Book Review: Topanga Beach Experience by Paul Lovas

  • Topanga Beach Experience: 1960s – 70s 

  • by Paul Lovas (as told to Pablo Capra)
Publisher – Brass Tacks Press

  • Copyright 2011

  • 43 pages

Rating - 7.5/10

Summary - Topanga Beach Experience is a chapbook recounting Paul Lovas‘ experiences there during the 1960s and 1970s. The book is short, but has some great anecdotes about bohemian life in Topanga before gentrification. At the end, the reader is left to ponder what we can learn about life from Lovas’ stories.

Review - In the short book Topanga Beach Experience, Paul Lovas recounts his experiences living on Topanga Beach during the 1960s and 70s. He has a great collection of stories about how he and his friends “lived for the moment.”

The Topanga Destroyer

Lovas’ place in the world came about by happenstance. Back in the 1960s, he had a high school friend whose parents had a beach house on Topanga Beach. Lovas and the friend began surfing Topanga and Lovas then moved to Topanga, where he has lived since the sixties.

Eventually, Lovas acquired a reputation as an excellent surfer and friends dubbed him “The Topanga Destroyer.” Much of Topanga Beach Experience centers on the ways that surfing shaped Lovas’ life.


43 short chapters comprise the book, which loosely arranges the vignettes in chronological order. The chapters start with Lovas’ high school experiences and run to the 2000s. However, almost all of the book centers on the 1960s and 1970s.

For the most part, Topanga Beach Experience is lighthearted. Lovas recounts how he spent his early years surfing and partying with the creative people who drifted through Topanga. (In one memorable scene, Lovas and actor Jan-Michael Vincent barely escape getting arrested for drugs. In another, Lovas and a friend “take over” a beach house that Bob “Bear” Hite of Canned Heat had recently rented and trashed).

However, the book has a more-sobering, serious side. Lovas also discusses:

  • the Vietnam draft,
  • the time a good friend of his was stabbed in the heart. (He lived).
  • And the destruction of Topanga’s beach community by (first) floods and (then) the State of California.

Whatever the topic and tone, the book is consistently interesting.

Areas for Improvement

Prospective buyers should know that Topanga Beach Experience is not a “true book” – it’s a chapbook and the printing reflects that. It’s something of a cross between a pamphlet and a book. There are 18 pages of interesting pictures, though they are grainy, black-and-white. (There are 43 pages of text, as the “photo pages” are not numbered). Moreover, the pages’ size varied a little, which gives the book an “untidy” appearance.

One thing that I would have liked to have read is a bit more reflection at the end of the book. Lovas sums up simply by stating that “success is just a smile on your face.” It’s not a bad way to end, but Lovas has lived an unconventional lifestyle in a place that has been a center of many of the social changes in the U.S. since the 1960s. Paul’s reflections on “what it all means” would have been welcome.


Topanga Beach Experience is a fun, lighthearted look at a world that – for the most part – no longer exists. It’s also cheap – with shipping, my copy set me back $7.50. I recommend it to anyone interested in the 1960s, bohemians, surfing, or southern California.

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Book Review: Privileged Information by Tom Alibrandi with Frank H. Armani

  • Privileged Information – The Gripping True Story of an Attorney Who Risked Everything to Protect His Client’s Horrifying Secrets
  • by Tom Alibrandi with Frank H. Armani
  • Publisher – Harper Paperbacks
  • Copyright 1984
  • 314 pages

Rating - 8.5/10

Summary - This a true-crime story with a twist. On one level, it’s the story of Robert Garrow, a cold-blooded- but canny – rapist and murderer who terrorized upstate New York in the 1970s. On another, it’s the story of an attorney wrestling with his conscience about his duties to a client who has brought agony to so many lives.

Review - A few weeks ago, I was loafing in a thrift store and I came across Privileged Information. I was uncertain about whether I should buy it, but I thought that it had to be worth a dollar. It was a good decision as the largely-forgotten story makes for a top-notch book.

Robert Garrow

The villain at the center of Privileged is Robert Garrow. Garrow was born in 1936 in Mineville, New York. His childhood was horrific. He suffered physical abuse by his dysfunctional parents who sent him to live on a neighbor’s farm at age seven. On the farm, Garrow had no children to play with, worked all day long, and eventually began having sex with the animals. Garrow later joined the Air Force but spent most of his service time behind bars.

Unsurprisingly, Garrow became a violent criminal. He had a particular animus toward long-haired men and petite women. Garrow spent eight years in prison but, after his 1969 release, seemed to calm down and live an exemplary family life. However, Garrow could only stay on track for so long; as the book begins in July 1973, Garrow is roaming upstate New York, committing rape and murder.

One good “hook” in the story is that Garrow’s considerable “street smarts” make him more interesting than the typical, violent criminal. He was skilled at eluding capture and showed that he knew how to manipulate both the legal and prison systems.

Enter the Attorneys

Author Armani found himself appointed to defend Garrow. At the time, Armani had a wife, two daughters, and a successful Syracuse law practice. But the Garrow case would nearly destroy him.

Given the mountain of evidence against Garrow, an acquittal was very unlikely. Armani and his co-counsel (a flamboyant man named Francis Belge) tried to construct an insanity defense. A moral dilemma arose when Garrow revealed that he had committed several murders and told the attorneys where he had left the victims’ bodies.

The victims’ families were desperate to find their loved ones. However, the attorneys could not reveal the location of the bodies – information that clients reveal to their attorneys is privileged. When it later emerged that Armani and Belge had failed to help authorities locate the bodies, the two attorneys faced dire consequences. (Forty years later, the case is still widely cited, as a Google search will reveal).

Well Done

The “confidentiality” angle adds a lot, but Privileged Information would still be terrific without the issue. Simply put, the book is “well done” on all levels.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the authors’ vivid portrait of upstate New York. I took a trip to the region way back in 1981 and it brought back some fond memories. As in the best books, the authors make you feel as though you are there. Another bonus is that you learn a lot about the practice of law in a small town. The attorneys and judges all know each other – at least by reputation – and it influences the way they conduct the case.


Privileged Information doesn’t look like much, just a mass-market paperback with 8 pages of grainy pictures. Don’t be fooled. It’s a fascinating, well-written story that will appeal to all true-crime fans.

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Book Review: Goat Brothers by Larry Colton

Goat Brothers
by Larry Colton
Publisher – Doubleday
Copyright 1993
559 pages

Rating - 9/10

Summary - In 1977 Sara Davidson published a memoir titled Loose Change, which recounted the lives of Davidson and two of her sorority sisters from the University of California (Berkeley) from the early-1960s to the mid-1970s.

In 1979, Larry Colton and Steve Radich, two men who had attended Berkeley during the same period, were discussing Davidson’s book. Radich told Colton (a journalist) that he should write about some of the men who attended Berkeley at the same time. Perhaps surprisingly, Colton followed through and the result is Goat Brothers.

Review - Back in the early-1960s, five men pledged the “jock” fraternity at the University of California – Berkeley. Over the following three decades, against the backdrop of a changing America, these men found their way in the world – albeit with many wrong turns. One of them – author Larry Colton – recounts their five stories in the compelling Goat Brothers.

Who are the five “Goat Brothers?”

In their fraternity’s argot, Goat Brothers were the pledges (prospective members) who went through Hell Week together before becoming brothers (full members). The five men in Colton’s book are -

  1. Larry Colton – the author and chief protagonist. Colton was a Cal baseball star who married actress Hedy Lamarr’s beautiful daughter, Denise. Colton made it all of the way to baseball’s major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies. But the dream was not what he’d thought it would be. Eventually, Colton landed in Portland where he lived a hand-to-mouth existence as a freelance writer and single dad. You have to give Colton credit for telling many unflattering stories about himself. (He also tells unflattering stories about his buddies and this “warts-and-all” characteristic helps make Goat Brothers very readable).
  2. Loren Hawley – a star football and rugby player at Cal – and the life of every party. At Cal and afterward, Hawley was best buddies with quarterback Craig Morton, who went on to a long NFL career. Stories of Hawley’s partying are some of the best reading in Goat Brothers. Unfortunately, Hawley was also the child of a dysfunctional family, a world-class dissembler who brought pain into his life – and the lives of many whom he touched. Hawley is the most-ambivalent character in Goat Brothers.
  3. Like Hawley, Steve Radich was also a football star and -  again like Hawley – he evokes ambivalent reactions from the reader.  Radich had many secrets, perhaps that biggest was that he had gotten a woman pregnant and “done the right thing” by marrying her before their son was born. At that point, Radich stopped doing the right thing and had nothing else to do with his wife or new son. As the years passed, Radich (who worked at his family’s successful car dealership) drifted, searching, from one thing to another while engaging in riskier and riskier behavior.
  4. Jim van Hoften – who was on the crew team at Cal, was an achiever and the most likable of the group by far. He was always an outcast in the fraternity and would later recall his four years at Cal as the worst time of his life. But after Cal he went to graduate school, became a fighter pilot, then a college professor, and later an astronaut on the Challenger space shuttle. Seemingly, van Hoften was the only one of the five to escape the 1960s without deep scars.
  5. A third football player, Ron Vaughan had the saddest story of the Goat Brothers. Unbeknownst to anyone, he was one-eighth black in a fraternity that did not admit blacks. Vaughan bore down while in school and earned a degree in architecture. But after Cal, he drifted into homelessness and mental illness, enduring several hospitalizations. Ron is likable, but he’s something of a “sad sack.” The reader wants him to stand up for himself.

How Unique?

One question that dogs the reader is how typical these five men are of their generation. Certainly, they lived dramatic lives in dramatic times. Disappointment left many of them with lingering unhappiness, particularly toward the women in their lives. But were these guys were unique? After all, most of us find that many of our youthful goals were unattainable – or not what we wanted to achieve, after all. Moreover, few of us escape love’s slings and arrows completely unscathed.

Boys versus Girls – Colton’s Goat Brothers versus Davidson’s Loose Change

Is the “sequel” (Goat Brothers) better than its original inspiration (Loose Change)? This is a difficult question. I prefer Goat Brothers, but a woman might prefer Loose Change.

In my humble opinion, Goat Brothers is superior because it follows the characters into their early-50s, while Loose Change follows its characters only into their mid-30s. The women in Loose Change were still “works in progress”at the time of its publication and it is difficult for the reader to see what they would make of their lives. A second reason that I prefer Goat Brothers is that Loose Change author Sara Davidson used pseudonyms for her sorority sisters and changed some details of their life stories. I much prefer Colton’s use of his fraternity brothers’ real names and their true (if sometimes-messy) life stories. (Goat Brothers also has photos of the characters, which Davidson obviously couldn’t include in Loose Change if she wished to protect her subjects’ privacy).

Still, you can’t go wrong with either book. (My 2012 review of Loose Change is here –

SummaryColton’s Moment

In Goat Brothers Larry Colton recounts his long career as a writer, with its many ups and downs. I believe that – when it’s all said and done – Goat Brothers will stand as Colton’s “moment” as a writer. He makes you care about these guys – warts and all – for 560 pages. He also makes you reflect on the long, winding path that your acquaintances and you are taking through this world.

Reading Goat Brothers is a big investment of your time, but Colton makes it a rewarding experience. (Twenty years after initial publication, readers will want an update on these five; a few updates are available on the ‘net).

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Book Review: Deadly Weekend by John Dillmann

Deadly Weekend – A True Story of Obsession and Murder
by John Dilmann
Publisher – Berkely
Copyright 1991
256 pages

Rating - 8/10

Summary - The murder of a wealthy physician (who was also a closet homosexual) in one of the world’s most exotic cities sounds like the plot of a detective show. Sadly, it actually happened in New Orleans in January 1978. The detective on the case, John Dillmann, recounts the story in the good true crime book Deadly Weekend.

Review - A common plot in literature is the person who is – in some way – out of place. John Dillmann’s Deadly Weekend recounts a real-life tragedy that follows this storyline. In the 1970s Dr. Mark Sheppard was a successful anesthesiologist in St. Petersburg, Florida. However, unbeknownst to most people, Sheppard was a closeted gay who frequently traveled to New Orleans where he spent his time amongst the black “hustlers” of the gay community.

While in New Orleans, Sheppard constantly tempted fate, exploring the seediest corners of the Crescent City with some of its most-disreputable characters. Sadly, this would lead to tragedy as Dr. Smith became a murder victim. The case fell to Detective John Dillmann who later became a successful author by recounting some of his more-notable cases in four true crime books.

John Dillmann

The case soon bogged down and Dillmann found himself traveling to St. Petersburg to look for clues. As Dillmann’s investigation proceeded, he uncovered more of the details of Sheppard’s secret life. These revelations give Deadly Weekend a voyeuristic quality that makes the reader feel (slightly) guilty about reading the book. Given that Sheppard worked so hard to cover up his secret life, it is a bitter irony that his secrets were blown into the open by his murder.

New Orleans

New Orleans is one of my favorite places and my love for it led me to read Deadly Weekend. Indeed, The Crescent City plays a co-starring role in all of Dillmann’s books. Those who have visited “NOLA” will recognize many of the City’s landmarks. But Deadly Weekend exposes the seamy backwaters that don’t make the tourist brochures. The reader enjoys the armchair travel.

No Guarantees

One of the best things about the Dillmann books is that they present police work and the legal process, as they are – and not as we would like them to be. Dillmann and his colleagues on the New Orleans Police Department constantly had to “make do” with inadequate funding and low salaries that required them to spend much of their time “moonlighting.”

Moreover, when the cases moved to trial, there were no guarantees that justice would be served. This uncertainty helps build the suspense in Deadly Weekend and the other four books. It must also be said, unfortunately, that the four books lose a lot of their momentum when the cases come to trial; Dillmann cannot maintain Deadly Weekend’s momentum when the lawyers take charge of the proceedings.


In Deadly Weekend, Dillmann writes in a straightforward style. He spends relatively little time ruminating on the victims, the crimes, and the criminals who commit them. This can be good in that Dillmann doesn’t tell the reader what to think. At the same time, the reader wants to know why a successful person such as Dr. Sheppard  behaved in a way that could only end badly for him. There are no answers in the pages of Deadly Weekend – you have to speculate as to what drove Sheppard.


The Reed Business review on -

(link –

- states that Deadly Weekend isn’t up to the level of Dillmann’s earlier efforts (Unholy Matrimony & The French Quarter Killers). I disagree. Granted, Unholy Matrimony is difficult to beat, but Deadly Weekend is at least its equal and is considerably better than The French Quarter Killers (and the fourth book in the series, Blood Warning). Having said that, all four books will appeal to true crime fans who want to read about New Orleans’ underworld. For those interested in Dillmann’s books, Deadly Weekend is a great place to start.

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Book Review: Working for the Man (Hardman #7) by Ralph Dennis

Working for the Man (Hardman #7)
by Ralph Dennis
Publisher – Popular Library
Copyright 1974
176 pages

Rating - 6.5/10

Summary - Ralph Dennis’ Hardman is back in Working for The Man. Someone is trying to extort money from The Man (the head of Atlanta’s underworld). Hardman and his best friend Hump Evans try to find out who is behind the plan. Working for the Man is enjoyable, fast-paced fiction.

Review - Back in the early-1970s an obscure Atlanta writer named Ralph Dennis churned out twelve novels featuring Jim Hardman, a disgraced Atlanta cop turned “unlicensed private investigator.” The novels aren’t fine literature, but they are a lot of fun. Over the holidays I decided to read the seventh entry in the series, Working for the Man.

Who is the Man?

In the Hardman series, The Man is an ex-pimp, who controls Atlanta’s black underworld.  The Man frequently interacts with Hardman and Hardman’s friend, Hump Evans. Evans is a black former football player who has hit the skids and often works with Hardman on various shady “jobs.”

At the beginning of Hardman #7, The Man tells Hardman that one of Hardman’s old buddies, an ex-boxer turned gambler named Ronny Gellin has been tortured and murdered. It turns out that back in the 1950s, Gellin helped Hardman avoid getting “taken” by some card cheats. Moreoever, at the time of Gellin’s death, he was helping keep The Man’s books. The people who murdered Gellin decide to blackmail The Man using the ledgers that they took from Gellin.


The above paragraphs are about all that one needs to know about the plot. Dennis’ plots are good enough to keep you interested in how the story ends. But the real fun of the Hardman books is the journey, not the destination. Dennis gives readers a nice tour of Atlanta’s 1970s-era gutters, with references to real places. It’s a nice portrait of a vanished world.

The novels also have some other nice “hooks” to keep the pages turning. Hardman’s relationship with Hump is a good “buddy” story (and it helps to remember that the “black best friend” was not yet a cliche when Dennis wrote these novels). Hardman also has a girlfriend named Marcy who helps steer him away from his worst vices. Another recurring character is Hardman’s former colleague on the Atlanta Police Department, Art Maloney, who tries to keep Hardman out of trouble with the police. All three characters are prominent in Working for the Man.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Dennis actually was a good writer. Hardman is something of a gourmet and Dennis paints detailed portraits of Jim’s food and drink. Also, Dennis had a talent for making natural settings come alive through vivid descriptions. Consider this from the beginning of Working for the Man -

What had been a slow winter rain turned in to an ice storm when the temperature dropped after dark. The trees became coated with sheets of ice and when the wind blew through the limbs they creaked, and now and then there was a popping explosion when a tree split somewhere off in the distance. A couple of times during the night I awakened to a blue-red flash on the skyline that meant that a transformer had gone up. (page 5).


While I’m obviously a fan of the Hardman novels, I have to acknowledge that there are drawbacks. Dennis wrote them in a hurry, publishing the first seven novels in the series in 1974 (which makes Working for the Man, the last of the seven 1974 novels to appear). At times, Dennis’ haste is obvious. The actions scenes in Working for the Man can be uninspired and difficult to follow. Also, there is a point in the novel where The Man agrees to make a payment to the extortionists. I don’t want to include a spoiler, but a halfway-alert reader will recognize it makes no sense for The Man to agree to pay the money.


With the end of Working for the Man, I’ve now read seventh of the twelve Hardman novels. It’s a little sad to think that I don’t have many left to enjoy.

The Hardman books are what my high school English teacher used to call “literary junk food.” Clearly, she didn’t mean that as a compliment. But like all good junk food, the Hardman books are very enjoyable. (Dennis’ novel Deadman’s Game, which features an assassin named Kane, is also good). Working for the Man is typical of the series – fairly well-written popular fiction that won’t disappoint those looking for a diversion.

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Book Review: I Did It My Way by Bud Grant

I Did It My Way: A Remarkable Journey to the Hall of Fame
by Bud Grant and Jim Burton
Publisher – Triumph Book
Copyright 1997
288 pages

Rating - 6.5/10

Summary - Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant was noted for his stoic silences during his career. But he has had an interesting life and he offers some nice insights in his autobiography, I Did It My Way. While the book could be better, football fans will still enjoy it.

Review - In the eleven seasons between 1968 and 1978, the Minnesota Vikings won ten division titles and appeared in four Super Bowls. Coach Bud Grant was a constant during those years. Grant’s life – inside and outside coaching – has been interesting and he recounts his story in the autobiography, I Did it My Way.

Early Years

Some of the best material in the book concerns Grant’s hardscrabble youth in Superior, Wisconsin. He sugarcoats nothing, telling readers that a) his grandmother was a prostitute, b) he never had enough to eat, and c) alcoholism is common in his family. Perhaps even more remarkable is that Grant tells the story without apparent bitterness.

Grant eventually moved on to military service at the end of World War II and then to the University of Minnesota where he played football. Again, he does not view his college days through rose-colored glasses, stating that he a) was not a good student, b) did not enjoy playing college football, c) lived in awful housing, d) scalped his complimentary game tickets, and e) learned how not to coach by observing his college coaches.

After college, Grant played two years of professional basketball in the NBA for the Minneapolis Lakers. (A period of his life which he should have covered in more detail). Then, Grant played in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles before leaving for the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers (who offered Grant a nice raise). It was in Winnipeg that Grant got his chance to coach in 1957.


One of the best things about Grant is that he comes off a likable, down-to-earth, straightforward person. One could say that his is the story of an “everyman” who ended up in extraordinary circumstances. He easily confesses that “…to this day, I still do not know how to tie a tie. Clip-on ties saved me, because every time I went somewhere I had to put on a tie.”

Grant’s passion – aside from football – is the great outdoors. He spends a lot of I Did It My Way on his passions for the outdoors; some of this material is excellent (such as the time he was stranded for several days after a blizzard during his youth), but some of it falls flat.

Near the end of I Did It My Way, Grant offers a strong – and very moving – account of the death of his wife, Pat, in 2009. The couple was married for 60 years and Bud notes that, with her death, “a part of me was lost forever.”

On Football – Hits & Misses

The tragic flaw in I Did It My Way is the selection of material for the book. Grant’s fame comes from coaching the Minnesota Vikings, but he does not place a special emphasis on those years. The reader wants to know more about Grant and the Vikings. Readers would feel disappointed if a former President of the U.S. were to write a memoir and devote no more attention to the four years in office than to any other stretch in his (or her) life; essentially, this is what Grant has done in his autobiography.

What remains is still pretty good. Grant shares a unique perspective on coaching “A lot of coaches feel that they can outcoach or outthink other coaches. That is just not true. You really can’t outcoach someone else, but you can outpersonnel them…”. Some of Grant’s other insights on coaching also surprised me. For instance, Grant writes that he often said literally nothing to his teams at halftime, believing that people listen more if you wait to speak until you have something important to say. On the other hand, Grant was a firm believer in rules as a way to create discipline and a “team feeling”; to this end, Grant stipulated how his players a) wear their socks and b) were to stand for the national anthem. (He even goes into detail on how he dictated what his players were to wear while standing for the national anthem on a snowy day in Buffalo).


I Did It My Way is enjoyable, but not perfect. While the book loses momentum during Grant’s digressions from football, it is still a good, easy-to-read story.

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Book Review: The Coed Call Girl Murder by Fannie Weinstein and Melinda Wilson

The Coed Call Girl Murder
by Fannie Weinstein & Melinda Wilson
Publisher – St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Copyright 1997
296 pages

Rating - 7/10

Summary - A college student moonlights as a call girl and ends up a murder victim. It sounds like a TV show, but – sadly – it really happened in the Detroit suburbs in 1995. The seemingly-declasse paperback The Coed Call Girl Killer is actually a compelling read.

Review - St. Martin’s wallows at the low end of publishing, issuing many paperback originals that recount true crimes. While the books are of varying quality, some of them are well written. The Coed Call Girl Murder is one of the better St. Martin’s books that I have read.

The Story

In the early 1990s, Tina Biggar was a student at suburban Detroit’s Oakland University. A psychology major, she became interested in studying AIDS awareness among prostitutes. Then, in an unfathomable turn, Tina began working as a call girl. After Tina had been working a few months, a loser named Ken Tranchida became obsessed with Tina and eventually murdered her.

The above paragraph hints at the main frustration that I experienced after reading the book – Tina Biggar’s motives remain unfathomable. While she hinted that she became a prostitute as a way of “paying back” her boyfriend for an affair that he had, I never found her explanation sufficient. I don’t fault the authors for this frustration, but the reader wants to know why Tina followed her self-destructive path.

A Solid Effort

While there is nothing outstanding about Fannie Weinstein and Melinda Wilson’s account of this bizarre case, they can be proud of The Coed Call Girl Killer. It is obvious that they did their “legwork” and spoke with many of the case’s principals. The book offers readers some “eye candy” – eight pages of black-and-white photos on glossy paper. While the photos are well done, I would have liked to have had more of them.

The story is compelling and the pages easily turn from start to finish. Many true crime books lose their momentum when they recount legal proceedings. Weinstein and Wilson solve this problem by focusing on the crime, the backgrounds of Tina Biggar and Ken Tranchida, and the manhunt for Ken. Interestingly the authors do not spare law enforcement; they recount in detail the incompetent police work that allowed Tranchida to stay at large for some time.


While I recommend this book, the authors have a tendency to get in the way of their story with their sometimes-clunky prose. For example, the authors spend many pages recounting conversations. Rather than just writing “Ken said” or “Tina said” they will add their own “spin” to the accounts. They might write “Ken snivelingly whined” or “Tina confidently exclaimed.” This unsubtle editorializing wore on my nerves over 300 pages.

Another quibble is the way that the authors portray the owners of the “escort service” that Tina worked for at the time of her murder. These two women claim that they closed their “business” and spent all of their looking for Tina after she disappeared due their great concern for her welfare. The authors accept this statement at face value. Perhaps the two women were telling the truth, but I have hard time believing in hookers with hearts of gold and I suspect that extends to their madams as well.


I ordered a remaindered copy of this book from Edward R. Hamilton. For some reason, I never got around to reading even though my wife had recommended it to me. I wanted a low-rent book for the holidays and this one fit the bill. The Coed Call Girl Murder won’t change your life, but it’s a solid true-crime story.

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