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A My Favorite Murder recommended read
“A must for true crime fans.” – Booklist
“A truly impressive account of this dark chapter in [Ontario’s] history . . . Not just a sharp work of investigative journalism, The Forest City Killer is a poignant portrait of children and young people whose lives were cut short in horrific circumstances and a clarion call for long overdue justice. It is destined to become a classic of Canadian true crime.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer
Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster — or monsters — stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn’t stop searching until his death 40 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims’ families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person, or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?
Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations. And through her investigation, Vanessa posits the unthinkable: is it possible that the Forest City Killer is still alive and, like the notorious Golden State Killer, a simple DNA test could bring him to justice?
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Vanessa Brown has lived her entire life in London, Ontario. Her previous books include The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London and London: 150 Cultural Moments, which was honored by the Ontario Heritage Trust. She is married to Canadian poet Jason Dickson, and together they own Brown & Dickson Booksellers.
Published: October 2019
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“A truly impressive account of this dark chapter in the province's history . . . Not just a sharp work of investigative journalism, The Forest City Killer is a poignant portrait of children and young people whose lives were cut short in horrific circumstances and a clarion call for long overdue justice. It is destined to become a classic of Canadian true crime.” — Quill & Quire, Starred Review
“Brown’s smooth prose is a plus. True crime fans who don’t need conclusive answers will be well satisfied.” — Publishers Weekly
“Brown has done an admirable job of compiling a tremendous amount of information and combing through clues in order to provide an intriguing possibility.” — Winnipeg Free Press
"Anyone who enjoys true crime books will be impressed at the scope of this book. The Forest City Killer should be at the very top of your non-fiction reading list.” — Shelf Life
“Though Brown proposes her own theory about the Forest City Killer, she presents evidence in such a way to allow readers to draw their own conclusions. A must for true crime fans.” — Booklist
“When I talk about crime, at the top of the list is murder — preferably, multiple murders and, ideally, unsolved murders that have become a fixation for the authors who obsessively investigate them. After spending four years researching and writing The Forest City Killer, Vanessa Brown still lies awake at night, her mind ‘host to a constant parade of theories’ about the unsolved serial murders she investigated in her hometown, London, Ontario.” — New York Times Book Review
“Author Vanessa Brown has taken the story of murder most foul and crafted a true tale of intrigue with so many twists and turns that it is almost unbelievable . . . Untangling the web of murders as well as entertaining multiple theories, the writing of this book must have been a monumental task and yet Vanessa Brown proves herself as adept in not only untangling the many strands of the web, but also in providing readers with a cohesive and coherent timeline and a theory that comes across as convincing.” — Amie’s Book Reviews blog
“Brown is a gifted storyteller and marshals her evidence with skill and genuine compassion for those who lost loved ones.” — Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine