The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases

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There are unidentified bodies all over the United States, stowed away in morgues and hospitals, buried in potters’ fields and John Doe graves, each one with a name missing and a family left uninformed of their passing. But some of those bodies have found their way home, thanks to intrepid Internet sleuths who have pieced together their identities by combing through missing persons reports and newspaper clippings, reuniting names and bodies.

The Skeleton Crew explores the rise in Internet detectives and their work with law enforcement to close some of the oldest cold cases in U.S. history. It’s a fascinating look at the crossroads of information availability, serious dedication, and the spark of human intuition that no machine could replicate. Halber interviews several sleuths who have given years at a time to certain cases, revealing both the pluses and minuses of amateur policework, but without casting judgment herself.

The reading experience is marred a bit by the pettiness of some of the players involved, but unfortunately, every group seems to have its trolls, fameseekers, and grudgeholders. Nonetheless, Halber presents a thoroughly engaging and worthwhile look at an important (and unexpected) Internet subculture.


Reviewed By:

Author Deborah Halber
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publish Date 2014-Jul-01
ISBN 9781451657586
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category History
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