Last Call by Elon Green examines the mystery of the “Last Call Killer”, who haunted gay bars and killed at least four gay men in the 80’s and 90’s. The author also delves into the lives of the four victims, creating a vivid portrait of the gay community in New York at the the time of the killings.
I found this book to be both fascinating and heartbreaking. A bar called the Townhouse in Midtown New York was the place that the killer frequented and the place that he chose his victims, and the bar became a microcosm of gay life in the 80’s and 90’s. By writing a profile of each victim, Elon Green explores their lives and the social conventions that required them to keep their lives closeted. Because of this and the fear of AIDs at the time of the killings, the crimes were not thoroughly investigated. It was only due to a lucky break and a technology developed in Canada in the early 2000’s that the killer was ever caught.
Elon Green has really done his research and painted a vivid portrait of a supportive community. Due to a lack of evidence, the Last Call Killer was charged and convicted of only two of the murders profiled in this book. It can easily be speculated that he may have killed many others that will never see justice. While it is at times difficult to read, this is an important book that serves to remind us of a time in our not too distant history that should not be forgotten.