Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Stone” as Want to Read:
The Last Stone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Stone

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,112 ratings  ·  534 reviews
On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and mystery endured. Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them towar ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Atlantic Monthly Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Last Stone, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,112 ratings  ·  534 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Last Stone
marilyn
In 1974, I was 18 years old, living at home with my parents, in Fort Worth, Texas, when three teenage girls disappeared from a mall in that city. Those girls have never been found. Then on March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, disappeared from a mall in Washington, D.C. As a journalism student in both high school and college, despite not having the easy access to news that we have nowadays with the internet, I followed both stories closely, over the years. So when I ...more
Joey R.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.0 Stars —I decided to read “The Last Stone” by Mark Bowden after reading a dud for my last book and wanting to try something different in the true crime genre. What makes this one different from any other true crime book is that it primarily consists of years of interviews with an inmate that cold case detectives believe to be responsible for the disappearance and death of two young girls from Maryland in 1975. These detectives reopen the case in 2013, and upon re-interviewing witnesses, devel ...more
Kemper
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I’m a huge fan of mystery/crime fiction I’ve long known that I never could have been a cop. One of the main reasons is that if I were faced with a suspect I knew was lying to me that I lack the patience to work the truth out of them with long interrogations. Instead I’d immediately shine a bright light in their eyes and grab the nearest phone book. That was never clearer to me then while reading this book when I found myself gritting my teeth and wishing I could reach through the pag ...more
Emma
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

It’s 1975 and two sisters aged 10 and 12 go missing from a mall never to be seen or heard from again. A teenage boy comes to the police with a story: he’d seen them get into a car with a stranger. But despite the manhunt, nothing is found. The case goes cold. Forty years later, in an attempt to find out what else the teen might have seen, detectives track him down. Instead of a witness, they find a man in prison for inappropriate sexual relations with an underage girl. And they start t
...more
Valerity (Val)
This book is a true crime story about the disappearance of two sisters from a Wheaton, Maryland mall way back in March of 1975. Katherine and Sheila Lyons, 10 and 12 were seen with a man and then vanished. It became a cold case that journalist Mark Bowden became interested in and sank his teeth into. It’s a different kind of true crime book, as it pits five bulldog detectives against one of the most determined liars they’ve ever run into, after sifting through other possible leads. It becomes al ...more
Theresa Alan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lou
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book touts itself as "a masterpiece of criminal interrogation," and boy is this right on the money. The police investigators featured are truly dedicated to their job, however, it's the cold case team who reopened and pored over the case files from the abduction in 1975 and eventually solved the case; this true crime work follows the journey from the decade it happened right through to justice finally being served. I have heard that it's actually, unbelievably normal for some criminals to i ...more
Scott
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The taking of Sheila and Kate Lyon had cried out for justice over decades. It wasn't just a mystery; it was a regional trauma . . . For the Montgomery County Police Department, it was also an embarrassment, a blot both professional and personal . . . it was unsolved, the most notorious such case on its books." -- page 12

Just prior to Easter weekend in 1975, two pre-teen sisters from a suburban community adjacent to Washington, D.C. went to a shopping mall and were never seen again, simply vanis
...more
Dawn Michelle
Nonfiction is really my jam. I enjoy learning about things I don't know and learning why people do the things they do. True Crime is a relatively new addition to the nonfiction love [I read "Helter Skelter" in school and it scared me so much that it was years before I picked up another true crime book] and for the most part, it has been interesting to delve into a world I [thankfully] know nothing about. So when I saw this book at NetGalley and realized I didn't know the story, I jumped at the c ...more
Dave
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most true crime books take the reader through the background of the perpetrator and the victims, tracing their lives to that fateful day that changed some lives forever. The Last Stone starts from a far different point. It’s been forty years since the most shocking crime to hit a suburban Maryland county. Two little girls - little as in not even teenagers disappeared from a shopping mall and the trail went cold almost immediately. Forty years later a team of detectives are picking up the dusty f ...more
Murray
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1975, when the Lyon sisters were abducted from Wheaton Plaza in Montgomery County, Maryland, I lived about 40 miles north in Baltimore. I was a year older than Sheila Lyon, the older sister, as the mystery and horror of the case made the news in the entire region. It was very scary at the time. How could two young girls, 12 and 10, simply disappear without a trace? Two years later, I remember visiting friends in Montgomery County and we ended up at a mall. They pointed out to me that 'this is ...more
Lissa
My rating is entirely for how the book is written, and is in no way reflective of the incredible amount of police work that it took to bring two little girls' murderer to justice. I have nothing but respect for those who worked on the case and managed to bring at least a little peace to the Lyon family.

This book is boring as hell. If you enjoy reading interview transcripts for hours, especially ones that are repetitive to the point of nearly bringing you to tears, I would highly recommend this b
...more
Jeanette
May 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm quite conflicted in how to rate this book. It's a full 2.5 stars for what the nuance of a liar, sociopath, life long user of other humans, schmoozer and despicable example of homo sapiens- his cognition. How he talks continually and morphs his stories throughout the length of the book. To the same people without apology for changing details 8 or 9 times. In that regard it deserves a 3 star or maybe even a 4 star for the authenticity of reading 300 plus pages of his various "truth" tales too. ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars - Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for allowing me to read and review this book. Published on April 2, 2019.

This is the nonfiction story of a gruesomely violent crime. A crime committed over 3 separate states, 41 years ago. Evidence was lost, eyewitnesses died, time erased memories, family remained silent and it was often only speculation that bound the story together.

This was a kidnapping, a sex crime, and the murder of two little girls - known and sanctioned by a who
...more
Lisa
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bowden is a talented writer who keeps the story moving along. This book details the story of the abduction of two sisters from Washington, D.C.
Katherine and Sheila Lyons disappeared from a suburban mall in 1975. They were never seen again and their bodies have not been found. Though the very detailed interrogations seem to go on and on at times, it’s a riveting story and Bowden tells it with detail and finesse.
The person who confessed and who this entire book is built around, Lloyd Welch, is a
...more
Eric
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.

On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.

In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-e
...more
Susan
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true crime book about a Cold Case. In 1975, two sisters, aged ten and twelve, disappeared from a shopping mall in Maryland. The girls are never found and nobody is ever charged with the crime. In 2013, a cold case detective, finds something previously overlooked, which links events to Lloyd Welch, currently in prison, for a crime against a child.

At first, the detectives hope that Welch will provide them with evidence implicating a man they felt was the main suspect. However, after ini
...more
Jill Meyer
On Easter weekend in 1975, two young sisters - ages 10 and 12 -vanished from a suburban Washington DC-area shopping mall. The girls were never seen again and their bodies were never found. The crimes against them were never solved and the case, which shocked the area, was never closed. It turned into a cold case. Thirty-five years later, the case was dusted off and given new life in the police department.

American author Mark Bowden, who had been a reporter on a local paper at the time, remained
...more
Eric
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.

On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.

In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-e
...more
Brandon Forsyth
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best true crime books I’ve ever read! Bowden is, of course, a master of narrative non-fiction, but I think it’s safe to say he’s surpassed himself here. The story he’s telling here is remarkably focused and controlled, and there’s a sense of urgency in the writing that manages to be both personal and remarkably balanced. When the detectives use questionable tactics in these interrogations, you understand where they’re coming from in a primal sense - but Bowden still flags it. I haven’ ...more
Lindsay
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Killing Pablo and Black Hawk Down, but I didn't care for the way this book was written. I love a true crime book and although this case is interesting (and bizarre), the format of this book is very slow. As an audiobook, this is basically like listening to over 12 hours of an interrogation. I did like certain parts and I admire the detectives' determination and patience in this case, but in my opinion this book needed to be much shorter.
Jill Mackin
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in suburban Maryland and was the same age as Sheila Lyon, 12. It was an awful time. We were so scared. Everything was about "The Lyon Girls." I remember their father, John Lyon, the DJ at a local radio station, WMAL, pleading for their return.

The story of what happened to these two young girls is absolutely horrifying. As previous reviewers stated, this is crime fiction at its very best. But oh, I couldn't wait till it ended.
Heather
This was not a pleasant read. The details of a horrific crime related over and over. It's always interesting when a cold case is solved or when good detective work solves a case. I'm just not sure THIS material warranted a book. Also, I didn't love his writing style and I think he should have given the girls more humanity.
Nick
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book disturbing for two very different reasons.

The first is obvious. As a young crime reporter in Baltimore, Mark Bowden covered the disappearance of two young girls ,Sheila and Kate Lyon, from a suburban mall in 1975. Despite the best efforts of the community, no trace of them was ever found. Forty years later, a retiring cop reviewing cold case files notices a small detail in a tip that the cops received at the time of the initial search, and when they track down tipster Lloyd Wel
...more
Cool_Moms_Read
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A cold case come to life nearly thirty years later that will take you through the grueling saga of interrogation. I can't imagine being a journalist covering a media frenzied case of two missing girls. Then again, I also couldn't imagine coming back decades later to write a book detailing what lead to the stories end.

Do not look at this five star rating and think its just something you browsed by and want to check out. While I think this book is page turning and investigative, it is true crime
...more
Jen
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Albert
This report of the eventual conviction of the man responsible for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of two young girls in 1975 focuses on the patient, determined work of a team of detectives who used all the tools at their disposal, including lying, to coax a confession out of a pathological liar. Mark Bowden puts his finger on the challenge of investigating--and writing about--a 40-year-old cold case:
To discern the truth, an investigator (or a writer) must interpret testimony. You begin by askin
...more
David
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn't for Lloyd Welch (the centerpiece of the book) this would have been a better reading experience. The guy is beyond tiring and there's no way to tell the story of the missing Lyon sisters without a large dose of him. The flip side of Welch is the dogged work of the detectives who persisted through a dearth of evidence on a four decade old cold case. Bravo for their doggedness.

I'm a big Mark Bowden fan and his style here is similar to his earlier books. That's a good thing. I prefer hi
...more
John
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Story - 4.5 Stars
Performance - 4.9 Stars

This book pretty much documents "A sustained masterpiece of criminal interrogation. " Of course there's more, but interrogation is the main thing, here.

If you like True Crime, then you should LISTEN to this. Richard Ferrone did such an outstanding job that his performance outshines an already great book.

EDIT - I just realized that the killer character voice sounds like James Carville!
Sarah
3.5 rounded down

The subtitle on the cover of The Last Stone is "a masterclass in criminal interrogation", and this is a wholly accurate description - this book is a feat in true crime writing in that the interviews with the prime suspect, Lloyd Welch, are meticulously detailed word-for-word by Bowden, from tapes of interviews which took place once the case was re-opened in 2013.

The crime Welch was accused of was not one I'd heard of before I read the book but one that shook the local community w
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mt. Lebanon Publi...: The Last Stone by Mark Bowden 1 3 Jun 11, 2019 04:11PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
  • Where Monsters Hide: Sex, Murder, and Madness in the Midwest
  • Wilder Intentions: Love, Lies and Murder in North Dakota
  • The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia
  • Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History
  • Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story
  • The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter
  • The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation
  • Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
  • Evil at Lake Seminole: The Shocking True Story Surrounding the Disappearance of Mike Williams
  • Blood Games: A True Account of Family Murder
  • The Murder of Kelsey Berreth: A Shocking True Crime Story
  • Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession
  • Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
  • To Kill and Kill Again: The Terrifying True Story of Montana's Baby-Faced Serial Sex Murderer
  • Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls
See similar books…
1,074 followers
Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) is an American writer who is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and a 1973 graduate of Loyola College in Maryland, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1979-2003, and has won numerous awards. He has written for Men's Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone over the ...more

Articles featuring this book

Get ready for a new season of murder, intrigue, snooping neighbors, suspicious relatives, and all-around nefarious goings-on! Yep, it's...
52 likes · 37 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Nobody ever tells you when you go into police work that it will require dishonesty.” 1 likes
“It was hard to overestimate the desire of a man living in isolation to talk.” 1 likes
More quotes…