Cover Image: Unmasked

Unmasked

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I'm an avid true crime fan and have been listening to Paul Holes' podcast, The Murder Squad, for years. I had high expectations for this book and was not disappointed! Holes' story is a must-read for any true crime fan.
Was this review helpful?
The man can write. I love Paul Holes and I love this book. If you’re a fan of his podcast The Murder Squad, then you know his voice and reading this book might as well be an audiobook. You can hear him telling you the story as you read along. I truly enjoyed learning about his career and how he came to be the great detective who took down GSK as well as who he is as a person. The self reflection and vulnerability that went into writing this book is unmatched and commendable. 

Although I am not one to shy away from gory detail, I will warn that Holes does not sugar coat. What sets him apart is how he tells the story. He gives the cold hard facts without sensationalizing the crime in any way. You can truly see how Holes looks at the scene objectively as a professional and with respect as a person. 

What I loved most about this book is it’s authenticity. Like I mentioned before, this story is told in such a way that you feel as though Holes in sitting in front of you telling the story himself. It  is 100% Paul Holes.
Was this review helpful?
This was such an intense book, and Paul Holes did such a good job telling his story. He has a job that most people cannot do, and he has a special talent for it. If you are anything like me, this will be a book that you cannot put down. I am so glad that he chose to share his life as someone that solves the most gruesome and horrifying cold cases.
Was this review helpful?
A true crime memoir, this book chronicles Paul Holes during his time working in Contra Costa County, California with an emphasis on his process of investigating California’s Golden State Killer. If you read Michelle McNamara’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” this would be a great companion piece. Opening with Holes on his retirement day, this was a fascinating look into the grueling process of becoming a forensic investigator and how cold case mysteries can become an all-encompassing obsession in the search for answers, closure, but, most importantly, justice for families. Starting off, the book feels like a noir investigative piece as readers follow Holes’ career and dogged interest in solving cold cases. Growing up in CCC, it was fascinating to read Holes’ recollection of the area over time, descriptions of many of the small towns in the North Bay Area, and the science behind forensic investigations. You know it’s a great read when you are disappointed to have finished it and just want to keep going!
Was this review helpful?
This book is the memoir of a California detective who spent years digging in to cold case files. An interesting blend of true crime and personal life, as well as a first-hand look at how crime solving changed with the development of better DNA processing techniques. A solid book for any true crime fan, but with detailed descriptions of violent and sexual crimes this book might be too much for some readers.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Celadon Books for my gifted ARC!

Paul Holes tells his story as he grows from a budding criminologist to one of the professionals who aided in the identification of the notorious GSK. This was a fascinating and insightful memoir that covers both Holes’ personal and professional lives. I really empathized with the toll that his passion and work life took on his family. I also like Paul’s narrative voice- it felt like he was conversing with a friend throughout. 

This is also an excellent companion read to Michelle McNamara’s I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK. I highly recommend both of these books to anyone interested in true crime/forensic criminology.
Was this review helpful?
I first came across Paul Holes while reading I'll Be Gone in the Dark. His passion and dedication to solving the Golden State Killer Case was very apparent. 

Reading about his life, his job, and everything in between was so interesting. I recommend this to anyone with even a glancing interest in true crime.
Was this review helpful?
Paul Holes is probably one of the most determined human beings I have ever read about. His unwavering dedication to solving cold cases is inspirational and heart breaking, and it was incredibly unique to be inside the head of a forensic detective.
Was this review helpful?
First of all, I just needed to thank Celadon Books and Paul Holes for sending me this Advanced Reader Copy of Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases. I was truly flattered to be chosen to get the chance to read and review this book before its April 2022 publish date, and I'm here to say that Paul Holes' narrative didn't disappoint.

I first discovered Paul Holes from one of my favorite True Crime Podcasts, My Favorite Murder, where Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff invited Holes on to both congratulate and discuss his role in unmasking the Golden State Killer or Joseph James DeAngelo. I remember listening to that episode and being so fascinated with this man and his findings, and then rejoicing in the fact that he was getting his own podcast alongside Billy Jensen, in coordination with the Exactly Right Studios, titled 'Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad' where the duo dives back into Cold Case files, and encourage the listeners to step up if they know something -- really allowing Holes to further navigate his purpose as he liked to put it, referencing the premise of the last chapter of this thrilling non-fiction.

For those who don't know the background of the EAR/GSK, this serial r***** stalked the northern regions of California for nearly 20 years, frightening women, children, and families who grew up in an era when locked doors and windows was a rarity. Sexually assaulting and eventually taking the lives of several, the Golden State Killer claimed the livelihood and well-being of too many. Unable to be caught decade after decade due to mishandling of evidence, the lack of DNA equipment/software capabilities, and just random bad luck, the GSK was nearly unreachable, until the masterfully determinedness of Paul Holes came around, eagerly riling through file after file, lead after lead, DNA sample after DNA sample -- sacrificing friendships and familial relationships to put his search at the top of priority's sake to hunt this aggressor and deliver justice where it was due.

I was entirely captivated by this book and look forward to more retellings in True Crime History that helped to shape the judicial and evidential systems that we have today.

5/5 It was an incredible read!
Was this review helpful?
Like many who are interested in reading/listening about true crime, I have known of Paul Holes for awhile and jumped at the chance to read this book. It does not disappoint. It's so interesting to see how his mind works, how he approaches a problem, and the story behind the man. 

5/5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Celadon Books for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book as a free copy from NetGalley. I was beyond thrilled to receive a free copy of this book. I had heard some about the author, Paul Holes, from, his one tv series and appearances on another and from Michelle McNamara's book. I loved his passion for trying to solve cases and his care for the victims. 

Through the book we get a glance not only of this passion, but more insight into his personal life. We soon learn that passion or obsession takes a toll on the investigator, law enforcement, victims and all their families. The book does not follow chronological events, which is fine. The problem is that some information seems to be repetitive and at times a bit confusing. The book adds more insight into how cold cases, investigations, etc. are conducted and are not as simple and resolved soon as depicted on tv. The book is an easy read and can be read in about 2-3  days. I couldn't put it down. I liked most of the people in the stories. and could connect to wanting answers. 

The book will appeal to genealogists, forensics, those interested in DNA, science, murder, cold cases, arm chair detectives, and true crime readers and tv show watchers.
Was this review helpful?
It was really interesting to read about the dedication and determination from law enforcement to solve cold cases.  This is from an Investigator's perspective and it takes you closer than a journalist can. Not only do you see the toll crime takes on victims and their families but also on the witnesses. 
I would recommend this to anyone interested in the Golden State Killer or just true crime.
Was this review helpful?
I flew through this one. I had read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and when I saw this was being released, I was very eager to read it. I was not disappointed. I loved reading about the cases that Paul has worked on and would love to read more from him. A must read for true crime fans.
Was this review helpful?
Paul Holes has to be one of my favorite, if not my favorite, voice in the true crime investigative community. His knowledge is leaps above everyone else and he always tries to share details in a way that is easy to digest. Thankfully, his memoir was an extension of the man we know from his podcast. 

The way he shares his story of getting into investigating in California and how he got involved in cold case investigations was well thought out. 

I think this was an excellent look at the life behind the man and a reminder that sometimes devoting your time into investigations can be bad for your personal life even at the benefit of victims. 

Can't wait to see what comes from Paul Holes next!
Was this review helpful?
Unmasked 
by Paul Holes 
Pub Date: April 26, 2022 
Celadon 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.  I listen to podcasts and watch shows on True Crime so this book was very interesting to me. An excellent book that dives into some of the most famous cold cases in recent US history, told by the investigator, including the case of the Golden State Killer. Highly recommend it to anyone interested in true crime.
4 stars
Was this review helpful?
From the detective who found the Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and rewards – the toll – of a life solving crime. 

UNMASKED is the perfect read for true crime fans who want to see the other side of investigations. If you’re like me, you likely first heard about Paul Holes when reading I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK and then continued to follow him after the Golden State Killer was found. This book digs into the early days of Holes’ career, all of the cases he has solved over time, and the burden that this type of work can bring to someone. The cases Holes discusses are hard to read about, but it’s his level of genuine passion that drives the story. You can feel how much care and dedication Holes has for his craft and helping victims and their families. If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a criminologist looks like, this is the book for you!

🎧: I absolutely knew I needed to wait for the audiobook when I saw that Holes was narrating his own story. It was captivating to hear him recount the events of his life. Highly recommend going with the audio for this book!
Was this review helpful?
Very interesting read.  Paul Holes helped solve the golden state killer case.  I appreciated that he talked about his anxiety and how seeing such horrible things every day can have effect you.   I am looking forward to listening to his podcast.
Was this review helpful?
As a long-time fan of true crime, thriller books and movies, and Criminal Minds (lol), I was a huge fan on Unmasked. Written by Paul Holes, this book takes you down the road of his passionate career solving cold cases in Northern California. It was truly interesting to not only hear more about his career journey, but also how this profession affected his life, his unending work to find the GSK, and learn about the harder cases he's worked on.
Was this review helpful?
Paul Holes is an extraordinary person. His book dove deep into his emotional and mental state during his career. I loved reading about all the behind the scenes details involving the Golden State Killer investigation. He has been instrumental in so many cases and reading about it has been a privilege.
Was this review helpful?
I liked this one a lot. I think the Holes does a great job of outlining the effects his professional career has on his personal life and how his cases affected him so deeply. 

I think the structure of this memoir is strong, but sometimes too drawn out. I think the book could’ve been 50 ish pages shorter. 

As someone who listens to true crime podcasts regularly, I loved getting his perspective on the GSK case. It’s always interesting getting the “inside scoop” of what went down trying to unfold the truth. 

Overall, this was one of my first true crime/nonfiction books of 2022 and it was definitely a success. I highly recommend for lovers of murder mystery podcasts, books, and shows!

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆    4/5 stars
Was this review helpful?