Cover Image: Unmasked


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Member Reviews

What I liked about the book:
Is saying I liked everything a lazy way to start a review? Maybe. But I really did adore this book. It had the right balance for a true crime memoir (is that a genre?). Facts about various high profile true crime cases were thrown in throughout the story to illustrate key points in Holes' development as a detective, which was a main focus of the memoir. You can tell Holes' took the time to reflect on his successes, his failings, and his personal weaknesses. How he helped solve the EARONS/Golden State Killer case is fascinating, but what really makes the book is the vulnerability he shows in discussing the major events in his life.

What I didn't like about the book:
Nothing It ended. That's what I didn't enjoy. So, one more positive - I was pleased to see how open Holes' was about his mental health struggles. The stigma around mental health affects everyone, but especially men. The more people are honest and unashamed of their struggle the better.
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Something that has always interested me is true crime, specifically cold cases, and I will take them any way I can, usually it’s in the form of a podcast. So when I heard about Paul Holes memoir Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases, I was sold, it was immediately added to my tbr. That being said, I was so excited to find an advanced copy at my door!

Somehow, I had never heard of Paul Holes before but I was incredibly interested in all the cases he touched on in this book, some I’ve heard of and some I had not, and the ways in which his job affected his home and family life. 

The case that keeps coming up in Unmasked is that of the Golden State Killer, and I remember being fascinated the first time I heard of this case while watching Unsolved Mysteries. Paul’s obsession with this case was ultimately what solved it with the progression of DNA technology, and his behind the scenes work. 

Overall, I appreciated how honest Paul Holes was in this memoir about his personal lift and how each cold case affected him personally and professionally over the years. I had made it a goal to read more non fiction this year, and this was an incredible addition to my shelf, perfect for fans of true crime!

Thank you to Celadon Books for my gifted advanced copy in exchange for review!
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Just like Paul Holes’ first group of coworkers when he entered the field, I found him unlikable, distasteful, and honesty a hypocrite. I feel anyone in the field will also fall in this category and would not recommend this book to them. 
*Otherwise, I’m sure the general public will find it fascinating and intriguing.*

I disliked the retelling of portions of his (somewhat obsolete) personal life. Yes, I realize this is a memoir type book but his attempts to blame anxiety, panic attacks, and overall social awkwardness on him being an awful, inconsiderate, selfish human with a superiority complex to the majority of the people in his life is unacceptable. 
His work ethic/morals are somewhat questionable. Times surely have changed but as a self proclaimed “science nerd” he seemed to have found himself often times quite wrapped up in the investigative police work. He even admits that while the lab was either short staffed or overwhelmed with active cases he would sneak off (and lie about it) to investigate the East Area Rapist cases.
He comes off very arrogant and almost makes this book intolerable to read. 
I wish he focused more on overall cold cases and not so much on the Golden State Killer/EAR/ONS. I understand that’s his claim to fame, a huge part of his career, and clearly evident his life long obsession, but I went into this hoping to learn more about less known cases he worked on.  It should be retitled, “My Obsession with the Golden State Killer and Other Cold Cases.”

I want to still send a very appreciative thank you to Celadon Books via Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for my honest review.
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I thought I would enjoy this book more than I did. I am not overly familiar with Paul Holes although I have definitely heard his name and am respecting of his work. He discusses his life and background, career and cases he has worked on, as well bringing some of his own emotion and despair into the picture. I found it a bit dark and depressing. I think it would be more suited for people who have followed his career or watched his documentary show. Or perhaps I read one too many John Douglas. Books and am subsequently jaded to this aspect of the true crime genre. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this arc.
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A fascinating look at the life of retired investigator Paul Holes and a few of his cases. This memoir is a solid mix of recounting of Holes' personal history, the crimes and how his devotion impacted his life and family.
Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Celadon Books for sharing this advance copy with me in exchange for my honest review.
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I am fascinated by true crime. I love Paul Holes podcast and couldn't wait to read this book. It sucked me. I was reading the book with his voice in my head. It was just listening to him speak
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I would recommend this book for any true crime fan, especially readers of John Douglas and Joe Kenda. In this book, Holes chronicles the cases that have stuck with him- and the effects of his career on his personal life. There’s new revelations in the case of the Golden State Killer (formerly EAR). So if you’ve read I’ll Be Gone In The Dark or listened to Evil Has A Name, know that this book doesn’t just rehash the same old facts. I also appreciate Holes opening up about his anxiety and panic attacks.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishing company for the chance to read and review this book. This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Paul Holes has lived a thousand lives and the way he tells his story draws you in. You can tell that justice for all the victims is his number one priority. I would read anything he writes. I highly recommend this book for true crime fans.
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🌟rating: 5 stars
📖genre: non-fiction / memoir / true crime
📆pub date: 4/26/22
#️⃣pages: 288

First of all, thank you so much to @celadonbooks & @paul.holes for sending me a #gifted advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review! 🤍

Attention true crime junkies, this one is for you!
Paul Holes takes us behind the scenes of being a cold case detective on some of the most famous cases: Laci Peterson, Jaycee Dugard, Golden State Killer. But he’s also human. Holes touches upon how the impact of his gruesome job greatly affected his personal life & mental health over the years. What real life detectives/police officers/FBI agents deal with is nothing like what is depicted on tv shows.

This is not for the faint of heart or those with a weak stomach. This book goes on to tell grueling, raw, horrific and graphic details of true crimes.

⚠️TW: rape/sexual assault, murder, kidnapping, violence, death, suicidal thoughts/behavior, and so much more!
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I kinda had very high expectations going into this book and it kinda fell flat. I felt like over the first half of the book was too much background and information about the authors personal life. The title led me to believe we’d be learning about distinct different cold cases he solved, but really we only learned about the authors job and followed one distinct cold case. I did really enjoy learning about the authors work and what he did; I could have done without long chapters of his personal life. Overall, a decent true crime book, but the title kind of misleads what the book is truly about.
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Paul Holes, a criminalist, night time detective, and cold case investigator recounts the cases that have made his career in this memoir with some true crime mixed in. Holes helped bring the decades old case of the Golden State Killer to a close, because of his insight to use genealogy records to find the killer. Holes still uses his expertise in solving forgotten crimes to bring closure to victims families to this day. 

I have been a fan of My Favorite Murder podcast for a long time now! Seems like just yesterday when I listened to Karen and Georgia gush over this incredible detective, #hotforholes. I had no idea the rabbit hole it would send me into. I quickly picked up I'll be Gone in the Dark from Michelle McNamara to learn everything I could about the Golden State Killer and Paul Holes. A WEEK after I finished that incredible book they arrested this monster in California. I still get chills thinking about it.

I loved getting to hear from Paul's perspective, reading about his connection with Michelle and how affected he was from not just her death, but being surrounded by death was all consuming to him. Paul is clearly a workaholic but it's what he loves to do, he can't shut his brain off when he gets home. This, of course, affects his relationships with his family and alcohol. 

I really loved hearing about how Paul goes about solving crimes, and all the crime scenes he was at. This book is truly like reading a real life CSI episode. I think a few things could have been improved in the book, the writing often felt choppy, jumping from memory to memory sometimes. I also felt like Paul was holding back at times. But I also think I brought my own preconceived notions when we know Holes is not an experienced writer or over-sharer. 

Overall I think the book gave great insight into how cold cases are solved and how important it is to get those resolutions not just for families but for everyone involved.
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I could NOT put this book down.  Paul Holes has written an amazing account of not just the cold cases he investigated throughout his career but also his personal life and his entire career as a criminal investigator.  Each investigation he undertook he explained in great detail, outlining the case, the victims, the circumstances and the suspects that were being pursued.  Holes was relentless in his incredibly detailed research and explanations of the procedures used and what the findings involved. His explanation of facts was amazing.  I am so impressed with his knowledge and how he just did not give up.  He worked on several very famous cases and presented a lot of info that was not well known to the public which was so interesting.  Actually, I didn't want this book to end!  Truly a well-spoken, amazing, devoted investigator that our country is lucky to have. He has helped so many people who have experienced violence in their lives gain some closure, for which I am sure they were grateful.  Looking forward to reading Mr. Holes other book and any future books he might write.
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True crime / memoir which not only showcases some of the most memorable cases as told by Paul Holes, but how and why the cases and cold cases had the effect on him the way they did - how those cases enveloped his entire soul, his entire life, his family, his every thought.

Fascinating and interesting read, but I had mixed feelings on some parts of the book (not necessarily the crime cases), but as the "memoir" part of the book, Obviously, a life of being thrust in and around true crime might  precipitate feelings and opinions different then the reader's.

My thanks to NetGalley, Celadon Books, and Paul Holes for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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As a true crime addict, I stumbled across this book and immediately recognized the authors name. I had just finished reading Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and became so obsessed with the Golden State Killer case. Michelle McNamara worked with Paul Holes while she was writing an article and a book based on the GSK. Michelle McNamara passed away in her sleep while writing her book but Holes was the one that worked day and night and finally found the Golden State Killer. It only took twenty seven years to finally track him down and put him away forever. 

I was immediately captivated by his life story and fell in love with how he had written it so eloquently. He worked so many well known cases, such as; Laci Peterson and Jaycee Dugard. I felt the emotion he put into his book and couldn’t pull myself away. 

I found it fascinating how he found the Golden State Killer through a family tree. I especially loved his detail on how much DNA 🧬 processing and testing had changed over the years and how it’s helped solve so many cold cases. 

I can’t wait until this book is published, I would love to purchase a copy so I could read it over and over.
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Unmasked is the memoir of Paul Holes who is well known for working on the Golden State Killer case and ultimately helped find the killer. He was raw and honest about how he didn't spend a lot of time with his family and worked way too much.

Please read the trigger warnings as he is quite graphic about crimes that he works on (homicides and sexual assaults).

I'd recommend it to friends who like true crime and are okay with the trigger warnings. #hotforholes
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I am obsessed with Paul Holes (Thanks to the ladies of My Favorite Murder). I find his work to be so fascinating but this was really a chance to get to know him. It doesn't shock me that he was such a workaholic but hearing how it impacted his home life was super interesting. I also think it's interesting how very few cases seemed to really seep into his thoughts (except for a few where he pictured his kids as victims of the crimes he was looking into). His ability to compartmentalize the horror but also his inability to not allow the work to invade his thoughts all the time was something to behold. I really enjoyed the GSK insider information and also the mention of the Carla Walker case down in Texas (although I think he says the case is unsolved in the book but it now has been solved and the killer pleaded guilty). Just well-done by Paul and I hope to read more from him one day.
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"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.

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.

But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy - even fatherhood - because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. "I don’t know if I can solve your case," I whisper. "But I promise I will do my best."

It is a promise I know I can keep."

I am a total fangirl of Paul Holes because of the Golden State Killer, therefore this book isn't just on my to buy list, I'm getting a signed first edition!
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I am a massive true crime consumer so I’ve known who Paul Holes is for quite some time. When I saw this book was coming out, I knew it was something I would need to read ASAP and wow, I absolutely loved it. It’s easy to see that a crime has been solved and then focus on the trial and gossip. But I don’t think we often think about the hours of work that goes into solving that crime, the man power it takes, or the toll it takes on those individuals. I’ve read and listened to a lot of information about several of the crimes Holes is connected to, but it was so intriguing to get a first hand account of his thoughts and processes. Holes is truly an incredibly talented professional who has had such an impact on solving so many horrendous crimes. Honestly, I have so many questions and would absolutely read more about Holes and his career. If you are a fan of true crime this is a MUST READ! 

For 24 years, Holes has tasked himself with figuring out who the Golden State Killer is (aka The East Area Rapist as well as other names). But it’s not a task he took on lightly in his free time, it consumed him almost entirely and impacted every facet of his life. Unmasked is the inside look at his journey to becoming such an important figure in solving multiple cases and a look at how he got started and his uphill battle in his field. With cases like Laci Peterson, Jaycee Dugard, the Pittsburg homocides, and eventually the Golden State Killer, Holes shares his thoughts, approaches, and impact on himself and his career. 

Obviously this book is not going to be for everyone as it does deal with very real and very dark crimes committed against men, women, and children so before reading I would suggest looking up the cases I mentioned and seeing if it is something you could read about.

Thank you NetGalley and Celadon for early access to this one!
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Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
  The author alone had me excited for this book. Paul Holes is known for his connection with the Golden State Killer investigation and reading his thoughts on the journey to the arrest is fascinating. Throughout the book, Holes reveals more about his past and the road that led him to criminal investigation. He also name drops many other well-known cases that he worked on, many of which i was familiar with, but had no idea he was involved in the investigation! This book is a great choice for anyone into true crime, investigations, or Paul Holes himself!
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If you follow true crime documentaries or podcasts or read Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, you’ve heard of Paul Holes. Unmasked pulls back the curtain on his time as an investigator in some of the most fascinating cases in the US. The memoir reads like a companion to McNamara’s book with more of the behind the scenes details of the Golden State Killer case. However, Holes also delves into a raw look at how dedication to his job had consequences for his own well being. Some of my favorite passages were his explanations of how he learned investigative techniques and put them into practice. 

I’m not a big reader of memoirs, but this one truly read as an enthralling story that I read in one sitting. (A word of caution: The details provided of the crimes is vivid and disturbing.)
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