Cover Image: Unmasked


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Member Reviews

I thought (hoped) I would like this book more than I actually did... This book could be great for the right reader, I was not that person though.
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Iโ€™m a Paul Holes stan, so getting this arc made my day. Iโ€™m fascinated by him & how his mind works. This book was such an interesting read & I highly recommend it to any crime junkies out there!
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Book Review ๐Ÿ“š Unmasked: My Life Solving Americaโ€™s Cold Cases by @paul.holes and published by @celadonbooks.

Unmasked is easily one of my favourite books of 2022 so far and is probably one of the best true crime accounts Iโ€™ve ever read. 

๐™„๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ค๐™จ๐™š ๐™ข๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™–๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™›๐™ง๐™ค๐™ข ๐™ข๐™š, ๐™จ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ, ๐™๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ, ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™œ๐™š ๐™ค๐™› ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™˜ ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™˜๐™ , ๐™„ ๐™—๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ ๐™ข๐™ฎ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™› ๐™—๐™–๐™˜๐™  ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ข๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™™๐™›๐™ช๐™ก๐™ฃ๐™š๐™จ๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™„ ๐™™๐™ž๐™™๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™– ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ก๐™จ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™ซ๐™ž๐™ก๐™š ๐™˜๐™ง๐™ž๐™ข๐™š๐™จ. ๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™จ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ก๐™ž๐™›๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ข๐™–๐™™๐™ฃ๐™š๐™จ๐™จ, ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™ก๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ž๐™˜๐™ ๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ข๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™™. 

I tore right through this one. Holesโ€™ writing was mesmerizing; heโ€™s blends true crime, crime fiction, and memoir into a crime story that will leave you pissed off with any minor interruption taking you away from it. 

To say this is fascinating is an understatement. Unmasked will blow your mind, and itโ€™s absolutely not for the faint of heart (think: maggots feasting on a decomposing face). If youโ€™re at all squeamish, youโ€™ve been warned. 

I loved that Holes gave us access to forensic details of cases that helped track down some of Americas most notorious serial predators. I found Holesโ€™ account of the Laci Peterson case particularly intriguing. 

What really sucked me in though, was Holesโ€™ sincere desire, sense of urgency, and obsession to solve cold cases that others investigators couldnโ€™t crack to bring closure to victimโ€™s families. The authenticity that Holesโ€™ writes with enabled me to feel like an investigator right alongside him as he experienced the depressive lows brought on roadblocks and the euphoric highs of catching a serial predators after years of shedding blood, sweat, and, tears. 

However, Holesโ€™ tale is also a cautionary one. He isnโ€™t shy about sharing the significant sacrifices that a career in hunting evil and battling madness demands of those willing to undertake such a noble endeavour. His story was eye-opening and humbling.

โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ 5/5 Stars.
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This memoir of the life and career of Paul Holes was amazing for a true crime fan like myself. I followed and have read about several of the high profile cases that he worked on and his story give a whole other perspective.  Laci Peterson, Jaycee Dugard, and of course the Golden State Killer were just a few of the cases discussed. I would have liked a deeper dive into some of the cases but I understand itโ€™s a memoir and not a true crime documentary!

Thanks to Celadon Books for the ARC!
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Paul Holes has long been top tier standard for all things true crime. A stunning investigator, and immensely enjoyable author. Reading Unmasked was a wonderful ride. Very well written.
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โ€œItโ€™s a hazard of my investigative process, putting myself in the role of the killer.  After spending so much time in East Area Rapistโ€™s head (now known as the Golden State Killer), I had an unsettling thought: what if I got stuck there?โ€

Part true crime, part memoir, Unmasked is a raw and immersive insider account of some of the most notorious cases of our lifetime and the investigator that solved them.  

From combing through crime scenes to bureaucratic restraints to constantly changing DNA technology, Holes details the inner workings of his job with a depth that fascinates.  He was known to foster a combination of science, art, and instinct to prove or disprove theories, often capitalizing on ancillary observation which accumulated as small victories that led to bigger wins.  But not every monster could be unmasked.  Even after following every painstaking lead, some cases came up empty.  

Holes investigated many noteworthy high profile cases, including Jaycee Duggard and Laci Peterson.  But his name is most synonymous with catching the Golden State Killer.  After more than 2 decades of research, Holes persistence combined with new DNA technology helped him bring down his most challenging and complex criminal.  

But it was the portrait he painted of himself that was most revelatory.  He describes homicide work as, โ€œsurvival of the fittest.โ€  Obsessive to the point of getting lost in his work, Holes could interpret evidence but not his own feelings, and this necessity to solve cases consumed his whole life and eroded family relationships.  

True crime readily profiles a murdererโ€™s psyche.  But it isnโ€™t common to do so of the investigator, making this book both unique and riveting.  And while investigative work is one of the highest callings, itโ€™s apparent through Holesโ€™ career that much collateral damage is left in its wake.   

Which has made me wonderโ€ฆ Are those that bring criminals to justice in fact the actual last victim? 

If you are a fan of true crime, this one is gold.  
Thank you to @paul.holes and @celadonbooks for this #gifted copy to read and review.
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Unmasked: My Life Solving Americaโ€™s Cold Cases by: Paul Holes 
Synopsis: From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating Americaโ€™s toughest cold cases and the rewards--and toll--of a life solving crime.
Review: First off, thank you to Celadon Books and the author for a copy of this ARC. This book is the perfect book for all of us true crime junkies. What an interesting, inside story of a criminologist solving some of the most high profile cases, including the GSK.. A very eye opening look into what it actually takes to solve some of these crimes. I found this read to be a good mix of the emotional toll  these cases had on Mr. Holes, and the facts. A quick read. Some parts of the book were a bit tense. In all, I believe this a very well written memoir and if you havenโ€™t checked it out then you most definitely should be on the look out for this one! 
Recommend: If you are a true crime LOVER, this book is absolutely for you.
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When I found out Paul "Blazer" Holes (iykyk) was finally writing a book, I could not wait for it to hit shelves. Luckily, thanks to Celadon Books I did not have to. This book absolutely delivers. Paul Holes is probably most well known for his work on the Golden State Killer case and if you're looking for that story, it's absolutely in here. However, he also writes about other cases in his career both solved and unsolved. The timeline of his life and career in forensics is absolutely fascinating and the description of his friendship with Michelle McNamara brought me to tears. If you're a true crime junkie like me, you'll absolutely devour this book. It has lots of information about many fascinating cases that he worked over his career.
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Many people live with the pain and horror of not only losing a loved one to murder, but of knowing the killer is still out there. Cases grow cold, law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed, and cases grow cold. Luckily, there are people like Paul Holes who never give up.

Many of us know of Paul Holes as the investigator who was instrumental in catching the elusive Golden State killer (GSK), AKA โ€˜Night Stalkerโ€™ and โ€˜East Area Rapist (EAR)โ€™, the monster who raped, terrorized, and murdered throughout the state of California between 1974 and 1986. Paul also worked with Michelle McNamara, who wrote the book, Iโ€™ll Be Gone in the Dark (also excellent). It took more than 20 years, but just days from his retirement, the monster was caught using DNA technology. It was fascinating to read how it all came together. Despite having read McNamara's book and watching the documentary I learned new things. 

Paulโ€™s career and successes reach far beyond the most well-known cases, bringing some measure of peace and resolution to many families. He obtained a college degree in biochemistry and began his career in a crime lab, but ultimately his career path led him to work on the investigative side of things. He blew the dust off of old case files and worked to solve them, often in his free time. The EAR (GSK) in particular became an obsession. His talent, keen insight, and background in science was invaluable. 

This well-written book is part true-crime, and part memoir. Paul details some of the cases he has worked on. No one LIKES to read grisly details of crimes, knowing they were real people who lived and whose lives were cut short, but I did like hearing how he and the other investigators work a case, the methods they use, as well as the science behind it, both behavioral and hard science. Paul details how DNA is a game changer and, from his explanations, it is clearly not as simple as it sounds, or as clear cut as it is depicted on TV. Paul makes a complicated subject easy to understand.

Paul doesnโ€™t shy away from the toll his career has taken on his mental health and his relationships. To cope, he exercises, spends time outdoors, and enjoys an occasional bourbon. Still, he suffers from nightmares and the occasional panic attack. He lifts the veil and tells it like it is. The job is not as romanticized as we see on TV. It is not an easy job to immerse oneself daily into depravity, but we, as a society, owe him and others in the field a debt of gratitude for their dogged determination to let no case go unsolved, and no murderer go unpunished. 

The most touching moment in the book was when a woman who was a victim of the GSK called Paul to ask if the news of his arrest was true. She cried tears of relief after spending 40 years living in terror that he would come back for her. It must be moments like these that make it all worthwhile.

Paul retired in 2018, but as he is still a relatively young man, he continues to use his investigative skills throughout the country, and he co-hosts the excellent podcast, The Murder Squad, with Billy Jensen, an investigative reporter. Itโ€™s an excellent podcast, and, again, the focus is not entertainment. His goal continues to be solving cold cases, not exploiting victims. One of the things I admire the most about Paul Holes, is the utmost respect and empathy he has for victims and their loved ones.
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Unmasked is a fascinating book that delves into true crime and the career of Paul Holes.

Paul Holes has covered so many cases in his career, some quite well known and others not as much.  To the families of the victim their case was just as important and Paul does his best to give them answers.  

He does not always succeed but he puts everything he has into the investigation.

The Golden State Killer he was obsessed with for over 20 years and  thank heavens he did not give up.

The book is very honest and well written.  

I for one could not put the book down .  I learned from Unmasked.

I highly recommend if you are interested in True Crime (and even if you are not) to get your copy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for a captivating read.
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Iโ€™ve been waiting for this book by Paul Holes and it was very much worth the wait.
Paul Holes allows us a professional as well as personal look into what itโ€™s been like working for the Contra Costa Sheriffโ€™s Department in California. His specialty is cold cases and even now in retirement heโ€™s still assisting in investigations. 
If youโ€™ve ever wondered how people who work in his line of work exactly compartmentalize what they witness in their jobs day to day this offers tremendous insight into it.
Thereโ€™s a case that he writes about that I think will stay with me forever. Iโ€™m still thinking about it. All the opportunity that was present and yet still such a horrible event was made to transpire. 
Like most I first heard of Paul Holes in relation to the Golden State Killer case, which is also discussed in this book.
Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy to read. I look forward to getting a hard copy myself upon release.
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I really enjoyed this true crime novel about Paul Holes and his quest to find the Golden State Killer. I feel like this appropriately captured how cold cases can wreak havoc in a life and plague an investigator when continuing to be cold. I imagine this ARC had another round of edits before publishing as there were some spelling errors and name inconsistencies, but overall, I really enjoyed this. I would've liked to have heard a bit more about the genetic genealogy that helped crack the case, but I really appreciated all the other cold cases that Paul helped to solve as his time working in law enforcement. Thank you to the publishers and Net Galley for an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review.
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I was so excited when I received this ARC from @celadonbooks I was seeing this book pop up everywhere and being obsessed with true crime anything (and having degrees in Criminology) I knew I had to read it! For me, it was 5 big stars! I was captivated by this book from page one. I was so mad that my life seemed to be extra busy this week and I couldn't just sit and read every page in one sitting. The book is part true crime, part memoir and was just chef's kiss! We learn not only about some of the biggest crimes Paul Holes worked on and helped solve (like the Golden State Killer!) we also see how his joh ikpaxged his personally life, especially when he became laser focused on solving a cold case. I really enjoyed reading things from his perspective, especially when it came to the cases. The information about how cases were investigated, especially the Golden State Killer and the use of DNA was very fascinating for me. It was such an interesting read and I just wish there was more to read.
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I love a true crime book, a la Where We Go In The Dark, and this is a great addition to the genre. Thank you for sending!
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So, I will start off by saying that I really enjoy Paul Holes' podcasts - he's EXCELLENT in that medium and is a truly gifted verbal storyteller. And the parts of this book where he's focusing on actual crimes are fairly good! But a lot of this book is him talking about the impact of his career on his mental health and relationships with others. I think this is an important topic in the sense that it's legitimate (and valuable) to discuss the impact of careers in law enforcement on mental health. I'm glad he opened up about it. But truthfully, there's a lot more of that in this book than actual true crime. And the true crimes he does cover have significantly less details than you get in, say, the Audible originals. If you're interested in Paul Holes as an entity and person, it's a solid book. If you're just in it for the true crime, I'd skip it and stick to one of his podcasts!
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I was first introduced to Paul Holes when I read Michelle McNamaraโ€™s book โ€œIโ€™ll Be Gone in the Dark.โ€ I was then reintroduced to him while listening to My Favorite Murder when they were discussing the Golden State Killer. (#hotforHoles โค๏ธ) It took only these two introductions for me to be obsessed with the life of Paul Holes so when I found out he was writing his own book I was geeked! And the book absolutely delivered.

I loved that we not only got to know more about Paul the investigator and Paul the cold case diver, but also Paul the normal person. I feel like we, for obvious reasons, put celebrities and public figures on a pedestal and forget theyโ€™re just people. Through this book we got to see Paul express his issues with anxiety and panic attacks and how he worked to deal with them, and I think that, along with all of his very impressive investigative work, is really important. I also really loved the bookโ€™s focus on GSK, especially since that case is what got me, yep - Iโ€™m going to say it again, hot for Holes. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‰

I have to give big thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for providing me an advanced copy of this wonderful book. Unmasked drops on April 26 and Iโ€™m going to need all of my true crime lovers to read this!
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This was amazing! I was super invested in GSK when he was captured, and Paul Holes had a HUGE impact on this case. It was fascinating to hear how his obsession with this case started, and how his career progressed over the years. To any true crime fans out there - this is one youโ€™ll want to read. Paul is an incredibly talented individual and I absolutely devoured this book. I am hoping he continues writing to give us even more insight into the many cases he worked over the years! #hotforholes
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Paul Holes shares his fascinating insights as a former cold-case investigator for the Contra Costa County Sheriffโ€™s office.  What makes this book so compelling are the anecdotal gems.  Raw and honest, Holes  shares the impact that his profession had upon his personal life. For a fan of true crime, this book is a must-read. I highly recommend this title.
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Unmasked was such an incredible book that gave wonderful insight into Paul Holes' decades of work as a crime scene investigator. He gave insight into the Golden State Killer case that no one else could provide. I could feel as if I was right there with him, following leads obsessively. His writing style is approachable and not too technical. He effortlessly explained his cases and how they were affecting his marriages and home life as well., rough as it may have been at times. A must-read for anyone interested in true crime and how investigations actually play out.
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For my true crime lovers, this was highly interesting. It was intense at parts, but I was able to really dive into investigations and detective work like never before.
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