Last Call is a true crime book, telling about the case of the Last Call Killer. The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s and had many hallmarks of more famous, notorious murders. The author speculates that due to the sexuality of the victims, the AIDS crisis and the high murder rates at the time, these cases were all but forgotten. The author’s goal was to bring them to light, and retell the story of the Last Call Killer.
This book definitely gives detailed information about each victim, with the last few chapters culminating with the history of the killer, who was eventually named and tried for his crimes. Many, MANY details are given, and although it is a short book, (about 250 pages) it gives a lot of information both about the victims lives and the crimes that were committed. It was, initially, information overload. I felt like I was reading about these people with almost no context. It was hard to remember and differentiate characters, until I got a little more used to the style that the author was using. I felt like this retelling of facts about the victims could have been handled a little differently, and could have engaged me more. Although I did enjoy hearing about the victims and their lives, it was a little confusing in the beginning.
By the end of the book, I was far more engaged, and definitely wanted to see who the killer was! It took a long time to get there, but finally the book named a killer (who eventually was prosecuted for the crime). The author definitely took the stance that these crimes were brushed under the rug, so to speak, because of the sexual orientation of the victims. Although that may be true, I also feel that the disorganization of the investigation could have been because of the multi jurisdictional nature of the crimes. Most of the men were taken from New York, but many of the bodies were found in other states and jurisdictions (such as, New Jersey). At the time, the investigators and prosecutors seemed to have difficulty figuring out who should prosecute the case, where the evidence should go and even some difficulty with processing evidence that was collected. I don’t deny that some of the lackadaisical attitude COULD have been because gay men were being murdered, it also probably wasn’t the only reason that it took so long to find and prosecute the Last Call Killer.
Overall, this book was enjoyable, once I got used to the formatting and the style of writing. The first few chapters I felt a little lost, and felt like there may have been a better way to start the book. The ending was solid, and made reading the book worth it. Overall, I gave this book 3 of 5 stars. It was hard to get into, and I felt like the writing style was something that I (personally) didn’t really jive with. If you have a big interest in this killer, or LOVE true crime, this might just be your book!