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Book Club is My Alibi: Discussion Guide: Lost Girls by Robert Kolker

A book group for true crime enthusiasts. Meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7pm. All are welcome.
Program notes for book discussion on Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery  by Robert Kolker 

October 11, 2023 @ 7 pm in Glasby Room

Remains continued to be found, but progress faltered after the initial discovery 10 years ago of four bodies wrapped in burlap on Long Island along a stretch of Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. BABYLON, NY - APRIL 05:  Suffolk County Police and police recruits search an area of beach near where police recently found human remains on April 5, 2011 in Babylon, New York. Working on the theory of a single serial killer may be working in the New York area, the police found three additional sets of human remains Monday, bringing the total number of bodies found in the area to eight. It is believed that most of the remains are female and that some of the women were working as prostitutes. Currently the police have no suspects in the crimes.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

About the Author

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Robert Kolker is the author of Hidden Valley Road, an instant #1 New York Times best-seller and selection of Oprah's Book Club that was named a Top Ten Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Slate; one of the year’s best by NPR, the Boston Globe, the New York Post, and Amazon; the #1 book of the year by People; and one of President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020.

His previous work includes Lost Girls, also a New York Times best-seller and New York Times Notable Book, and one of Slate’s best nonfiction books of the quarter century. He is a National Magazine Award finalist whose journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, O, the Oprah Magazine, the Marshall Project, Bloomberg Businessweek, and New York magazine.


The Victims

People Magazine Investigates" The Long Island Serial Killer: New  Revelations (TV Episode 2016) - IMDb

Learn more about the victims - Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation - Suffolk County PD





  • July 14, 2023. Suspect Arrested.  A suspect was arrested on July 13, 2023. Rex Heuermann has been charged with murder in connection with three of the victims. More updates will follow.

Locations and Dates

Click for interactive map


"Locations and dates of remains' discoveries on Long Island"Google Maps

Book to Movie -- Lost Girls (2020) Official Netflix Trailer

Book Summary

Book Discussion Questions

  • What are the forces that drove the victims into the profession they pursued?
  • Discuss the numerous theories put forth by law enforcement officials, the community, and even some of the suspects. Which, if any of them, do you find credible?
  • Why do you think it took so long to solve this case? What can we learn from it?
  • What are the pros and cons of releasing evidence to the public?
  • Considering the evidence in Shannon Gilbert's case (911 call, location, driver) and Dr. Hackett, do you think Shannon could be connected to LISK?

Distance from Gilgo Four Oak Beach

Selected Articles & Wikipedia

A selection of online pieces by Robert Kolker about the victims, the investigation, and the issues surrounding the case.

 A Serial Killer in Common
New York Magazine, June 6, 2011
Five prostitutes disappear. Bodies turn up on a beach. Now the families of the victims have formed a kind of sisterhood. They ask: Who murdered my daughter? Who was my sister—really?

The New Prostitutes
New York Times Op-Ed, June 29, 2013
“In the two years I’ve spent learning about the lives of all five women, I have found that they all defied expectations….”

First Lost, Then Murdered
Slate book excerpt, July 09, 2013
Melissa moved to New York to cut hair. Then she became an escort. Then she was gone.

Two Lost Daughters 
New York Magazine online, March 13, 2020
Mari Gilbert’s life, transformed by the death of one daughter, was ended by another.

The Gilgo Beach Murders Were a Cold Case. Then a New Police Chief Arrived.
New York Times, Sept. 25, 2020
After a decade of little movement in a series of killings on Long Island, a new sense of urgency.

The Gilgo Beach Victims Were Always More Than Escorts
New York Times, July 15, 2023
The families of the Gilgo Beach victims have been in a peculiar position: Caught in a spotlight that wildly distorted the reality about people they loved. (Published the day after the arrest of Rex Heuermann.)

Why Did It Take So Long to Catch the Long Island Serial Killer?
Rolling Stone Q&A, July 17, 2023
Robert Kolker, author of the book Lost Girls on the LISK murders following arrest of suspect Rex Heuermann, says police had "contempt" for the victims

Podcast Recommendations

Unraveled | Podcast on Spotify
Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer (LISK)

Against a backdrop of police corruption, sexual misconduct and cover ups at the highest levels of the Suffolk County Police Department, co-hosts Alexis Linkletter (The First Degree) and Billy Jensen (The Murder Squad) investigate the investigation itself to expose the untold story of the Long Island Serial Killer, in the seven-part true crime podcast series Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer.


Crime Junkie: Serial Killer LISKSERIAL KILLER: L.I.S.K. | Crime Junkie Podcast

When a young escort goes missing after an outcall on Long Island in 2010, no one bothers to search for her. No one except a single detective and his dog. While looking, he stumbles upon the burial ground of a serial killer… or… killers? What unfolds is one of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries. The story was set into motion when a young woman named Shannan Gilbert went missing after an outcall to Oak Beach in Long Island.

Crime Junkie CAPTUCAPTURED: Gilgo Beach Killer | Crime Junkie PodcastRED: Gilgo Beach Killer

The update episode you all have been waiting for! On July 13th, 2023, Suffolk County ended the search for their Gilgo Murder suspect and has charged 59-year-old, Rex Heuermann, with murder in connection with three of the victims.


LISK Podcast

Inspired by the New York Times bestselling book Lost Girls by Robert Kolker and brought to you by Mopac Audio, a subsidiary of the leading, independent Austin-based production company Megalomedia, the ‘LISK: Long Island Serial Killer’ features rare interviews, new leads, and incisive analysis from host Chris Mass and team. Mass is a writer and producer whose team has spent the last four years researching and investigating the LISK case.

Book Recommendations about Cold Cases, Marginalized Victims, DNA, and Serial Killers