The Hot One
A gripping memoir of friendship with a tragic twist—two childhood best friends diverge as young adults, one woman is brutally murdered and the other is determined to uncover the truth about her wild and seductive friend.As girls growing up in rural New Jersey in the late 1980s, Ashley and Carolyn had everything in common: two outsiders who loved spending afternoons exploring the woods. Only when the girls attended different high schools did they begin to grow apart. While Carolyn struggled to fit in, Ashley quickly became a hot girl: popular, extroverted, and sexually precocious.After high school, Carolyn entered college in New York City and Ashley ended up in Los Angeles, where she quit school to work as a stripper and an escort, dating actors and older men, and experimenting with drugs. The last time Ashley visited New York, Carolyn was shocked by how the two friends had grown apart. One year later, Ashley was stabbed to death at age twenty-two in her Hollywood home.The man who may have murdered Ashley—an alleged serial killer—now faces trial in Los Angeles. Carolyn Murnick traveled across the country to cover the case and learn more about her magnetic and tragic friend. Part coming-of-age story, part true-crime mystery, The Hot One is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama of a trial and the poignancy of searching for the truth about a friend’s truly horrifying murder.

The Hot One Details

TitleThe Hot One
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN1451625812
ISBN-139781451625813
Number of pages256 pages
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Mystery

The Hot One Review

  • Jennifer
    March 15, 2017
    Sooo if you know me, you know I'm obsessed with true crime. This book totally sounded up my alley. However, it fell a little short for me. The story was intriguing enough, especially having the background of the victim's (Ashley) life as a young adult. But it felt like there was some fluff in there. 3/5.Many thanks to Simon and Schuster/NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Milli (MiracleMilliReads)
    April 27, 2017
    When reading a memoir, I feel like I have to connect with characters and author without having to try. It should be an instant connection just by reading a perfectly written story. Not only did I not feel that way, but I was so disoriented and confused throughout this entire read. I loved the story, the case, and the reasoning for her to go after the details of what really happened to the person she once had the most dearest relationship with. This memoir is about the author and her childhood be When reading a memoir, I feel like I have to connect with characters and author without having to try. It should be an instant connection just by reading a perfectly written story. Not only did I not feel that way, but I was so disoriented and confused throughout this entire read. I loved the story, the case, and the reasoning for her to go after the details of what really happened to the person she once had the most dearest relationship with. This memoir is about the author and her childhood best friend who was murdered. The author continues on trying to figure out the details and reasonings on why this tragic event happened and how. My main concern was that there was barely any details concerning the case, but more about the authors past on being with playboy and irrelevant things. I really wished I knew more about this case and what ever really happened, but I guess maybe in another book or I might have to do research on my own.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCADH...
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  • Castille
    March 28, 2017
    I wanted to love this book-- gritty memoirs are my absolute favorite. Don't get me wrong, I did like it (3 stars = liked it), but it was not quite "there" for me. It seems like Murnick might have been better off waiting a bit longer to publish this, so that the trial had concluded. A major point of the book is how hard it is to accept things that happen, especially when one endures loss and then is expected/forced to move on without receiving closure. However, as it stands, it doesn't feel compr I wanted to love this book-- gritty memoirs are my absolute favorite. Don't get me wrong, I did like it (3 stars = liked it), but it was not quite "there" for me. It seems like Murnick might have been better off waiting a bit longer to publish this, so that the trial had concluded. A major point of the book is how hard it is to accept things that happen, especially when one endures loss and then is expected/forced to move on without receiving closure. However, as it stands, it doesn't feel comprehensive. I also hope that the publisher adds a photo of the author and Ashley before it's printed. After finishing the book, I Google image searched Ashley Ellerin and discovered that there are very few photos of her, and almost all of the queries refer to her as "Ashton Kutcher's murdered girlfriend", not even mentioning her name in the headlines. She was killed by a man and then overshadowed by another. Hopefully this book will help to bring attention to the woman who was murdered, and restore her identity as a whole person whose life was cut too short. I did appreciate Murnick's candidness in admitting the tenuous relationship between the girls, and how death of a loved one does not necessarily translate to a forgetting of the strains and frustrations of real life. Death does not erase that, and Murnick navigated that with honesty and grace.
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  • Karen Germain
    June 12, 2017
    Thank You to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advance copy of Carolyn Murnick's book, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, in exchange for an honest review.PLOT- Carolyn Murnick and Ashley Ellerin were childhood best friends growing up in New Jersey during the 1980's. They were inseparable as children, but when they became adults, their lives went drastically different directions. Murnick moved to New York City and lived in a tiny railroad apartment, while starting Thank You to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advance copy of Carolyn Murnick's book, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, in exchange for an honest review.PLOT- Carolyn Murnick and Ashley Ellerin were childhood best friends growing up in New Jersey during the 1980's. They were inseparable as children, but when they became adults, their lives went drastically different directions. Murnick moved to New York City and lived in a tiny railroad apartment, while starting a career in journalism. Ellerin moved to Los Angeles and lived in a Hollywood Hills home with the money she earned as a stripper. She went to wild parties and dated celebrity Ashton Kutcher. The last time Murnick saw her friend, they struggled to regain their connection. They were still friends, but had clearly drifted apart. A year later, Ellerin would be murdered, stabbed forty-seven times in her Hollywood home. The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, is Murnick's examination of her friendship with Ellerin and her coming to terms with never quite knowing what happened to her best friend. Murnick attends the trial of Michael Gargiulo, the accused murderer, and becomes obsessed with finding out not only why Ellerin was murdered, but who Ellerin had become prior to her death. LIKE - The Hot One is a compelling blend of memoir and true crime. With so much information readily available on the internet, Murnick falls down a rabbit hole when trying to figure out what happened to Ellerin. I found this quest to be highly relatable. I've had my own unsolved life mysteries (none anywhere near as dramatic as a murder!), but issues that no amount of research can resolve, yet ones that are impossible to let go. I felt connected to Murnick's obsession and with the hold it had on her. Even though I lived about fifteen minutes from the murder scene, I don't remember hearing about this case in the news. It's gruesome and horrific. Murnick does not spare details. I think the most chilling part is when Murnick decides to visit the crime scene and she stands across the street from Ellerin's house, in a dog park. Gargiulo had a pitbull that he would take to the dog park and from the dog park, there was the perfect vantage point to spy on Ellerin. Murnick mentions that Gargiulo would have been able to see right into her bathroom. He stalked and hunted her. Other creepy patterns from Garguilo, based on all of his victims, is he liked to pose them and he committed the murders when he had a high chance of being caught, for the thrill. One woman managed to fend him off as he was stabbing her and lived, although she couldn't positively identify him. Garguilo isn't a random attacker either, he was Ellerin's handyman and beyond working at her house, he managed to get himself invited over for social events. Murnick really sets the stage by explaining how she imagined Garguilo hunting Ellerin, waiting for the right moment to strike. It gave me the chills.DISLIKE- Only that the point in which the memoir ends, does not give us resolution with regard to Gargiulo's trial. I suppose this mirrors Murnick's inability to have her own questions answered, but it also makes me wonder if she should have waited to tell this story. It was disappointing to not have this resolution. RECOMMEND- Yes. If you like true crime and memoir, The Hot One is a compelling read. Like my review? Check out my blog!
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  • Janice
    June 23, 2017
    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.This book is more of a memoir to friendship and loss than a crime story, but I enjoyed this book. I had never heard of this murder, but it was interesting to get the personal perspective and not the just the legal/judicial story. This book demonstrates how murders have a very profound effect on families and friends and changes peoples lives forever. It also demonstrates how there are always two sides to every story and how social I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.This book is more of a memoir to friendship and loss than a crime story, but I enjoyed this book. I had never heard of this murder, but it was interesting to get the personal perspective and not the just the legal/judicial story. This book demonstrates how murders have a very profound effect on families and friends and changes peoples lives forever. It also demonstrates how there are always two sides to every story and how social media can change the narrative. This story resonated with me on a personal level as I lost my best friend at age 22 from an accident and had many of the same feelings as the author. I think these books are important as they humanize murder victims and keep their memories alive for families and friends.
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  • Katie Robinson
    March 27, 2017
    This is definitely NOT a true crime tale, more of a memoir about female friendship and grief. If you're looking for a gripping whodunit, this is not for you. But, if you want to give it a chance, it's worth it. I found the perspectives on long (stemming from childhood) female friendship incredibly accurate; she put things into words that I've felt but never expressed. Her grieving process and the way she handles her best friend's murder remind me a little of Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Th This is definitely NOT a true crime tale, more of a memoir about female friendship and grief. If you're looking for a gripping whodunit, this is not for you. But, if you want to give it a chance, it's worth it. I found the perspectives on long (stemming from childhood) female friendship incredibly accurate; she put things into words that I've felt but never expressed. Her grieving process and the way she handles her best friend's murder remind me a little of Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking". I teared up a few times, as things hit close to home. And though I would've enjoyed more details about the murder case and the suspect's subsequent prosecution, if you head into this not expecting too much of that, it is still enjoyable.
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  • Gillian At Home
    May 29, 2017
    "There were many years of that. The feeling where we were always each other's first. Where we were partners and pseudosisters... where we began to be regarded as a unit to our classmates, that it was known that neither of us would go anywhere without the other. There was no need for autonomy, because we had found the one thing we valued more."At first, the story of Carolyn Murnick's relationship with her childhood friend Ashley Ellerin is familiar. Somewhere in our past, many of us have a friend "There were many years of that. The feeling where we were always each other's first. Where we were partners and pseudosisters... where we began to be regarded as a unit to our classmates, that it was known that neither of us would go anywhere without the other. There was no need for autonomy, because we had found the one thing we valued more."At first, the story of Carolyn Murnick's relationship with her childhood friend Ashley Ellerin is familiar. Somewhere in our past, many of us have a friendship like theirs. You grow up at each other's houses, share a kind of secret language, and can't imagine life without each other. If you are lucky, your friendship survives the leap to adulthood, even if distance and time mean your visits are less frequent.Similarly, you may remember a girl who was labelled "the hot one" as Ashley was, who had to shoulder the weight of the male gaze too young, and made choices that put her on a troubled path. If this girl was your best friend, at some point your lives and narratives might have become too different to reconcile. As you make the transition to full-fledged adulthood, you'd lose touch, but every so often you might think of this formative friendship with tenderness and hope that with some time and growing up, you'd find your way back to each other.But what if your friend's life was cut short at 22 before she had the chance to grow up? This is the situation in which Murnick finds herself when Ashley is brutally murdered. The Hot One takes you through the two decades after the murder, as Murnick sorts through complicated grief she faces, attends court proceedings, and seeks to answer the question, "Who killed Ashley, and why?"If you enjoyed Emma Cline's The Girls, you will enjoy this. It explores similar themes of girlhood, the male gaze, and violence. As other reviewers have noted, this is a memoir, not a sensationalized True Crime story. That said, if you've enjoyed the recent wave of highbrow True Crime series and podcasts, you are going to enjoy this book. I was riveted as the case against Ashley's suspected killer started to come together.Above all, I was impressed with Murnick's sensitivity and honesty. She neither exploits her friend nor paints herself as the perfect survivor. As she tries to find her answer - her "finish line" - she reflects on her friendship and society's habit of labeling women as "the hot one" with the adult wisdom she's gained. It takes courage to share a story like this."Somewhere along our twinned paths, however, I began to define myself in relation to her. Involuntary, illogical - it is something I may never stop doing."A special thank you to Simon & Schuster who provided me with an ARC of The Hot One via NetGalley
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  • Valerie
    June 18, 2017
    The Hot One is about two girls, Carolyn and Ashley, who were best friends growing up in New Jersey. Then circumstances of life sent them off in differing directions in their late teens. Carolyn stayed in the East, developing interests and eventually having a career in media and journalism, while Ashley moved back to Los Angeles, California, and kind of drifted into dancing and stripping, escorting, and the fast life. The once daily calls dwindle down to maybe monthly and they develop new friends The Hot One is about two girls, Carolyn and Ashley, who were best friends growing up in New Jersey. Then circumstances of life sent them off in differing directions in their late teens. Carolyn stayed in the East, developing interests and eventually having a career in media and journalism, while Ashley moved back to Los Angeles, California, and kind of drifted into dancing and stripping, escorting, and the fast life. The once daily calls dwindle down to maybe monthly and they develop new friends along with some new and different values in Ashley's case. Then, shockingly, Carolyn finds out that Ashley has been murdered. She makes a promise to herself to find out what happened to her friend.After Carolyn Murnick learned that there was a suspect in custody and that there was to be a hearing and trial, she began checking into it and this book is the result. She flew out to California for all of the hearings and the trial, sharing the experiences and the stories she gathered from others who attended. She also met other people who testified that turned out to be friends of Ashley's from the west coast that rounded out the rest of her west coast story. I really enjoyed this book as a long time fan of true crime. But also from the aspect of the author's personal loss. My thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and the author, for providing me with an ARC for my review.
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  • M. Bagellegstein
    June 29, 2017
    This book is far more nuanced than a straight True Crime whodunit; at its core, it's a study of female friendships, and how childhood girlfriends fundamentally affect each other as they become adults. What happens when your best friend disappears? Who are you when the person you're always measured against...is gone? Murnick deftly explores the details of a brutal murder case, which definitely satisfies the book's True Crime element. But her honest exploration of what it means to be the other hal This book is far more nuanced than a straight True Crime whodunit; at its core, it's a study of female friendships, and how childhood girlfriends fundamentally affect each other as they become adults. What happens when your best friend disappears? Who are you when the person you're always measured against...is gone? Murnick deftly explores the details of a brutal murder case, which definitely satisfies the book's True Crime element. But her honest exploration of what it means to be the other half of a twosome, how being a missing piece can teach you to become a whole, is what fascinated me while reading this memoir. I related so much to the author's journey as she dealt with the loss of her friend—first, because they simply grew apart, and then again when a killer separated them forever. With the permanent loss of her childhood friend, Murnick would never have the chance to find out if they'd be able find their way back to each other, or how that might change her life. Which is, as Murnick readily admits, a selfish focus considering that a woman lost her life. But by brutally peeling back those layers of thought and feeling, by allowing herself to admit to a susceptibility to making the friend's tragedy about herself, Murnick makes herself completely vulnerable to her readers in a way I found absolutely compelling and very relatable.
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  • Kristine
    June 8, 2017
    The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June.The greater plot than that of the trial and investigation of the author's friend, Ashley, is their diametric lives after their close friendship during their early tweens and teens. Where Carolyn is introverted, sheltered, somewhat isolated (even after moving to New York), and recalls nearly everything in terms of could'ves and should'ves, Ashley is ebulent, freeform, fearless, parties hearty, and performs exotic d The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June.The greater plot than that of the trial and investigation of the author's friend, Ashley, is their diametric lives after their close friendship during their early tweens and teens. Where Carolyn is introverted, sheltered, somewhat isolated (even after moving to New York), and recalls nearly everything in terms of could'ves and should'ves, Ashley is ebulent, freeform, fearless, parties hearty, and performs exotic dance.
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  • Liz
    June 16, 2017
    The Hot One started out as a good novel type read. It got bogged down with superfluous details as the book progressed. It is admirable to write a memoir about such a tragic event in one's life. I'm not sure however, if this was the right one for Murnick.ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Simon Schuster (August 1st 2017).
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  • Thomas
    March 22, 2017
    Great read! This book is primarily a memoir, a book about the author's childhood friendship and how it shaped her. It's not a true-crime whodunit, although it contains some of those elements. It's really more about how people form their self-image and identity through friendship -- through comparing and sometimes competing with peers -- and how people deal with the loss of those friendships whether they end because people simply grow apart or, in this case, because of a murder. Beautifully and s Great read! This book is primarily a memoir, a book about the author's childhood friendship and how it shaped her. It's not a true-crime whodunit, although it contains some of those elements. It's really more about how people form their self-image and identity through friendship -- through comparing and sometimes competing with peers -- and how people deal with the loss of those friendships whether they end because people simply grow apart or, in this case, because of a murder. Beautifully and sensitively written.
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  • Lori
    May 20, 2017
    pointed look at the damaging ramifications for girls/women who internalize the pop culture message that being "the hot one" is something to be desired and and measure their self-worth in their sexual attractiveness to others. unfortunately, the rambling writing detracts from the narrative.
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  • Jessica
    July 8, 2017
    It was ok. Started out great but kind of lost interest in it.
  • Rozeltte
    March 8, 2017
    I am not impressed at all. Don't get me wrong, this is a very gripping case. I do feel, however, that the author just drawls on and doesn't get to the point. Giving background information about herself is okay, but I don't see the relevance of speaking about her Playboy moments and her apparent "not romantic love" for her best friend. Her spacing and paragraph structuring could also be better. The author seems to write about multiple different things in the same paragraph. Also, maybe structuri I am not impressed at all. Don't get me wrong, this is a very gripping case. I do feel, however, that the author just drawls on and doesn't get to the point. Giving background information about herself is okay, but I don't see the relevance of speaking about her Playboy moments and her apparent "not romantic love" for her best friend. Her spacing and paragraph structuring could also be better. The author seems to write about multiple different things in the same paragraph. Also, maybe structuring her chapters so that her past memories and the present that the book is set in is clearly defined.
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  • Hillary
    June 15, 2017
    I will start this review by saying that I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.I was really thrilled when I won this book. I had heard such interesting things about it, and the fact that it was about a true story drew me to it even more.It is such a sad and disturbing story and the fact that it is written by someone close to the victim makes it even sadder because you can really see the disturbance and confusion, sadness and hurt that it has brought her.This book is a page turner, and you I will start this review by saying that I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.I was really thrilled when I won this book. I had heard such interesting things about it, and the fact that it was about a true story drew me to it even more.It is such a sad and disturbing story and the fact that it is written by someone close to the victim makes it even sadder because you can really see the disturbance and confusion, sadness and hurt that it has brought her.This book is a page turner, and you will not want to put it down until you figure out exactly what happened and exactly why it happened. However, what you learn while reading this book is that no matter how badly you want answers to certain things, they are not always going to come to you, no matter hard you may try to find them.What I also found extremely interesting about this book is the time span that it had been written in. There are so many time jumps, from the past to 5 years later to 20 years after the beginning and etc. It makes you realize just how important writing this book was for the author because it was not written overnight and it is very intriguing to see just how important the aspect of time plays a part in life and in this specific horrifying story.I would urge everyone who loves mysteries, thrillers and true stories to read this book because it will definitely not disappoint you.
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  • Maudaevee
    April 13, 2017
    This was okay, there was a lot I liked about it and to be fair I received an ARC from a goodreads giveaway so some of what I didn't like could be changed. Overall the story was good, I think many of us have that one friend like Ashley that we were once extremely close to, that we veered away from but still felt attached to. If something tragic happens to that friend, you can't help but question the circumstances that led to it. My main issue with the book was it sometimes got confusing, like she This was okay, there was a lot I liked about it and to be fair I received an ARC from a goodreads giveaway so some of what I didn't like could be changed. Overall the story was good, I think many of us have that one friend like Ashley that we were once extremely close to, that we veered away from but still felt attached to. If something tragic happens to that friend, you can't help but question the circumstances that led to it. My main issue with the book was it sometimes got confusing, like she forgot others were trying to keep up with her internal monologue. she would skip around times and places, not really filling us in on details or catching us up on what was going on. It not only made the story disjointed and disorienting but made me feel no connection to either Carolyn or Ashley and ultimately when I read a memoir that's what I want most is to feel a connection to the story and/or the characters.
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