small state, way off in the northeast corner and relatively unpopulated. Mainers just didn't do each other in; get hammered on Saturday night and whack the heck out of each other, yes, but murder someone? Well, that was rare.

Fast forward to the next century. Murder is more common, but every so often one happens that simply captures the attention of everyone in the state. Amy St. Laurent's death was such an event. You could tell from the newspaper accounts that it was really eating away at the law enforcement folks who were involved.

Finding Amy isn't so much a who-dunnit as it is a gripping account of how the crime affected a considerable number of very dedicated law enforcement officers. As such, it is superbly done and does a very good job of helping the reader get inside the heads and more importantly inside the hidden feelings of those cops who pretty much stopped having a life while they were 'finding Amy.'
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Format: Hardcover
Finding Amy succeeds as a work of suspense, as you live through the day-to-day agony and frustration of the investigating officers as they piece together the crime despite flaky witnesses and hard-to-find physical evidence. But it also hits home as a tribute to an innocent victim who truly found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I thought I knew all there was to know about this case, but the book proved me wrong. Flipping page after page of riveting details, I actually found myself reading while walking through the house on my way out the door. Such was my inability to put in the bookmark and resign myself to finishing this great read later.

It also made me cry, and more than once.
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Format: Hardcover
What a great read --- made all the better by the fact that it is all true. I started the book on Saturday and finished it last night. I am not normally attracted to non-fiction crime books but this book grabbed me right from the beginning. I was particularly impressed by the journal entries Captain Loughlin made while he was working the case. His compassion and concern for the victim and her family is very moving. The writing is clear, straight-forward and elegant. This book is profoundly moving all the more for being real. It has everything --- a truly innocent victim, an extremely perverse killer, an intelligent and dedicated police force. Fiction should be this good!
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Format: Hardcover
Finding Amy is a gripping story that brings to life the search for Amy St. Laurent and the process of bringing her killer to justice. Flora's narrative is woven in with Loughlin's behind the scenes insights in a way that forges a connection between the reader and the victim's family, the detectives, and Amy herself. I found the book impossible to put down and will never forget the compelling story it tells.
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Format: Hardcover
I recently attended an event at a local library, and so happened to hear one of the authors of this book, Kate Flora, talk about Finding Amy. As I listened to her describe her experience writing the book, one of the things I found fascinating was her comment that although the book is true crime, it has all the elements of great drama. I soon found out how right she was. From the first chapter of this book, I was hooked. Joseph Loughlin's raw, emotional description of the life of a cop drew me in immediately - I knew he'd be a fasinating guide on the journey through this story. The approach the authors' take, of alternating Joe's very personal story of his involvement in finding Amy with Kate's wider view of events works exceptionally well. During the period I was reading this book, I happened to wake up two hours early one morning. Instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, I got out of bed so I could keep reading - that's how riveting it was. This book provides heartwrenching insight into what it's like for a distraught family facing their worst nightmare, describes the boundless, selfless dedication of the police and the ends to which they will go to find a killer, and is a beautiful tribute to Amy, a very special young woman loved and missed by all of those she left behind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a good true crime story which focused mostly upon the task of finding the victim's body in order to be able to charge the suspect. The police knew almost from the beginning who had murdered Amy St. Laurent; they just had to come up with enough for the suspect to be charged. Their biggest problem was not having her body and the potential evidence it might produce.

I have worked in a Maine D.A.'s office and other forms of law enforcement, and my husband was a homicide detective for years in another state. I have a special perspective when reading true crime, especially when it comes to Maine. The interagency cooperation in this case was almost unheard of and was ultimately what lead to its great success. But they never would have found Amy's body if those hillbillies, the game wardens, hadn't offered their assistance. I know all those guys, and they are the best law enforcement agency in the state of Maine. It was truly amazing that they were able to find her the first day of the search.

Deputy Chief Loughlin's journal added a great deal to the book. But I have to say that the image that he gave of Portland and the crime there was greatly inflated. He made himself a little too self important. Portland is after all quite a small city even though it does experience its share of homicides and other violent crimes.
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