Despite the now overused, somewhat salacious title, Robert Kolker has written a very humane, non-exploitative treatment of the sex workers whose remains were dumped along Long Island’s south shore barrier beaches.
In Lost Girls: an unsolved American Mystery Kolker mainly tells the story of the women (they are all over 18, and hence not girls!) He gets deeply involved in their worlds, interviewing their parents, relatives and friends. We find an all too common thread. These woman, for the most part, were not full-time sex workers, but advertised on Craig’s List because they could make more money in a single night than most can make in a week or two weeks. This new incarnation of sex workers are lower middle class woman who just can’t make ends meet.
Kolker shows us, however, that they are prey to uncertainly and violence like all sex workers. In this case, that of a serial killer who used Ocean Parkway, east of Jones Beach and west of the Robert Moses Causeway (and, likely, a remote location in the Pine Barrens for earlier crimes) to hide his deeds. And as the title informs us, he has yet to be caught.