Cover Image: Unmasked


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Member Reviews

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.
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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.
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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!
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by Paul Holes 
Pub Date: April 26, 2022 
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
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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Unmasked is a very personal and candid memoir of a cold case detective/forensics expert who helped solve many high profile cases - from Laci Peterson murder, Jaycee Dugard abduction and the Golden State killer.  The author not only describes cases like a good true crime book, he also conveys poignantly the psychological toll and collateral damage to relationships and families as he became singularly focused and obsessed with solving criminal and cold cases.  Not every spouse wants to here the gruesome and heartbreaking details of his work day. This book is a fascinating look at the process of detective work and I was particularly struck by his observation that some detectives fall into the trap of inductive rather than deductive reasoning, meaning focusing on making the pieces fit or confirmation bias rather than being open to new possibilities.  He clearly was passionate about helping solve these cases and had the opportunity to meet and works with Michelle McNamara who also was following the Golden State Killer case and was working on a book.  I also liked that he realized he did not like being in "management" where it became about dealing with bureaucracy, report writing, and handling employee issues, when he would rather be at a crime scene collecting forensic evidence.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves true crime and wants a personal and poignant memoir from someone who was on the front lines of solving these crimes.
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Author, Paul Holes tells the story of how he spent his lifetime solving cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides, and his twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer. 

The book reads like both a memoir and a true-crime novel.  You really feel like you get to know Paul Holes.  He writes like he is talking to you as a friend and you get the true crime aspect by hearing about his lifetime of working on cold cases.  

Holes gives you a behind-the-scenes honest account of what it’s like to spend your life solving cold cases.  The frustrations, emotions, sacrifices and in the end the gratification of giving so many families closure.    

Unmasked is a very disturbing read, it brings the real-life villains that we all know are out there to life which at times was terrifying.  Having said that, I was glued to the book from beginning to end.  If you have a weak stomach, this might not be the book for you because at times Holes can be very graphic. 

I’ve read many true crime novels, but I’ve never read anything like this book!  It will forever be my all-time favorite true crime novel. 

Praise goes out to the men and women that solve cold cases for a living.  What you do is beyond amazing and you deserve much respect.
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This is part memoir and part true crime, and to me, it almost read like an incredibly entertaining coffee table-type book. The reason for that, I believe, is that it jumps from one case to another, leaving many of the chapters to seem like their own self-contained units. The exception to that is the intermittent recurrence - and throughline -- of Holes's search for the Golden State Killer.
Not only is Holes's experience fascinating to read about, but I found myself really appreciating his own vulnerability and ability to reflect on some of the choices he made, as well as the high personal costs of his obsession with solving cases.

Any fan of memoirs, and certainly true crime, will enjoy this read.

Thank you Celadon for the ARC!
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This was a very interesting true crime book. There was a lot of information on various crimes ~ most that many true crime readers will have heard of. 

The author did a good job explaining the various investigative technologies like using different types of DNA analysis etc. 

Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and publisher for approving an ARC at my request. All thoughts are my own.
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🔪Pub Day Book Review🔪
Summary: I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.

Crime solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession. People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I have always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.

When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
My thoughts: this was SUCH a great true crime book. Thank you so much @celadonbooks and @paul.holes I’m such a huge fan I squealed when I opened my mail box. A beautiful narrative of the life of Paul Holes, his friendship with Michelle McNamara, the Hunt for the Golden State Killer, Laci Petersen and more. Beautifully written and addictive to read🥰
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5 Stars!

"...Families who were still raw with sadness twenty years later. Cases never went cold for them."

Haunting. Chilling. A book I won't soon forget that, as a mom of two young girls, will probably keep me up at night, but such an important read.

Hard to believe that this is the first memoir I've ever read. But as a true crime and mystery/thriller junkie, as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to get my hands on it! We need to have more people like Paul Holes in the world, I'll just say that. In this book, he reviews for us his long career as a detective and his passion for cold cases and the many costs that it came with over the course of his adult life.

It follows not only the dozens of cold cases he followed, but also the frustrating stalls he hit because of technology limitations, political red tape, or bureaucratic limitations. Limitations that would keep cases cold for years.

This is a VERY difficult read at times. Paul pulled no punches here and I commend him for that, but there were several times when I had to put this book down and just take a moment.

Do I think this book is for everybody? No.
Do I think everybody should read it? Absolutely.

I thank Paul Holes for giving his life to solving cold cases and for the closure he's been able to give to so many families. What a truly incredible human being.

A huge thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for my advanced copies of this book
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Happy late PUB DAY! 

𝔹𝕠𝕠𝕜 ℝ𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕖𝕨
📖: Unmasked
✍🏼: Paul Holes    
💻: Celadon Books
📆: April 26, 2022

👇🏽 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕕 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕗:
•you are a true crime fan through and through
•you have a strong stomach
•you’ve ever been on 

📚 𝕤𝕪𝕟𝕠𝕡𝕤𝕚𝕤:
swipe for synopsis —>

💭 𝕞𝕪 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙𝕥𝕤:
“But this was my first experience with grieving families who were still raw with sadness twenty years later. Cases never went cold for them.” -Paul Holes

I know my reviews can sometimes lean towards the lighthearted side, but guys, I just can’t with this one. 

It’s powerful. It’s deeply disturbing. At times, it was absolutely excruciating to read. 

Do I think this book is for everyone? No.
Do I think everyone should read it? Yes.

This book was like reading the diary of a high profile cold case investigator. 

Paul Holes is a hero. He has a gift. He has brought peace to so many families with his tenacity in solving cold cases. The man sacrificed precious time with his own family to bring this world a little justice. A real life superhero. Thank you Paul. For all that you’ve done and for everything you’ve sacrificed. Thank you. 

There are very real monsters out there y’all. But you know what else there is? People like Paul. Don’t let the darkness EVER outshine the good people that are in this world.

The trigger warnings in this book are too many to count. So I won’t list them all. Do your research before reading because this one is GRAPHIC folks. 

🎧: Mad World- Gary Jules (because how appropriate) 

Oh! And Paul, I dare you to say “Contra Costa County Cold Case Investigator” three times as fast as you can! 🤪 (talk about a tongue twister)

What can I say? I had to land on a lighthearted note. Anywhooo, HAPPY PUB DAY PAUL! Get this book guys! It is a MUST for your shelf. You won’t regret it. 

Thank you so much for the ARC!
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for gifting me a digital ARC of the fascinating story of Paul Holes - 5 stars!

Paul Holes is the detective who found the Golden State Killer - this is his story.  We learn how cold cases came to be an obsession to him and how he took these murders and victims as his personal responsibility.  But that doesn't come without a cost, and Paul Holes paid that as well.  

Like so many others, I have always been fascinated with true crime, from devouring Ann Rules' books as a teenager to now.  This book details so many murders and cold cases investigated in one county - how frightening to extrapolate that across the country.  While so much of investigation work is solitary, done during sleepless nights, Holes details his collaborations with other detectives, agencies, and Michelle McNamara to try to solve this decades-long rape and killing spree.  Well written - I couldn't put it down.  A must read for true crime buffs - and an extra big thank you to Detective Holes and all the others who work so diligently to bring resolution to victims' families.
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*Thank you to NetGalley, Celadon Books, and the author for a digital advance review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Sorry guys, it’s unpopular opinion time! I’m a federal criminal prosecutor who loves true crime content. I was thrilled to receive this arc and had extremely high hopes. I just watched a documentary on Nightstalker prior to reading so I was amped up with the serial killer theme and ready to dive in. However, the execution just didn’t hit the mark for me. First what I didn’t enjoy about this book was that there were a lot of dead ends, just recaps of gruesome and serious cases and no end result - not exactly in line with the theme of “solving cold cases.” I also did not enjoy the sort of style/tone/demeanor the book was written in. It just read to me like a long-winded apology and explanation piece to his first wife and everyone in his life that he put second after his job. By all means, if someone wants to spin their own memoir/biography in this way, they absolutely can. It just wasn’t the exhilarating  story of cracking cold cases and bringing overdue justice to grieving families I thought I was signing up for, more of a negative and depressing vibe like his life was wasted away to catch GSK and he’s sorry but also not sorry. 🤷🏼‍♀️

This book has a LOT of triggers, so do not read if detailed topics of murder, rape, etc. bother you, especially before bed or you might dream about a night intruder with a ski mask on.
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True crime fans will not want to miss Unmasked. I have real a lot of true crime books over the years but none that resonates like this one. The writing flowed and the author exposing his vulnerability and how his work and the cases impacted his own life was heart wrenching at times. I also felt that he showed a genuine respect for the victims. I highly recommend this book.
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Paul Holes is an accomplished forensic investigator who has been involved in, and helped solve, many crimes across not just his "homebase" of Costa County, California, but across the country. He was involved in the Lacy Peterson case and, most notably, helped bring the Golden State Killer to justice. Cold cases are his specialty, and he combines his passion for science and the truth with his empathy for victims and their families to work tirelessly for the side of justice. Even to his own detriment... Unmasked is the perfect metaphor for this book -- readers will ride along with Holes as he works through his most memorable cases, unmasking criminals and killers even long after their crimes have wreaked havoc on their victims and their families. But Holes also "unmasks" himself, showing readers how tough the life of an investigator can really be and the price paid for such dedication.

Thoughts: First, I thought I "knew" Paul Holes after watching him work through numerous cold cases and give interviews on some of my favorite true crime shows, but this book really lets you behind the curtain! I admire him and have a new respect for his humanity and dedication to his craft. Also, the way Holes lets readers in to see the nitty gritty side of forensic investigation is eye-opening, captivating, and emotional. As a fan of true crime, this book hit all the right notes. But, warning: If you're not a fan of true crime, this book might not be for you. Holes doesn't hold back -- his brutal honesty of cases he's worked and the affect his job has/had on his psyche as well as his personal life is very real and will leave readers with a lot to digest. It's not for the faint of heart, but is so incredibly worth the read. I was riveted from page ONE!

**Thank you, NetGalley and publisher, for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.**
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