The Unclaimed Victim

Unclaimed victimAuthor: D.M. Pulley

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

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 are mainly prostitues and drug dealers that live in the less desireable places within Cleveland.  Once such person is Ethel Harding who never asked for this life, but does what she must to get by.  When a young woman from a nearby mission named Mary Alice convinces Ethel to come to the mission, she finds that her life may not be as bad as she thought.

Fast forward to 1999, Kris Wiley gets a call that her father has been killed and she must identify the remains, which there is only a torso. As she goes through her fathers things, she begins to find that he was obsessed with a serial killer from the 1930s that was never caught.  In fact, there is a whole network of people obsessed with the case.  As she tries to uncover what he was messed up in, she begins to receive threats to stop her search and go home.  Can she unravel her father’s death and solve a decades old cold case at the same time?

Pulley’s historical suspense writing is ratcheting her up to a new level of writers. I was hooked in the old story and had to research parts of it myself.  She placed the names of the officers and investigators at just the right place to match history.  And her depiction of Cleveland in the depression took me there to see it in my mind.  There is no doubt that this is a seedy novel, but it is supposed to reflect that era and way of life.  If you can indulge yourself a little, you’ll find that this story is more than face value.  There is a lot of foul language and sexual content, so it is recommended only for mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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