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Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine Mass Market Paperback – December 4, 2007
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This one is a triumph and a joy -- no showy-made for TV-ness -- just the reality of the way crimes and those who do them should be taken to account. This one is the real thing."--Courier Gazette, Rockland, Maine
"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
"Few true crime books get behind the scenes and explain how homicide detectives do their jobs the way Finding Amy does."--Bangor Daily News
"This is one of the best true crime stories to be published in recent years...This book should reaffirm the public's faith in the police, prosecutors, and Maine's judicial system."--Brunswick Times Record
"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
"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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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.
One broken man, in an instant of unbridled, psychopathic rage, can end a life and start an endless wave of pain that hurts many people -- but then galvanizes even more people to band together, cooperate, and hunt him down, so no more of the innocent will become his victims.
Amy had everything to live for, and loved her life and the people in it. The killer was empty, lived only for selling and and abusing drugs, and was incapable of love, or even remorse.
It would take a miracle to bring him to justice, and the miracle happened. All of southern Maine was outraged, and spent spare hours hunting through frozen fields and forests, looking for signs of a hidden body. Local people volunteered their homes and resources to house and feed searchers. The biggest miracle was the cooperation between the local police and state troopers (of other states, as well as Maine), county sheriffs, the FBI, and the Search and Rescue (or in this case, Recovery) team.
I don't watch 'procedurals', on TV or in movies, and this is the only murder mystery-type book I've ever read. I usually find any such story horrifying or depressing.
But this is a satisfying story about the victory achieved when everyone works towards a common goal -- finding Amy, finding justice, and finding a way to prevent the killer from ever doing this again.