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The Unclaimed Victim

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,835 ratings  ·  166 reviews

Living decades apart, two women get caught in the web of an infamous serial killer.

In 1938, at the height of the Great Depression, a madman hunts his victims through the hobo jungles of Cleveland, terrorizing the city. Ethel Harding, a prostitute struggling to survive both the cold streets and the Torso Killer, takes refuge with a devout missionary sect—only to find that

Kindle Edition, 428 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Thomas & Mercer
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3.96  · 
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 ·  1,835 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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4.5 stars

I'm always thrilled when I choose a book that I think is going to be merely one thing and it turns out to be MORE! It's serendipity! That is exactly what I found with D. M. Pulley's The Unclaimed Victim. I assumed it was just a suspense novel but I found a book filled astounding historical information from one the worst eras in Midwest history: the 1930s - 50s.

Most Americans are familiar with the activity of the KKK in the southern part of the US but few realize the largest concentrati
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I read The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley in 2015 and it was a good book, but it was the second book The Buried Book that really made an impression on me. So, when I saw this books cover and read the blurb did I know I just had to read it.

I have a thing for dual storylines so I was quite thrilled to get a story that is both sets in 1938 and in 1999. This is quite a dark story, with both women from different periods getting involved in the Torso killings. Ethel Harding lives a hard life a prostitute and
Judy Collins
D. M. Pulley returns following The Buried Book and The Dead Key with her latest historical fiction THE UNCLAIMED VICTIM—a blending of fact and fiction, history, a gruesome unsolved murder mystery, with dual timelines and dark hidden secrets.

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” – Fredrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good, and Evil, 1886

Pulley is a pro at digging up the dark secrets of the pa
Jo A. Hughes
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of this author, have loved her books, her writing style and the way she incorporates history into her story. The direction she takes her characters are twisty and unpredictable which is refreshing and keeps the reader’s interest until the end. I would highly recommend this book and her others as well.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, arc-copy, ebooks, 2017, p
A special thank you goes out to Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer publishing for allowing me to read this early! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

TW: child and spousal abuse, derogatory terms used for African Americans and Jews

I picked this up from the Read Now section of Netgalley after reading The Wife Between Us because I really hooked on mystery/thrillers after that. I was also going to read this for #arctober and I never got around to it. The cover intrigued me along with the title and
Doug Cooper
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Haunting, Horrifying, and Hypnotizing!

Two women in two different times connected by the same gruesome murders and a gospel press building. D.M. Pulley has quickly become the master of the dual narrative. A harrowing tale intertwined with historical fact, her third thriller haunts, horrifies, and hypnotizes. Much like the building in which it is set, once you enter, you'll be racing to the exit, then banging to get back inside.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Wow, that was something else and based on true events. You can trust Pulley to write something completely different. You never know what you're going to get. I've now read all three of her books and have enjoyed them all but this took things to another level, it was a cracker. It was also a lot darker than her earlier work. Her books all seem to feature two time lines with events from the past intersecting with events in the present. She does this really well and I like the format a l ...more
Kelly Knapp
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: thriller and historical fiction fans
Recommended to Kelly by: won as part of the Goodreads Firstreads giveaways
While I am not a fan of books that jump from viewpoint to viewpoint and from the future to the past and back, this story was compelling enough for me to read and even enjoy. The characters are well rounded and unique. set in two different time periods, the story follows a number serial murders, which are gruesome in the extreme. In 1938, the protagonist is a prostitute that finds herself overhearing things she shouldn't and becomes part of the "torso" killer scene...In 1999, our new protagonist ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the tird novel by D.M. Pulley and she's now definitely one of my favourite authors! Her second novel "The buried book" is my favourite of the three but this one was also quite good!
The story takes places in two different time lines, one in 1938, the other in 1999. The latter of the two was what really impressed me. Is that something that could really happen in North America, less than twenty years ago?? I went to the internet and discovered that Cleveland is in fact the fifth deadliest t
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, mystery, rrpl
Two women, 60 years apart, search for a serial killer who dismembers victims. In 1938 Ethel is trying to stay alive on the Cleveland streets with the infamous Torso Killer, the case that foiled Eliot Ness. In 1999 Kristin, a CSU student, becomes involved with people still trying to solve the killings after her father goes missing and parts of his body are found back in her hometown of Criderville, Ohio.

A good, fast-paced story told in alternating chapters. Liked the local aspect of CLE setting.
Bruce Smith
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Suspenseful, entertaining read that splits time between 1999 and post great depression, 1939. Cults, skin heads, and death stalk Cleveland, Ohio. Pulley's characters come from the wrong side of the track, and make a living the best they can, but they are not bad people just doing the best they can in a bad situation. This is the third book I've read by Pulley, and I enjoyed all of them.
Linda Buck
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very unique

I really wanted to take my time with this book as there is a wait for her next book but it was so good I couldn't slow down reading it I needed answers!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting story. Ethel is awesome. Ethel is my favorite character. I enjoyed reading this book.

I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Bonnye Reed
There are many unclaimed persons in this novel, all victims of the killer dubbed 'the torso killer' or killers, whose reign of terror over the midwest for more than 60 years remained unsolved. Though death was arrived at in various ways, all the victims were headless and with arms and legs severed at each joint. Most heads and hands remained undiscovered in an effort, it was thought, to hamper identification of the remains. And though remains were found in Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania, the va ...more
T.R. Rankin
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Living decades apart, two women get caught in the web of an infamous serial killer.”

The backdrop of the story is centered around a real-life series of murders at the height of the Great Depression in 1938. The victims, a number of thirteen, were found beheaded and dismembered. Many of the victims were known as the “working poor”, those who had nowhere to go but to reside in shanty towns, the area known as the Cleveland Flats or Hobo Jungle.

This was the case that haunted Eliot Ness, famed for br
Jessica Higgins
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pulley dives back into Cleveland to tackle a historical serial killer’s story that’s yet to be solved.

Cleveland in 1938 is a rough place to be. Little work, no booze, and a notorious serial killer that keeps leaving parts of his victims, but never the whole body. The “Torso Killer” has been active for a while and continues to stump the police. Most of his victims cannot be identified because he doesn’t leave them anything to be identified with, such as a head or hands. The targets of his crimes
Arabicbeauty *BookBabe*
THE UNCLAIMED VICTIM is a dual story line of both fact and fiction, history, and an unsolved murder, with dark hidden secrets giving you the perfect amount of mystery a reader needs.

Ethel set in 1938 and Kris in 1999 are the main characters in each setting both involved somehow in the Torso killings.

In the 1930's a killer is running loose, killing prostitutes and the homeless cutting off their body parts which names him to be the Torso Killer.

Your first are introduced to Kris Wiley who is asked
Deborah Carr
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: peeps-book-club
I like how D.M. Pulley writes about Cleveland history giving us two timelines, one during the time in history and another present day and weaving those two stories together. I thought the 1938 storyline was engaging with a character I just wanted to root for in Ethel. The present day storyline with Kris really just didn't work for me as much. Not only did it feel a bit forced, but a ridiculously large amount of stuff happened in a mere 3 days time. That being said, I would still recommend this b ...more
Cassandra Paffrath
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A creepy page turner!

I could not put this book down! From the start I was drawn in to discover more about these two female characters, one from the 1930's and the other living in 1999. The author has a gift for drawing the reader in immediately, the story is very spooky, full of twists and turns all centered upon the two main characters, Ethel and Krit, who are thrown into a web of hardships and mysteries they fight to live through all centered upon one of Cleveland 's unsolved murders, The Tor
Kathleen Gray
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Better read as historical fiction than as a thriller, this creatively framed novel uses the dual time period device to explore mid 20th century Cleveland. The alleged death of Kris' father in the contemporary thread plunges her into a search for information about the Torso Killer. Some might quibble with Kris' reaction but think how you might feel. Ethel, a prostitute in the 1930s, is the spark for the historical info. Cleveland was not a pretty place in those days; if you aren't familiar with i ...more
Steve Johnson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is about a string of killings and dismemberings of hobos and prostitutes in Cleveland in the 1930s. It alternates between the depression era and the late 1990s. Kris' father goes missing and a dismembered body is found that is thought to be his. Kris has doubts about the ID of the remains. She finds a scrapbook that belongs to her dad and has news clippings and pictures about the serial killings. She struggles to find out how the killings and her father are linked. At the center of her ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the first book I have read by D.M. Pulley and I can say that I will be reading more of hers. It was gripping and kept my interest throughout, although since it's got two stories running alongside each other, I sometimes forgot where one story left off by the time we got back to it. I could hardly put it down. Then to my surprise, at the end in the epilogue, the author tells us that this is historical fiction--she based it on research about Cleveland's torso murders back in the late 1930 ...more
Amy J. Wieleba
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very good book, I think my second-favorite of the three books D.M. Pulley has written.
"The Dead Key" is still my favorite, and I think "Unclaimed Victim" is somewhat better than "The Buried Book" was. Plus, it is based on some historical accounts of Cleveland crime with plenty of fiction added in.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good read.

This story let's us blimps in to the past. As with other historical fiction, I am reminded of just how fortunate we are in modern day. The hardships faced by those trying to survive during the days when the Torso Killer, The Silver Shirt Legion and so many other barbaric and also economic forces were insurmountable.

A great story, well told and worth a read x
Sandra Gonzales
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This novel, based on actual events in history, has been one terrifying read. I promise you that you will get the heebie geebies if you read it late at night. I loved it!!
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pulley is a brilliant voice

The beautifully imagined characters, the alluring sense of place, across time no less, and a thrilling plot rich with history...all combine to make The Unclaimed Victim a five star experience .
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Edge of my seat

Loved this book and anything by this Author. She has such a way of keeping you guessing until the very end. Excellent character development. Highly recommended.
Teresa Shannon
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mystery solved!!!

Great read! Thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns off the book. At first I couldn't figure out what one era had to do with the other-but the end was great at piecing it all together.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I haven't enjoyed a mystery this much in a long while. The author was skillful in weaving the happenings in the1930's together with the 1990's and she gave us plenty of possible suspects to consider. Without any spoilers, I liked the way she tied things up at the very satisfying ending. Give this one a read.
Deb Alderson
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
D.M. Pulley does it again

D.M. Held my attention and wove a story that kept me spellbound through the whole book. This is the third book I’ve read of hers and I love them all. I can’t wait to read her next book.
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Before becoming a full-time writer, D.M. Pulley worked as a Professional Engineer, rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The disappearance of a family member formed the basis for her second ...more
“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886” 0 likes
“Occam’s razor told her that the police were right, but she couldn’t believe it.” 0 likes
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