Book Review: Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls by Justine Ford

Published in 2019 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Genres: True Crime, Non-Fiction, Biography, Criminal and Forensic Psychology, Society and Social Sciences.

Page Count: 283

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Pan Macmillan Australia:

Can you catch a killer or find a missing person?

Australia is ‘the lucky country’. But not for everyone.Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls tells thirteen stories of people whose luck ran out in the most mysterious of circumstances.

It’s a journalistic deep-dive into Australia’s dark heart by one of Australia’s premier true crime writers, Justine Ford, the acclaimed bestselling author of Unsolved Australia and The Good Cop.

Why are four people missing from a Western Australian doomsday cult? Who abducted and murdered beauty queen Bronwynne Richardson on pageant night? And why is a cooked chook important evidence in the outback disappearance of Paddy Moriarty?

Key players are interviewed, evidence laid out and suspects assessed. Never-before-published information is revealed. Can you help crack the case and solve these mysteries?

Hold tight as Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girlstakes you on a chilling yet inspiring true crime rollercoaster ride where the final destination is hope.

My Review:

Review copy provided by the publisher, Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

This book though, honestly- it was utterly phenomenal and I found every case to be equally horrifying and fascinating! From the very first story about an Irish born man who was living in Larrimah, a town of only 11 residents, none of which can explain what happened to Paddy (the aforementioned man) and his faithful Kelpie, Kellie – excavations and searches took place for him, but to no avail! I mean, what happened to him and his dog, as well as these other people that befell such tragedy. It was definitely hard not to be moved and wonder how such horrible actions can happen to these people and I definitely felt saddened for their families who have to live their lives not knowing what truly might have happened to their loved ones, I definitely can’t even imagine what they must feel and the utter angst they go through each day!

I absolutely loved how this book was presented, not only with the 13 short stories, but also profiles featuring investigators and officers that handled missing persons, or that looked into what might have befallen these victims- in the instance of Narelle Fraser, who is a former Victoria Police Detective, I couldn’t help but admire her sheer resilience and passion for wanting to help people, constantly seeking answers and seeing to it that people can be helped, even when one feels most helpless. Every detective, investigator and reporter who worked on these cases handled everything so diligently, ensuring that all possibly investigative measures are taken to ensure that a verdict is reached, or refusing to stop fighting for justice where it is due!

These stories were all so haunting and really made me wonder how cruel and just cold hearted and terrible people can be, to end someone’s life in such a cruel and callous manner – although we may not know what has completely happened to some these people, it’s likely that they met a foul end (although in the cases of Elisabeth Membrey, where blood was found in her home, and Bronwynne Richardson, where her body was tragically found), there is still the cases of (to name two) Atilla Bogar and Sean Sargent, who have never been seen again after seemingly vanishing from their loved ones without a trace, a sign, even a message.

Justine Ford has presented these cases completely vividly, for I felt like, in each of the Thirteen stories that I could clearly see everything presented before me, I could picture the soon to be victim, going about their usual day, looking forward to their future – only to never be seen or heard from again and that just once again really hits home and makes for extraordinarily emotional reading, as I also read about their families and friends, who reflect on their final conversation or meeting with their loved one, thinking if their reactions were different, maybe their loved one would still be with them today.

These stories too, I found, leave their impression, I mean, I found when I wasn’t reading this book, I was reading articles online about these cases, seeing what had been revealed about them further, just wholly fascinated and horrified by what had occured – and I mean, the cases are horrifying, there was a woman, Lorraine, an intellectually delayed woman, who has quite possibly been murdered by a man who tricked her emotionally into thinking that he loved her, controlling her finances and moving her away from her loving and doting parents, I just felt so sick and upset for them as they’d recount how they’d get the occasional phone call from their daughter, crying about how this heathen would beat her and emotionally scar her! So yes, you can definitely say this book has indeed impacted me throughout. I mean, I feel like I’ll often search for further developments about them and listen to podcasts about them too. I really hope though that these people’s families will one day have answers that they’re looking for, no one should have to go through what they’re living!

An utterly harrowing but completely fascinating read, something that anyone who is fascinated by true crime, or loves mysteries or just exceptionally cryptic cases in general will not want to mias! A big thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Happy Reading,

Brooklyn.

About Justine Ford (from Pan Macmillan’s Website):
Justine Ford is a true crime author, TV producer and journalist. Her first forays into crime were as a reporter on the top-rating Australia’s Most Wanted. She has covered scores of chilling homicides and missing person cases, winning the trust of families who are victims of crime, and developing deep access to police all over Australia. Justine has written five books, including the best-selling The Good Cop, the true story of Ron Iddles, Australia’s greatest detective which in 2019 she executive produced for Foxtel’s Crime + Investigation channel.

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