Lost Girls
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Lost Girls

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Chelsea King was a popular high school senior, an outstanding achiever determined to make a difference. Amber Dubois loved books and poured her heart into the animals she cared for. Treasured by their families and friends, both girls disappeared in San Diego County, just eight miles and one year apart. The community's desperate search led authorities to John Albert Gardner...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Pinnacle (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jessica Jackson
The parents of both families didn't give the author permission to write this book, although not illegal it is immoral. This author has left this community in shock once again. I believe everyone should have the right to rest in peace, but it seems every time we start to breathe again something new reminds us all of this. I lived this. I knew Chelsea, my brother sat next to her empty chair while she was gone. This author should donate the proceeds to a charity if she was really trying to help the...more
Being that these crimes happened only a few years back and in my current backyard, and knowing that Caitlin Rother writes well researched and written books, I anticipated reading Lost Girls. The book left a sad, bitter and frustrated taste in my mouth.

Author Caitlin Rother supplied stellar investigative writing. She wrote with so much description that she brought victims Amber and Chelsea to life on the pages. They came across much more vividly than their killer, which is a wonderful change to m...more
The title is deceptive. This is not about the "lost girls" Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. It's more of an apologist tale of the sadistic bastard who killed them. The author relies on the memories of people in John Gardner's life for her "facts". Family members and friends are a dysfunctional, drug addicted, abusive, drunken bunch who denied Gardner could have done something so awful. He did. This book seems to blame an oh-so-mean parole officer (who insisted Gardner stick to some of his parole c...more
While reading this book I felt as though I was reading an episode of 48 hours. Given the title of the book, "Lost Girls" I expected the book to be more about the girls not the person who ended their lives. In my opinion this book did a disservice to the lives of Amber and Chelsea by focusing on John's life. I may have felt different about the book if they were able to explain why he did those horrible things to those girls, but it didn't. Oh it showed how his mom was an enabler and in denial abo...more
This book is very well researched and written. The content of the book is deeply disturbing. I lived in the San Diego area for many years.

The book read fast. It held my interest. I found it perturbing that parents permit teenage girls to walk a hiking trail alone. The portraits of the murderer and his mother are very detailed. I wondered as I read the book why Gardner's mother was not held criminally or civilly responsible.

Even though the book is disturbing, it is well worth your time to read...more
Written in 2012, this book studies the development of sexual predator John Gardner, his family, the victims and their families. Having participated in the search for Chelsea King I had a special interest in this story. http://johnfrogsblog.blogspot.com/201... Facts of the case were well presented and much more coherent than the sound bites of the mainstream media.

Rother has been criticized for being too sympathetic to the killer. The truth, I believe, is that there is usually plenty of blame to...more
Caitlin Rother is the queen of true crime. The books that she writes are superbly well researched, thought-provokingly written, engaging and told in a way that puts her as a neutral person – telling the story of the victims and those who played a role in the most heinous of crimes.

In Lost Girls, Ms. Rother tells the story of a highly disturbed man and the shocking crimes that he committed on two young and beautiful girls – young women who had their entire lives before them. Though the tragedy is...more
Joalby Phoenix
Just completed this book after getting my copy at one of Caitlin's booksignings last week.
With the press and coverage and attacks in the media, I was interested in reading the book and making the decision for myself and I am very glad that I did.
The book was well researched even under the circumstances that legal roadblocks and withholding of information made it only that much more difficult and time consuming to research documents and information that was never made public as no trial existed...more
Nadia Antonio
Caitlin Rothers Lost Girls describes Chelsea King a popular high school senior, an outstanding achiever and was determined to make a difference, fourteen year old Amber Dubious loved books and poured her heart out into animals she cared for, treasured by their family and friends both girls went missing in San Diego County just eight miles and one year apart. This book I thought was very difficult to read through and just depressing.
The life lesson behind this book is to always trust your insti...more
The lost girls were Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, they were good girls and they disappeared one year apart. Both were abducted by John Albert Gardner, who raped and killed them. Like many such predators, he had a normal sex-life with his girlfriend, even fathering twins with a former girlfriend. He also had violent urges that lead him to seek out vulnerable women.

The victim’s family did not cooperate with this book, all information about them is from public records and interviews with people (f...more
The book is titled Lost Girls but is mostly about the man who murdered them. Amber Dubois was kidnapped while walking to school, and Chelsea King was snatched while jogging on a trail. Their murders took place in the San Diego area. The book devoted great detail to the murderer, John Albert Gardner, whose mother was a psychiatric nurse yet an enabler to her very disturbed son. The book also goes into the failures of the parole system in CA, and the difficulty of getting people good mental health...more
Doris Jean
May 14, 2014 Doris Jean rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literary teachers for practice in editing.
Shelves: children, true-crime
I may avoid this author in the future – unless there is an editor. I do like true crime, but this book was like a shuffled deck of cards. At the beginning of the story parts of an issue were given, then more was added at the end of the book. There was too much skipping around and disconnectedness. It made the book jarring and confusing.

For example, page 233, Chelsea's body is found. Page 236 the family is told that her body was found. Page 251, six cops are pallbearers and the funeral is describ...more
Two innocent teenage girls ... one psychotic sexual predator ... two heinous, senseless murders that took the girls' lives one year apart and rocked the San Diego suburb communities of Poway and Escondido ...

Seventeen year old Chelsea King was a beautiful, popular, intelligent senior at Poway High School, who had a promising future ahead of her. On February 25, 2010, Chelsea went jogging on the trails of Rancho Bernardo Community Park (Lake Hodges) after school let out. When she failed to come h...more
Carrie Ardoin

I can't say I exactly enjoyed reading this book, because of its' very content, but I definitely appreciate the exhaustive research and sheer amount of work the author put into telling all sides of the story.

Perhaps the first 180 pages of the book were all background on John Gardner, even going as far back as the psychological history of his grandparents. Some might feel that the author spent so much time on Gardner's history to try to find some excuse for his crimes, but I have to disag...more
♥ Marlene♥
As many of my friends know I read a lot of true crime. So far i have liked all this authors's book except for one. This book was thought provoking and another good read.

The difference with the other true crime's I read is that this story was told by the killer and his family. The victims parents dis not want to cooperate which is their right.

Sometimes I thought the author was finding excuses for the murderer but later on I realized she was just telling the facts.

While checking my kindle because...more
With fairness and respect for all parties involved, Lost Girls digs deep to the roots of evil within the mind of a serial killer. Rother has done her homework. With meticulous care she examines every factor that contributed to the making of a monster. The violent urges seething in his brain seemingly from birth; his mother's inadequacy to provide a supportive environment for her troubled son; the repeated failures of mental health services to normalize his behavior; a rigid, rulebound parolee an...more
Dana ****Reads Alot****
What a disturbing book. Very well written. I felt so sad for everyone involved when i was done reading. And angry that this could of been prevented if the system worked correctly, john would of been behind bars or in a pyschiatric hospital where he needed to be. The system failed John when he asked for help so many times.
Not the best true crime book I have ever read, but certainly not the worst. The author herself admits that it may have not been written as the case was settled and did not go to a trial, which is usually needed to make a book like this interesting. But she also noted that it really needed to be written, so we could see a side of a serial rapist/killer that would make us see how they got to be what they are, and how the system could have helped out at many points along the way. No excuses were ma...more
I'm not really sure how to rate nonfiction, but I gotta say, this book was terribly written. The writing is just awful; it started out feeling like the author wanted to pigeonhole everyone involved with this horrible crime into little boxes. (Unstable, mentally ill criminal from a long line of "damaged" people vs. the perfect, golden, miracle child.) I found the use of language very unsophisticated and the depiction of the background information confusing, disjointed, and full of holes. Rother t...more
LOST GIRLS is the tragic story of a community frightened and families lives destroyed. Two girls went missing from Escondido, California. It turned out there was a sexual predator in the neighborhood's midst the entire time. I picked this book up expecting it to be the stories of the girls and their families, and while that certainly does have a part to play, this book is mostly about the man who murdered them, John Gardener, and what happened to make him into a man who murdered two teenage girl...more
The desperate search for two lost innocents, Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, led authorities to a brutal predator hiding in plain sight: John Albert Gardner, a convicted sex offender who could have been returned to prison several times over. Pulitzer-nominated writer Caitlin Rother delivers an incisive, heartbreaking true-life thriller about a case that galvanized its community, first by grief and goodwill, then by anger and injustice, as it came to grips with a flawed system that failed … and ad...more
Maureen Timerman
Page turning sad, sad story. The story of dysfunctional families, drug abuse, bipolar, incest, and murder. We find families failing one another, hospitals and Government Agencies not helping or doing their jobs. Laws that are in place and not enforced, people either not doing their jobs, or over worked to the point they are unable to comply.
John Albert Garner, was born with problems, his Mom became a psychiatric nurse in order to support and help her son. Throughout the book you see numerous tim...more
Lynda Kelly
This was a very well written and researched true murder book and I'd certainly read more by this author.
I've never felt the least sympathy for a killer before but in John Gardner's case I think he was treated very unfairly and then wasn't given the help he asked and asked for, as did his mother, too, as he knew he was liable to hurt somebody. I think the reason he was listed as a sex offender was wrong, too. It read to me like a lot of "he said, she said" and the neighbour girl was after him and...more
Lauren O'Rourke
Rother was respectful.

Rother was respectful.

John Gardner Jr. puts fear in my heart. To know that there are more out there is terrifying. Caitlin Rother did a good job respecting the privacy of the victims families. Although Gardner's mother is not believable. Book is suspect-sided. Victims families did not participate in book so truths are unknown
One review I have read of this book states that it presents the murderer in a sympathetic light but I disagree. This book shows that he and his family are a horrible group of people with no morals and even fewer brain cells. John Gardner was a selfish and troubled individual with various mental illnesses and the person closest to him, his mother, is a psychiatric nurse. This woman continually made excuses and enabled him to commit his crimes. I would not wish to be under her care through her pro...more
This book was the first true crime novel I have read. I found the depth of Rother's interviews to be full of detail. There were times I was confused about the family tree of the killer, but maybe I didn't care enough about who had "failed" him along his path. Mental illness is no joke, but it also doesn't erase responsibility.
This book makes a person have so many emotions. Your heart goes out to everyone, the families, friends, even those who didnt know these 2 beautiful teenagers, who I know would have made something of their lives and cherished life itself. I do feel sorry for John's family too.. We must remember even when we raise our children, we can't always watch and see what they do every second of the day. I think The author proved that even when you want to hide something there is always away to get someone...more
Sexual predator

Every book I read about murder and sexual attacks on women or this case children is worse and worse.Well written book that tries to give an equal amount of time to both sides of the story.
Liked the author's style of writing,she did her homework. Heartbreaking story. Came away feeling angry at his mother. I know you can only do so much as a parent, but I find it very ironic given her profession. As a psychiatric nurse she knew how things worked. She seemed to be doing a lot of defending herself. I remember watching Nancy Grace show when they were talking about the investigation. A situation like that is everyone's nightmare. You think that your teenage daughter is safe and then a...more
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Caitlin Rother, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for nineteen years before deciding to write books full-time. Her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Daily Beast. She has appeared as a crime expert on E! Entertainment, the Oxyg...more
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