Cover Image: Unmasked

Unmasked

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Member Reviews

I'm a big Paul Holes fan and familiar with his television and podcast work, so was very excited when I heard he was finally releasing a memoir. It didn't disappoint! I appreciated the balance of professional details and personal narrative, and especially admired Paul's candor and reflective stance when examining his role as a father and husband. My only complaint is that listening to this text as an audiobook was an absolute nightmare -- Paul has a great voice and I've listened to him on many a podcast, but whatever vocal coaching he received prior to recording the book resulted in a stilted and unlistenable delivery, which is truly a shame.
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I am a true crime show addict and this book did not disappoint. It’s fascinating and brutal. This is a fast paced book that was hard to put down.
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Thank you to the publisher for my copy - all opinions are my own.

I really enjoy listening to Paul Hole talk about his career and the incredible cases he was part of through his career. This book definitely leans a little more on his personal life, which while still interesting, slowed down the pace a little. Great pick for true crime lovers, regardless.
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This book was creepy and hard to read at times. I enjoyed learning about how Paul Holes became interested in a career chasing killers but some of his cases were hard to read about due to the violence and graphic nature of the details. I thought his story and career were very interesting- you;d've preferred less of his childhood/growing up details
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This is a book Murderinos everywhere have been waiting for! In addition to references to Holes' most famous cases, this book offers a deeper look at the man himself.
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This was an excellent read. Paul Holes blends his professional history and his personal history very well, showing not just the cases he worked on but the effect his obsessions had on the rest of his world. Good for both true crime fans and memoir readers, this was an immediate addition to our collection, and it has stayed checked out consistently since its arrival.
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I have long been fascinated with the true crime genre, and in particular, the people who work behind the scenes and so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read Paul Holes debut book.

"From the detective who found the Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards–and toll–of a life solving crime."⁣

This was a completely fascinating read and the perfect mix of memoir and the high profile crimes he helped solve. I especially enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how his job as a criminologist impacted his family and personal life, especially because his work was so often, all consuming.

 His honesty felt so genuine when he shared the difficulties his experienced trying (and often failing) to balance his personal life alongside the demands of his work. This book was so well done and I highly recommend it. 

Thank you to Celadon Books for my gifted copy to read and review.
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Paul Holes is the best and this book was absolutely great! The descriptions of his cases and how he got his career started were fascinating. But this book also puts it into perspective of how this line of work can affect your personal life. I would definitely recommend this book to those interested in true crime.
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This was a very interesting book for true crime lovers. It provides a lot of detail about crime scene investigation and evidence analysis that I had never heard before, including things you probably don't want to know. There were poignant accounts such as Mr. Holes having to see the body of a friend on the autopsy table, or the body of a child who had been abused by their supposed protector.
Holes' knowledge and case stories are what made the book enjoyable for me, because you can tell it was co-written. This book lacks a voice and the injections of "personality" through stories of the author basically ignoring his family didn't have much of an impact other than making me want to slap the author.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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