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Gone at Midnight: The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam

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3.12  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A Los Angeles hotel with a haunting history. A missing young woman. A disturbing video followed by a shocking discovery. A cold-case mystery that has become an internet phenomenon--and for one determined journalist, a life-changing quest toward uncomfortable truths.

Twenty-one-year-old Vancouver student Elisa Lam was last heard from on January 31, 2013, after she checked
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Citadel Press
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Average rating 3.12  · 
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Elle Rudy
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
Centered around the death of 21-year-old Elisa Lam, a Canadian student visiting Los Angeles who seemingly disappeared from the Cecil Hotel on January 31, 2013, Jake Anderson relives the utter fascination both he and the public at large had with the strange circumstances surrounding this missing persons investigation.

I think many people who begin this book, like me, will have at least some idea how this case ends, in a sense. We know generally what happened to Elisa Lam, so is there a point in
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Tooter
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
3 Stars. It was interesting but very repetitive. I skimmed through the second half to get to the end which was not satisfying. I can't knock the author's top notch writing though!
Lisa Leone-campbell
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 2013 Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old student who checked into a seedy ominous hotel in Los Angeles, a hotel with a history of violence, suicides and death, and she never checked out. What followed was probably the most bizarre investigation, one in which Elisa Lam in her death has been elevated to cult-like status.

After Elisa went missing and police were notified there was a search of the hotel. They could not find her. It was as if she had just up and vanished. A week later when tenants and
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Tina
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
First off, everything involved with this case feels creepy to me, which is a feeling that persisted while I read this book.

Having said that, I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I read a book that held such potential, only to fall apart, almost from page 1.

The author is literally all over the place with this story. He is in the past (when the event happened), then he goes even further back in time, then he mixes the past with his current timeline, then we are in a "what if"
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Kookie9200
Jan 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book.

I was so excited to get this title, and immediately started reading it. Alas, I was soon disappointed to the point I couldn't even finish it.

Let me explain. I thought I was getting a true crime book about the Elisa Lam case at the Cecil Hotel. That's the blurb that caught me. Had the book stuck with this case, I would have gladly finished it. Instead, the author started injecting his life story into the book, making it
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Jeanette
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a challenge. Be patience. Not only with the book, but with me. Because I finished nearly 2 days ago and am still positing a reaction. Especially upon that rating above since it is closer to a 2 star than a 4 in at least 1/2 of its parts. It's just this. The good parts are superb in their explanations and core "eyes" of mental illness. That's why the 4 star overall, raised from the 3.5 "actual" totality.

Jake Anderson has mental illness. Elisa Lam had mental illness. Not exactly the same
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Ankit Garg
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
"Gone at Midnight" by Jake Anderson is the book that covers everything concerning the mysterious death of Elisa Lam based on the information available in the public domain. And this is what I expect from a true crime book. Note that if you are already aware of all the developments that had happened in the case, this book has nothing new to offer.

He covers the three most discussed theories in complete detail - mental illness, homicide, and paranormal activity. Given the fact that officially there
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Vonda
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
I read everything I could find on this case years ago. It was intriguing and had quite a few unanswered questions. They were investigated and answered. This book repeats all of this over and over and nothing is new. The book is jumbled and can't stay on the timeline. I wish he had focused on her mental illness. aspect a bit more.
Tucker
May 25, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
Shelves: reviewed
Elisa Lam's death was and still is one of my favorite unsolved mysteries. I am very excited to see where the authors take this!
Nancy Hudson
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-challenge
The disappearance and death of Elisa Lam on February 19, 2013 from the infamous Cecil Hotel in downtown LA is one of the most scrutinized and mysterious cases of the past decade, in no small measure due to the lack of transparency by the LAPD and the hotel management up to the present time. Not to mention the hotel has been the home of serial killers, sexual predators, murderers and jumpers for decades. In investigating and researching this case Jake Anderson embarks on a foray over many years ...more
Denise
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I live in Los Angeles, and have been following the Elisa Lam story from the beginning. I was so excited that someone finally wrote a book about it. Gone at Midnight really digs deep into the case and uncovers previously unknown information. This is a great read for anyone interested in this case.
Donna Hines
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
The only reason I wouldn't give this a 5 star is because this author injected his own personal story into the alleged murder of this beautiful yet deeply flawed and mentally ill women. By doing such he did a great disservice to not only this family, but the victims, and survivors of not only mental illness but crimes of passion for which this appears to allegedly have become.
The way this began was fine when it focused solely upon Elisa, but for me the mid to later story took a turn and became
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Melanie Ullrich
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
The things people had a problem with about this book are the things that I loved the most .
Yes...the book is "squirrelly". The author jumps to a (what I feel is a) perfectly short, yet in depth history of the subject that has come up in his narrative. I liked knowing his justification for whatever avenue he explored in this unusual and mysterious case.
I also appreciated that he didn't shy away from the fact that he would accidentally explore some bogus leads, while pointing out the
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Amanda (THE CAFFEINATED READER)
I absolutely loved this book.
I have followed this case since the beginning and in this book is everything you wanted to know, didnt know, about Elisa Lam and her strange death.
It gives a myriad of current events which I found pertinent because it was context into what LAPD was handling at the time.
I did not know there are two different types of dogs used in police work.
The history of the hotel, I have a history degree so obviously this is something I like to know.
If there were an Elisa Lam case
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Diane
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gone at Midnight explores three possible scenarios regarding the death of Elisa Lam. Did Elisa commit suicide? Was her death accidental? Was she murdered? The author makes a compelling case for one of these three scenarios.
Jake Anderson delves into mental health issues (one of the scenarios), which gave me a better understanding of this once taboo subject. He touches upon his mental health but does not make it the center of his book.
Another area of interest that Mr. Anderson writes about are
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Jen Juenke
Jan 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
The author of this book is a huge fan of true crime and whodunnits! However, as an author he leaves MUCH TO BE DESIRED!
The author takes a fascinating case and makes it as boring as watching paint dry. He goes off on tangents and asks more questions then answers.
This was a complete and utter waste of my time.
I learned nothing new of the case and I strongly urge anyone thinking of reading this book to just watch the Youtube video of the young lady in the elevator.
Very disappointing.
Sarah Ames-Foley
DNF @ 15%

I kept trying to push myself to pick this up, but just couldnt press any further. The writing leaves a lot to be desired; I didnt feel engaged with the content at any point. It really felt like the author was just regurgitating info they found online, and jumping from topic to topic without much of an idea of where theyre going.

There were several points at which I had to wonder how much independent research they had really done. One of these involved a quote from Elisas tumblr, where
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Ryan Hyatt
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gone at Midnight by Jake Anderson is a beautifully written account of the horrible events surrounding the death of Elisa Lam, the young woman whose corpse was recovered from a water tank atop the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on February 19, 2013.

Elisa had been reported missing at the beginning of that month, but interest in her case increased when the Los Angeles Police Department released video of the last time Elisa was known to have been seen, on the day of her disappearance, by an
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Kaitlyn
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's some interesting material here, but it's bogged down with poor organization, rambling tangents that just serve to distract, a need for another copy-edit, and a sense that this would have worked better if the author had just set out to write a memoir about his own mental health journey, rather than trying to incorporate it with Elisa's story.

As another reviewer mentioned, if your library has this and you're curious, give it a go. Otherwise, skip this one.
Mom_Loves_Reading
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I heard about this case on Crime Junkie Podcast last year & was completely sucked into this crazy mystery. It is absolutely riveting, all-consuming, & addictive. This is a must read for true crime enthusiasts. I encourage you to Google "the elevator game" & see why there is so much creepiness behind the death of this young woman.
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Fantastic, unforgettable story!
Jamie Naqvi
As engaging as it is unsettling, "Gone at Midnight" explores everything from parapsychology to corporate corruption in its revisitation of the controversial Elisa Lam case. In the process, Anderson comes to terms with some of his own demons; namely, a years-long struggle with depression and bipolar disorder.
Lorrie
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
I saw the eerie video of Elisa Lam's last moments in the elevator at the Cecil Hotel several years back and, like many others, it unnerved me. Lam disappeared at LA's infamous Cecil Hotel in 2013. She was found 19 days later inside the rooftop water tank, deceased. The LAPD ruled her death as an accidental drowning, but I just don't believe it. I have read numerous True Crime books, but none have affected me quite the way this book did. The video, coupled with the macabre history of this hotel, ...more
Wulfwyn
I saw the eerie video of Elisa Lam a while back. You may have seen it. A young woman in an elevator acting off. I couldnt tell if she was being followed by someone or it was something paranormal or possibly she was mentally ill. I didnt know anything about her other than that was the last video of her from the night she disappeared. Nineteen days later her body was discovered. When I saw this book offered on NetGalley I was super excited and requested it.
Im super torn on how many stars to give
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 Reading Reindeer
WOW WOW WOW

Review (March 8)

I stand in awe of this exceptional nonfiction work, which despite its length I consumed in one day. It rendered me speechless. The basic case: the death, due to whatever means, of a 21-year-old, Chinese-Canadian, university student-blogger who suffered apparently from Bipolar Disorder, was aware of it, striving to deal, to mature: that alone would have made for a worthwhile narrative.


Author/investigator/documentary filmmaker/Websleuth Jake Anderson (himself a
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Amanda ~lilacsandliterature
I enjoyed this book in the way that Ive always been fascinated by this case. The author takes a deep dive into Elisas background and tracing her steps. However it became convoluted and I was often confused at what the point of some of the information was. The author takes us through his own mental health struggles and I had a hard time trying to see how this contributed to Elisas story. I believe they should have been kept separate.. ...more
James Thomas
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Between moments of fleeting adolescent narcissism, bouts of to-ing and fro-ing between scepticism and belief of the paranormal, and minute glimpses in to the life and death of Elisa Lam - this book often appears poorly researched. For those who are familiar enough with many of the events described (or some inexplicably left out), the lack of correct information, insufficient context or inaccurate attributions becomes frustrating.

But even these moments do not cause so much of an eye-roll as those
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thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)
This is the tragic and sad case of Elisa Lam, a 21 year-old student from Vancouver who was on her solo West Coast tour in California, and was last heard on January 31, 2013, after checking in the Cecil Hotel (a.k.a. "Suicide Hotel). This hotel is infamous for its many suicide cases, brutal murders and also known to be the residence of two notorious serial killers, Richard Ramirez, "The Night Stalker" and Jack Unterweger, "The Austrian Ghoul".

19 days later, maintenance worker, Santiago Lopez
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schizory
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The way Anderson writes about the investigation intertwining with his own self-discovery and how it relates to the case, was amazing, and it flowed together perfectly. It wasn't just another detached perspective and investigation about a true crime case. It was so much more. Anderson writes about Elisa in a relateable and very real way. A way that paints her as human, - something the media and LAPD never did, which unfortunately happens in a lot of true crime cases about missing persons and ...more
BrittsBookClub
Elisa Lams death and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it have always held my interest. When I saw there was a book coming out that dove into the events of her death, I knew I had to read it. Dare I hope that this book contains the answers that we all have about her death? I dove right in and tore through this book because I had to find out. While the book didnt contain all of the answers I was looking for, I definitely gained a lot of new insight into Elisa Lams death that I didnt know ...more
Jesse Chloe
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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Underground Knowl...: The unsolved mystery of Elisa Lam's death 1 14 Jan 15, 2020 10:36PM  

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