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Perhaps because of its unique social geography, the degradation of mid sized city economies, or the silo effect of the city s makeup, London seemed the perfect place for sex traffickers, drug dealers, and serial killers They stopped here on their way through, as Ontario s superhighway 401 connects us easily with Detroit and Toronto The Forest City was made a safe haven for the worst criminals by the covered eyes and ears of our citizens Londoners can be remarkably incurious people My husbPerhaps because of its unique social geography, the degradation of mid sized city economies, or the silo effect of the city s makeup, London seemed the perfect place for sex traffickers, drug dealers, and serial killers They stopped here on their way through, as Ontario s superhighway 401 connects us easily with Detroit and Toronto The Forest City was made a safe haven for the worst criminals by the covered eyes and ears of our citizens Londoners can be remarkably incurious people My husband was born and raised in London, Ontario, apparently at the same time that that small, conservative city was unofficially known as the serial killer capital of Canada and perhaps even of the world , and while reading Vanessa Brown s account of those still unsolved murders, The Forest City Killer, I couldn t help but wonder what those years must have been like for my inlaws bringing children into a world where the daily headlines warned of young people being found raped, murdered, and left, half naked and bloodied, exposed to the elements When I asked my husband about this, he said he had never heard of any connection between London and supposed serial killers while growing up giving credence to Brown s assertion that Londoners are particularly good at ignoring their city s unseemlier side , and it seems outrageous that fifty years later, these victims families are still awaiting justice As Michelle McNamara did for the Golden State Killer in I ll Be Gone in the Dark who was eventually found as a result of the attention McNamara brought back to those murders now attributed to him , Brown s primary purpose seems to be to revive these cold cases and put pressure on the various police departments to retest evidence, follow up on new connections, and get the public talking again, perhaps prompting people to finally reveal what they know With a respectful discussion of the various crime scenes and an always empathetic narrative around these victims and their families, Brown strikes just the right balance between relaying information and maintaining dignity for those involved a worthwhile project, done well Note I read an ARC and passages quoted may not be in their final forms Someday, someone is going to write a book about the English case, as we are dealing with some of the wackiest people that existed Mrs Harrison and Glen Fryer were both insane Even a TV drama could not come up with weirder people Dennis Alsop JrAs an amateur historian, journalist, and trained antiquarian who runs an independent used bookstore in London, Ontario, Brown has both officially and informally spent her life collecting the stories of the locals she meets and talks to every day After learning about London s history with serial killers from Michael Arntfield s Murder City, Brown eventually arranged a meeting with Dennis Alsop Jr the son of a detective with the Ontario Provincial Police who investigated many of London s murders in the late 60s early 70s, and who is now in possession of his deceased father s personal archives With the aid of this new information including Alsop Sr s personal theories those things the police know but can t prove in court , Brown develops and relates her own theories, apparently unique in the online sleuthing community, and if any of this can catch a killer while he may still be alive, it seems a worthy project What I might object to is the middle chunk of the book focused on the strange and coincidence laden story of the wackiest people that existed that makes for interesting reading, but may only be tangentially related to the case that Brown is building And while I appreciate the frustration that the victims families and modern researchers might feel towards what they now regard as shoddy police work at the time, Brown spends a lot of ink editorialising about those investigations when she could just let the facts speak for themselves It would seem that at the height of the runaway hippie days, the police were unwilling to search for missing young women until weeks passed assuring a family that their long missing daughter is probably off somewhere married by now , or in the aftermath of a church group needing to organise its own search party when the police refused, officially commenting, If three hundred men couldn t find her, I doubt three hundred and six could have either There s no arguing that victim shaming and moral relativism were prevalent in those chauvinistic days A coroner sneers that a teenaged murder victim hadn t been a virgin, a divorcee probably wasn t the victim of rape because people knew she liked to sleep around, it s implied that a sex predator could have been contained if his wife had met his needs, a judge cautions a jury that they couldn t add rape to a murder charge if it s found that the body had only been violated after death Weird and nasty stuff to the modern reader When an adolescent is found dead, bloody and bruised, her genitals exposed and her mouth stuffed with pink tissue, the police reaction is incredible, but I didn t need Brown to spell it out for meDetective Herb Jeffrey said, We feel the victim knew the person who picked her up When asked about the type of person who would commit such a disgusting, violent act, Jeffrey ruled out an abnormal mind He said, Perverts destroy This waslike the work of a healthy male The implication was that a man had been overcome with lust and arousal, that this kind of behaviour kidnap, murder, and sexual assault was just a natural offshoot of a healthy man s desires Inserting herself into the narrative did add interest for me learning the history of Brown s research made the subject matterrelatable, as did the local colour she could provide as a resident of the setting so it s not that I wanted Just the facts ma am, I just found the running commentary about the state of police work back in the day to be too often snide I was fascinated to learn that the first detective to respond to a murder case back then would write his name on the victim s hand before anything else to claim the case talk about corrupting a crime scene , and I agree with Alsop Jr s assertion that the police often forget that investigations belong equally to victims families and information and evidence shouldn t be so jealously guarded from them nor, for that matter, should the victims non evidentiary belongings be held indefinitely as their families plead for their return Brown quotes often from Murder City, makes reference to coverage of some of these murders on the television show To Catch a Killer, and discusses the online sleuthing devoted to London s serial killers on the website Unsolved Canada it would seem that even if people can live their entire lives in London without knowing it had been the serial killer capital of Canada, there are still many people committed to solving these decades old cold cases If, as with the Golden State Killer, the Forest City Killer is caught as a result of this fresh focus on the facts, any narrative quibbles I might have would be moot I hope that is the case 3.5 stars This book seriously suffers from discontinuous story lines It puts forth the theory that a string of sexual murders in the 1960s in London Ontario were all committed by one individual I found it unconvincing and frustrating to read It seems to bean outline or notes for a book rather than finished work. Disclaimer ARC via Netgalley If you are American and maybe if you are not , Brown s book is going to remind you on some level of the Golden State Killer Which is strange because the only thing that the two books have in common Brown s book details the unsolved killings of young people, mostly girls, in London Ontario that occurred in a period starting the 1960s While Brown does work as a bookseller, she is also a knowledge local historian She brings a local s knowledge to the story, and th Disclaimer ARC via Netgalley If you are American and maybe if you are not , Brown s book is going to remind you on some level of the Golden State Killer Which is strange because the only thing that the two books have in common Brown s book details the unsolved killings of young people, mostly girls, in London Ontario that occurred in a period starting the 1960s While Brown does work as a bookseller, she is also a knowledge local historian She brings a local s knowledge to the story, and this is invaluable when she is discussing not only the geography and public transit but also the family and society structures and norms that existed Brown may not be a formal reporter, but she is aware of her inexperience and in many ways, her curiosity lends itself to the reader, and her sympathy in particular for the families, does not feel intrusion The information was gathered not only from newspaper articles and reports, but also from interviews and private papers While at times she does use the pronoun I , the personal intrusions are kept to a minimum and, for the most part only there to indict an inability to contact a person, find information, or to provide an local s insight on a place or a bus route considering how many people fail to realize buses don t always run 24 7 this is important I do wish that Brown had a littlecontext or criticism about the judgment that occurred to some of victims, in particular those women who were not virgins There is a bit, so she does take it into account It s justa personal preference issue A good read ( Free Book ) ☣ Forest City Killer ♫ Vanessa Brown s FOREST CITY KILLER, about howyears ago Jackie English was found, murdered, in a river and her killer was never identified starting from the original case files, the author reopens the investigation and closes in on a killer who evaded justice for decades, to Jack David at ECW Press, in a nice deal, for publication in fall The Forest City Killer is the story and investigation of the disappearance and subsequent murder of Jackie English, a resident of London, Ontario in 1969.Having read, reviewed and interviewed the author of Murder City, a book about both the murders in her hometown of London, Ontario between 1959 and 1984, bookseller and author Vanessa Brown s curiosity about the unsolved murder of Jackie English inspired her to dig deep and write her own book focusing specifically on English s mysterious death The Forest City Killer is the story and investigation of the disappearance and subsequent murder of Jackie English, a resident of London, Ontario in 1969.Having read, reviewed and interviewed the author of Murder City, a book about both the murders in her hometown of London, Ontario between 1959 and 1984, bookseller and author Vanessa Brown s curiosity about the unsolved murder of Jackie English inspired her to dig deep and write her own book focusing specifically on English s mysterious death Through interviews with those connected to Jackie and with access to Detective James Alsop s files the man obsessed with bringing to justice the person responsible for English s grisly death Vanessa reopens the case and furiously investigates with the hope of solving the decades old cold case.There s nothing special about Jackie s disappearance in and of itself She had been waiting for a bus following her shift when she was picked up on the side of the road by an unidentified man driving a Ford Witnesses were sparse, but they all seemed to corroborate one another s story The sad fact is that Jackie s disappearance was one of many during this time and what author Vanessa Brown hopes to accomplish is to lay out the evidence to support her theory that Jackie s murder, and several others, were possibly committed by one or two men.Brown examines the similarities among the murders of Jackie and those of several others during the latter half of the 1960s There are several items that can connect them but at the time, investigators were quick to wash their hands of the potential of a serial killer living among them Seeing as the case remains unsolved, a book of this nature could possibly fall into the trap of editorializing and manipulating evidence to support the author s agenda but Brown is very quick to differentiate her theories from the hard facts and how they connect.There arethan a few staggering revelations here the biggest surrounding a section of the book devoted to the murder of Georgia Jackson Brown believes this may be the earliest murder connected to the Forest City Killer However, the surprise lies in the judge s throwing out of the rape charge given that he didn t believe he could classify as rape what the killer did after the victim had passed The book is filled with how those responsible for investigating and carrying out justice seemed to fumble their responsibilities.The Forest City Killer continues the trend of amateur sleuths doing the heavy lifting for the overworked or possibly apathetic law enforcement as seen in books like Michelle MacNamara s I ll Be Gone in the Dark and James Renner s True Crime Addict Given the crowded market place and the high expectations put forth by true crime aficionados, there isn t any room for slackers Brown is the furthest thing from lazy in putting forth the effort to compile an engaging narrative surrounding the mid century killings and allows readers to digest the evidence and make up their own minds about who is responsible.Side note this book contains one of the most Canadian paragraphs I ve read in a book An hour s drive southeast of London, Aylmer is a small town It serves as a hub for summer tourists at nearby cottages, where city dwellers vacation along the shores of Lake Erie The population swells during hot weather Crowding the sidewalks in their swimsuits and flip flops, families check out little boutiques, get some beer at the LCBO for a campfire, buy some bug spray at Shoppers Drug Mart, and grab four litres of bagged milk from the Valu mart. London, Ontario earned its nickname The Forest City during its establishment in 1826, when it was littlethan a village among the trees Today, London is a mid size city with a population of about 400,000 that spreads out along the River Thames London is a community much like any other, but from 1959 to 1984, the town was said to have hadactive serial killers than any other locale in the world It was reported by criminologist, Michael Arntfield in his book Murder City, that there London, Ontario earned its nickname The Forest City during its establishment in 1826, when it was littlethan a village among the trees Today, London is a mid size city with a population of about 400,000 that spreads out along the River Thames London is a community much like any other, but from 1959 to 1984, the town was said to have hadactive serial killers than any other locale in the world It was reported by criminologist, Michael Arntfield in his book Murder City, that there were at least six serial killers active in London during this era, including Russell Maurice Johnson known as The Bedroom Strangler , Gerald Thomas Archer known as The London Chambermaid Slayer, and Christian Magee known as The Mad Slasher.The Forest City Killer explores the murders of several young women and children, linked by location and manner of death, whose killer s were never officially identified Amateur historian, writer, and antiquarian bookseller Vanessa Brown presents Information about several of the cases that remain unsolved from the late 1960 s drawn not only from public record but also her own interviews with relevant persons, and from the personal files of a now deceased detective who played an active role in the investigation of these crimes.Brown begins with the murder of fifteen year old Jackie English, who disappeared on her way home from work one evening in 1969 Her nude body was found under a bridge a few days later, she had been beaten, raped and strangled Her unidentified killer, is who Brown calls The Forest City Killer , and it is this case that she finds the most compelling.Brown s personal theory links the murder of Jackie English with the murders of at least two other teenage girls, Jacqueline Dunleavy, and Soraya O Connell, as well as a woman in her mid thirties, Helga Beer, and three young boys, eleven year old Bruce Stapylton, nine year old Frankie Jensen, and sixteen year old Scott Leishman I m not sure I agree that all the murders, and at least one other disappearance, are the work of a single killer, but Brown does suggest points of comparison that could be of significance.Unfortunately the investigation of the cases were cases were uneven, largely a byproduct of the times The police chief was uninterested in the disappearance of young women in particular, quick to suggest they were off partying, or were simply runaway s, so official searches were delayed The London police force also generally lacked experience, and an understanding, of sexually motivated crimes, evident by some shocking statements of victim shaming While blood, fluids, and other evidence were collected from many of the scenes, forensic investigative techniques at the time were primitive, and it is unclear if any of it still exists.Brown s material on these unsolved cases is interesting and readable, though at times the narrative feels a little cluttered with extraneous personal detail I do think the book would benefit from summary s of each case s details, and perhaps a comparison table, or something similar.Brown states that her main purpose in writing The Forest City Killer is to renew interest in these unsolved cases and to urge the Ontario Provincial Police to re investigate these crimes vigorously, using all DNA and other evidence in their possession I hope that her aim is achieved and the family s may finally get the answers they have long hoped for Researcher Vanessa Brown grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and resides there to this day It is in her beloved city where she owns and operates a used book store and as an avid local historian, she has authored and or edited several local history books London, Ontario is also known as The Forest City hence the title of this book I have a keen interest in True Crime, biographies and historical non fiction It is because of this that I was drawn to THE FOREST CITY KILLER Also, since I live i Researcher Vanessa Brown grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and resides there to this day It is in her beloved city where she owns and operates a used book store and as an avid local historian, she has authored and or edited several local history books London, Ontario is also known as The Forest City hence the title of this book I have a keen interest in True Crime, biographies and historical non fiction It is because of this that I was drawn to THE FOREST CITY KILLER Also, since I live in Ontario, Canada and have visited all the locations mentioned in this story, and in fact, I attended the same high school Sir Frederick Banting High School in Alliston Ontario as convicted murderer, David Bodemer, I knew I just had to find out the details of the murders which took place only a few years before I was born Author VANESSA BROWN has taken the story of murder most foul and crafted a true tale of intrigue with so many twists and turns that it is almost unbelievable It is said that Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, and in the case of the FOREST CITY KILLER this statement proves to be true Untangling the web of murders as well as entertaining multiple theories, the writing of this book must have been a monumental task and yet Vanessa Brown proves herself as adept in not only untangling the many strands of the web, but also in providing readers with a chohesive and coherent timeline and a theory that comes across as convincing In fact, maybe Vanessa Brown has missed her calling she would make a phenomenal cold case investigator My only negative feedback about THE FOREST CITY KILLER is the overabundance of footnotes In my opinion, if the note is worthy of being included in the book, then it can easily be added to the main narrative I found the footnotes interesting and was glad the information they contained was included, however I found them overly distracting Hopefully, since the copy I received was an ARC Advance Review Copy that these footnotes will be worked into the body of the book Included in the book are many photographs including pictures of the eleven victims and photos taken at the time the bodies were found This allows readers to feel an extra connection to the cases I rate THE FOREST CITY KILLER as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book To readof my reviews and to enter some awesome giveaways, visit my blog at Follow me on Instagram Amiesbookreviews I received an ARC from Netgalley called The Forest City Killer by Vanessa Brown This is a true crime about a serial killer and rapist operating in Canada in the 1960s and early 70s Vanessa Brown is not a journalist but a citizen who lives in the same area where the serial killer was targeting victims She interviewed surviving family members, read detective s notes, and even tried to interview potential suspects.Unfortunately, this case is still unsolved which made me feel very unsatisfied wit I received an ARC from Netgalley called The Forest City Killer by Vanessa Brown This is a true crime about a serial killer and rapist operating in Canada in the 1960s and early 70s Vanessa Brown is not a journalist but a citizen who lives in the same area where the serial killer was targeting victims She interviewed surviving family members, read detective s notes, and even tried to interview potential suspects.Unfortunately, this case is still unsolved which made me feel very unsatisfied with the story She will talk about a location and then includes snippets of her life For example suspect went to this church then she will mention her grandma went to the same church She includes unnecessary details about where everyone lived which may be interesting if you lived there, but not if you don t She also included random information about fires and a potentially related case that was solved The writing was disorganized, at times way too detailed, and ultimately led nowhere I now realize I do not like reading true crime if it s unsolved My interest isin who did the crime and why they committed it It was a slog to get through I gave the book 2 stars.This book comes out October 4th The only people I recommend it to are people who live in London, Ontario and or knew the victims Strange and quirky Also overlong and all focus is on London Ontario rather than the specifics listed within the title, IMHO I considered a two star rating as tangents relative from arson fires to car style head lights rove all over the place Organized only by dozens of cases in this particular place during this late 1960 s to about a decade later period.But I went with the 3 stars because the soup to nuts confusion is exactly apt to that pre forensics proofs period during which all these murd Strange and quirky Also overlong and all focus is on London Ontario rather than the specifics listed within the title, IMHO I considered a two star rating as tangents relative from arson fires to car style head lights rove all over the place Organized only by dozens of cases in this particular place during this late 1960 s to about a decade later period.But I went with the 3 stars because the soup to nuts confusion is exactly apt to that pre forensics proofs period during which all these murders occurred There are suppositions but almost no answers arrests or convictions He is blood type O That s about the only absolute fact re the Forest City Killer.Mixtures of intersecting characters in several cases was so intriguing that a 3rd star is earned The feel between them of work realities and transport fit the period It brought back that time period onus quite to the nifty gritty much as I remember it Same neighborhood type complex too But this is comparable to reading open files of 40 or 60 plus years gone Unsatisfying all told and major evil is probably getting pension checks and home care Photos are weird grainy and at times seem macabre or posed at random later periods.Yet it does give you feel and placements And almost no justice answers He or two he s got away with it