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Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe Hardcover – October 16, 2009
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With a journalist's flair for language and a historian's eye for detail, Silvia Pettem takes her readers through all of the twists and turns of a real-life murder mystery spanning fifty years, leading from an exhumed grave in Colorado to San Quentin's gas chamber. Someone's Daughter―replete with frustrating dead ends and tantalizing breakthroughs―is a compelling and accurate glimpse into the world of cold-case investigations. (James C. Oleson, J.D., Ph.D., criminologist and crime policy chief)
Cold case investigations, by definition, require digging into the past, but not all are as thoroughly researched as Someone's Daughter. This Jane Doe case documents a unique partnership between law-enforcement, the forensic community, and a historian who worked together―and got the job done. (Frederick A. Bornhofen, Chairman of the Board and Case Manager for the Vidocq Society)
Silvia Pettem is a real-life Agatha Christie. (Frank Bender, forensic artist and co-founder of the Vidocq Society)
Silvia Pettem has written a book the reader will remember long after the last page has been turned. The power of her writing left me shaken and in grief for Jane Doe. I am already looking forward to her next book. (Roy Hazelwood, retired FBI profiler and author of The Evil That Men Do and Dark Dreams)
Someone's Daughter is a lot of fun. Pettem puts you in right in her detective's gumshoes on almost every page, and you can't help but absorb some of her emotional connection to the case. ...[T]his well-written, exhaustively detailed investigation has helped bring a notorious Boulder cold case out of deep freeze. (Daily Camera, (Boulder))
Highly recommended reading! (Defrosting Cold Cases)
"Silvia Pettem has written a book the reader will remember long after the last page has been turned. The power of her writing left me shaken and in grief for Jane Doe. I am already looking forward to her next book."
Top customer reviews
I love true crime - books, movies, documentaries, tv shows. I find them fascinating. I especially love cold case studies. To apply modern knowledge and technology to a cold case is very exciting. This book did not disappoint. And what's even better is that this is a regular citizen who became interested in a Jane Doe. She used whatever method she could to figure out who Jane Doe really was. Her learning curve was steep, yet her goal was simple: figure out the young lady's name. The author gained so much more from her time working on this case, and so does the reader.
The biggest hurdle the author faced was "a decades-long practice of routinely destroying records of unsolved homicides and missing persons." This is the biggest hurdle most cold case investigators face. There are other sickening truths about the way our society treated victims, treated criminals, and treated evidence that the author reveals. "For evil to flourish, all that's needed is people to fail to act." This quote really sums up most cold cases. The statement really stuck with me.
The best things about this book are:
-it is absolutely thoroughly researched, an immense amount of attention to detail
-it is presented in a readable, not clinical, manner
-the author's passion is contagious
-the author sheds light on other missing women from that time period
-a really wonderful depiction of Boulder, a neat time capturing of the timeframe when she is working on this
I am in awe over the author's patience and diligence during this tedious process. The families who gained from the author's work are right to be grateful.
Definitely read this book if you are interested in cold cases, true crime, or historical pieces. Read this book if you enjoy gaining an education from what you read. Read this book if you appreciate great writing, great research, and tremendous passion.
The only negative I have is not a fault on the author's account but of formatting issues. The pictures and captions were excellent additions to the book but would sometimes get separated between two pages because of the size of the picture. This meant it was hard to connect the names or info to the persons or places in the photo.