Book Review: Finding Amy by Joseph K Loughlin and Kate Clark Flora

Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine
by Joseph K Loughlin and Kate Clark Flora
Copyright 2006
Publisher: Berkley Books
309 pages

Rating: 5.5/10

Summary: Finding Amy details the case of a Maine woman who was murdered in 2001. The book is fairly interesting, but the authors often emphasize the less-compelling aspects of the story.

Review: In October 2001, a 25-year-old woman named Amy St. Laurent disappeared after a night on the town in Portland, Maine. Friends immediately suspected foul play and police became involved. However, in spite of an intensive search, no one could find Amy.

Eventually, police focused on Russ Gorman. Gorman was part of a group of hard-partying young men whom one police officer described as being “like college kids without the brains and the classes. Every night is a party and every day is the time to sleep it off” (p. 215). Police eventually learned that Gorman had a long string of arrests. But still they could not find Amy.

Positives

Finding Amy is an interesting book for several reasons –
– the victim, Amy St. Lauren, was a genuinely good person. The reader wants to see justice done.
– Gorman is very unlikable and the reader cheers for his arrest. The authors detail his dysfunctional family and awful childhood in Delray Beach, Florida, and Troy, Alabama.
– After becoming a suspect, Gorman fled to Alabama which introduced some interesting twists to the story.
– The authors do a good job of using the settings – Maine and Alabama – and bring these places to life with vivid details.
– The reader gets a good idea of how law enforcement searches for missing people – and just how difficult it can be to find someone.

Negatives

While Finding Amy is worth a look, I cannot give it more than a middling review. The authors spend too much time on the wrong details. Loughlin tells readers much more than they will want to know about the day-to-day functioning of police agencies. Also, as with many true crime books, the account of the trial bog downs and helps kill the book’s momentum.

Conclusion

Finding Amy isn’t bad, but there are many better true crime books on the market.

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About mobilemojoman

I have been a Mobile resident for about a decade. Working as a college professor keeps me off the streets and pays the bills. I am married to a woman (the MojoWoman) who is a much better person than I am and we have two beautiful girls who keep us both jumping. My interests are varied - food & drink, sports, politics, exercise, books, travel, Mardi Gras, and all of life's rich pageant. In the future, I'd like to learn more about sailing, photography, Cajun/Creole cooking, making beer and wine, and writing.
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