The Third Rainbow Girl
In the afternoon or early evening of June 25, 1980, two young women, Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero, were killed in an isolated clearing in rural Pocahontas County West Virginia. They were hitchhiking to an outdoor peace festival known as the Rainbow Gathering, but never arrived. Their killings have been called “The Rainbow Murders.”For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted, though suspicion was cast on a succession of local men. In 1993, the state of West Virginia convicted a local farmer named Jacob Beard and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Later, it emerged that a convicted serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin had also confessed. With the passage of time, as the truth behind the Rainbow killings seemed to slip away, its toll on this Appalachian community became more concrete—the unsolved murders were a trauma, experienced on a community scale.Emma Copley Eisenberg spent five years re-investigating these brutal acts, which once captured the national media’s imagination, only to fall into obscurity. A one-time New Yorker who came to live in Pocahontas Country, Eisenberg shows how that crime, a mysterious act of violence against a pair of middle-class outsiders, came to loom over several generations of struggling Appalachians, many of themlaborers who earned a living farming, hauling timber, cutting locust posts, or baling hay—and the investigators and lawyers for whom the case became a white whale.Part “Serial”-like investigation, part Joan Didion-like meditation, the book follows the threads of this crime through the history of West Virginia, the Back-to-the-Land movement, and the complex reality contemporary Appalachia, forming a searing portrait of America and its divisions of gender and class, and its violence.

The Third Rainbow Girl Details

TitleThe Third Rainbow Girl
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316449236
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Mystery, Autobiography, Memoir

The Third Rainbow Girl Review

  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    First and foremost, this book does not belong in the true crime genre. Lately I've seen publishers publicizing and categorizing their books in the most puzzling ways and this one takes the prize. To compare "The Third Rainbow Girl" to "In Cold Blood" makes as much sense as comparing a forest to a dust bunny.It opens with a numbered prologue called "True Things," which gives away all the facts of the crime and other Things. None of what follows is a spoiler because all of it is there at the First and foremost, this book does not belong in the true crime genre. Lately I've seen publishers publicizing and categorizing their books in the most puzzling ways and this one takes the prize. To compare "The Third Rainbow Girl" to "In Cold Blood" makes as much sense as comparing a forest to a dust bunny.It opens with a numbered prologue called "True Things," which gives away all the facts of the crime and other Things. None of what follows is a spoiler because all of it is there at the beginning. "The Third Rainbow Girl" reads like four different boring magazine articles plus Eisenberg's journal pages and reminiscences, cut and pasted together in a way that doesn't flow or, ultimately, cohere.1. There's the murder victims, who are the least of the book. In 1980 three girls were hitchhiking cross-country to a "Rainbow Festival" that was being held in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Two were found shot to death, not sexually assaulted, their backpacks dumped elsewhere. The third girl learned they were dead and she was being searched for so she called police to say she changed her plans, didn't go and was alive.2: There are the suspects, the witnesses, the police and lawyers the man who was convicted and his two trials, and the small mountain community, all of whom would be more interesting to read about --3. -- had the real killer not confessed and not been believed before the convicted man was even tried. We're told who the real killer was in the very beginning, an odd choice.4: There is the history and culture and people of Pocahontas County in West Virginia, in Appalachia, which could have been interesting but is unfocused and either too broad or too specific because the biggest problem here is --5: This is mostly an autobiography and what the author recounts about herself in great detail is often not interesting and seems irrelevant.Eisenberg writes mostly about Eisenberg, which seems to be the point. She goes into detail ad nauseam about her work with the Vista Program in Pocahontas County and her return there as an employee, her living arrangements, social life and friends. And through it all she quotes Adrienne Rich, other poets, sociologists, psychologists and historians (I wasn't always sure who is what since there are no citations) that have more to do with her than the murders and the fallout in the mountain community, because she cannot look away from herself.And there's the way she writes about her sexuality. She's gay, which the victims were not and which had me Questioning what it's doing in this book and why she writes in depth about it when she knows all along she's gay and spends many pages on her relationship with a local man, even describing her naked body as she lay next to him after sex. This not a coming out story or a murder story or the story of a mountain community; it's a jumble of information that never coheres.If these were five separate pieces I wouldn't enjoy any of them. Having them woven into a rambling, pseudo-intellectual narrative made it hard for me to finish but I did finish because it's a review copy. For all the writing she does about herself, I don't even feel I know the author at all except that she's gay, has spent time in Pocahontas County and seems to have guilt about her privileged background and education. That the titular "Third Rainbow Girl" is treated as either an afterthought or a metaphor or both -- I couldn't tell -- threw me again, since we're told at the beginning in "True Things" that she didn't die. It's not clear why Eisenberg ends the book with her, and this woman too is just another vague character sketch, a woman who changed her mind and went somewhere else. If you're looking at this for your next book, I suggest you do the same.
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  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    This unusual blend of true crime and memoir is rather quirky and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. There are places it felt a bit sideswiped to me, then I’d go back to enjoying it once again. The true crime parts were good, as was the history of the state and the research. The two women, Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were headed to a Rainbow Gathering festival in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, near the Virginia border. They never made it, having been murdered in a clearing This unusual blend of true crime and memoir is rather quirky and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. There are places it felt a bit sideswiped to me, then I’d go back to enjoying it once again. The true crime parts were good, as was the history of the state and the research. The two women, Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were headed to a Rainbow Gathering festival in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, near the Virginia border. They never made it, having been murdered in a clearing that was mostly known just to locals, as it was not that easy to find. So suspicion fell on it being a local person. There was also a third girl traveling with them named Liz who survived but seemed to have disappeared.Despite investigation and much speculation, the case went cold for a long time. It stayed fresh in many people’s minds though. Tips and breaks do happen at times later though, so some keep hope. Someone must know something. A good true crime book/memoir for those who like them, with some mystery and history. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Emma Copley Eisenberg, and the publisher.First published on my WordPress blog viewable here:https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you @Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.**It pains me to say this but this is the first book I DNF in a very, very long time. Shortly after starting this book yesterday I didn't think it will be for me; however I figured I would give it the good old try and see if I would like it a little later on.I was at 25% before I completely gave up on trying to force the read. I was looking for this book to be about the murder of 2 girls in Pocahontas Thank you @Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.**It pains me to say this but this is the first book I DNF in a very, very long time. Shortly after starting this book yesterday I didn't think it will be for me; however I figured I would give it the good old try and see if I would like it a little later on.I was at 25% before I completely gave up on trying to force the read. I was looking for this book to be about the murder of 2 girls in Pocahontas County, and while it did briefly touch on this subject during the first 1/4 of this book it wasn't enough to get me hooked. A large portion of what I read seemed to be more the authors personal stay and her history is West Virginia, than about the actual murders themselves.
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  • Jessica Jeffers
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read a lot of true crime but I picked this up because I spent many summers in Pocahontas County when I was a teenager and my father moved to Hillsboro upon retiring in 2005. It's a place that holds a weird soft spot in my heart and I always appreciate whenever an empathetic light is shined on Appalachia.Imagine my surprise to read the first chapter, in which Eisenberg describes the discovery of two bodies in the summer of 1980....and it's in a field just off the same damn road where my I don't read a lot of true crime but I picked this up because I spent many summers in Pocahontas County when I was a teenager and my father moved to Hillsboro upon retiring in 2005. It's a place that holds a weird soft spot in my heart and I always appreciate whenever an empathetic light is shined on Appalachia.Imagine my surprise to read the first chapter, in which Eisenberg describes the discovery of two bodies in the summer of 1980....and it's in a field just off the same damn road where my father lives. WHAT?
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsIn the summer of 1980, an outdoor peace festival called the Rainbow Gathering was held in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero hitched a ride across the country for the event but never made it to the gathering. At some point on June 25, 1980 the two women were murdered and left in an isolated clearing where they were discovered by a local man late in the evening.The killings became known as "The Rainbow Murders" and police believed the killer had to be 2.5 starsIn the summer of 1980, an outdoor peace festival called the Rainbow Gathering was held in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero hitched a ride across the country for the event but never made it to the gathering.  At some point on June 25, 1980 the two women were murdered and left in an isolated clearing where they were discovered by a local man late in the evening.The killings became known as "The Rainbow Murders" and police believed the killer had to be local due to the location of the bodies.  Suspicion was focused on a group of men thought to be in the area of the park on June 25 where the Rainbow Gathering was being held.  After thirteen years, the state of West Virginia convicted local farmer Jacob Beard and sentenced him to life.Eventually, it emerged that the convicted serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin had already confessed to murdering Durian and Santomero but the prosecution didn't believe the confession fit what they knew to be true about the case.  The doubt that Franklin's confession created gave Beard a second trial and raised questions when the men who had been suspected of involvement once again testified.Author Emma Copley Eisenberg grew up far from West Virginia but found herself working in the state to help young girls find a brighter future than the statistics they were given.  During her time in Pocahontas County, Eisenberg felt a bond to the land and its residents.  She learned about the Rainbow Murders and spent five years looking into the crime and her efforts are published here in The Third Rainbow Girl --- part memoir, part true crime.This book leaves me scratching my head. It lacks focus, alternating between Eisenberg's wax-poetic memoir of the bond she feels to the town and its people then switching to the history of the land before jumping around with introductions to key players in the trial.I still don't understand Eisenberg's reasoning for combining her memoir with the story of the Rainbow Murders, even after she tries to explain it as buying back a debt to the county and because she cares about the two women who died and the nine local men who suffered for it.There is no new information on the case in here and few people involved were willing to participate in interviews with the author.  The focus on the case is mostly dialogue from court transcripts/police interviews and facts collected from news articles.  Eisenberg highlights the inconsistencies in the stories told by the nine men and eventually meets with Jacob Beard and also a victim of Joseph Paul Franklin, but only to rehash details.While the case is certainly fascinating, I don't feel enough time was actually spent discussing it.  The case simply became filler; overshadowed by the memoir which romanticizes West Viriginia so much it becomes the main character.I don't know whether to call this a true crime novel or memoir but both stories left me disappointed with the overall lack of focus.Thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long History of a Double Murder in Appalachia is scheduled for release on January 21, 2020.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    2 starsTruly the strangest true crime book I have ever read. The author takes the reader on a long,rambling and at times bizarre trail of words. This book could have easily been cut in half. I wanted to know the story of the girls, their lives and the murder and not all the extra stuff jammed into the book for no real reason.I cannot recommend this book.I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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  • Matt Jones
    January 1, 1970
    I think what I enjoyed most about this book is that it seems to subvert, or in some way, complicate the true crime genre. Referring to The Third Rainbow Girl as true crime feels like too narrow of a description. Instead, what Eisenberg has given readers is something that feels messy, but in a carefully crafted and curated way, messy in the way that ideas of violence and truth and intimacy often are. This book is about a particular crime, but it is also about much more. It is about the landscape I think what I enjoyed most about this book is that it seems to subvert, or in some way, complicate the true crime genre. Referring to The Third Rainbow Girl as true crime feels like too narrow of a description. Instead, what Eisenberg has given readers is something that feels messy, but in a carefully crafted and curated way, messy in the way that ideas of violence and truth and intimacy often are. This book is about a particular crime, but it is also about much more. It is about the landscape of memory and the inheritance of pain and the complexities of love. Every page feels like it was crafted with great care. That is perhaps what I admire so much about this book: the care the author took in approaching every one of her subjects. You can feel that kind of care on the sentence level. It's painstaking, and the end result is beautiful.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    This book I didn’t like. I wanted to like it, but it was everywhere. First, the murders would be talked about, then the author would talk about herself, then it would go back in the past, then the future. I just couldn’t make any sense from it. I am thoroughly disappointed.
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  • Noorilhuda
    January 1, 1970
    What a shoddy piece of investigation and prosecution. Alkire, Dale, Weiford all come across as amateur, childish idiots. It's unbelievable how Jacob Beard got convicted the first time considering the level, quality and nature of 'evidence' against him, even if he was actually guilty. And it isn't a stretch that much less has been used to convict black men for similar crimes.The author is sensitive and articulate and comes to the project with a very definite view point, though she is no What a shoddy piece of investigation and prosecution. Alkire, Dale, Weiford all come across as amateur, childish idiots. It's unbelievable how Jacob Beard got convicted the first time considering the level, quality and nature of 'evidence' against him, even if he was actually guilty. And it isn't a stretch that much less has been used to convict black men for similar crimes.The author is sensitive and articulate and comes to the project with a very definite view point, though she is no researcher and has limited interviewing skills. Depiction of her life story, sex life and suicidal thoughts were, in my view, unnecessary. But whatever. There is something missing in the book: the basic detail is all here, the twists and turns and who said what when to whom and under what conditions and how unreliable they are as 'relevant necessary people.' But it looks like most of the data was collected from archive, documentaries, news reports and not much actual interviewing was done with the actual key people (or their lawyers, friends, families, area.) It all comes across as retrieved, second-hand data. The reaction of the families of the murdered women is also perfunctory and probably sourced from newspapers which reported at the time of the first trial (their attendance or reaction to the second trial is not given.) West Virginia is a character in this true crime story, its history is here, but not so much in terms of 70s, 80s, 90s era as to what life was like for Pocahontas residents beyond weather conditions. No mention of how economy was running in these areas, though historic extractive practices with timber and coal are mentioned, but nothing current. There are zero images of all key players / significant participants / accused (except archive images of three: Beard, Alkire and Weiford). Crime scene photogs are missing as well as the map of the place (though it is mentioned in credits) and pictures of all the key spots the murdered women were supposed to have traveled to / died in, should have been added / retrieved (as well as the Rainbow Gathering that left in a week's time) and the houses / work place locations of all the accused (since they are a huge part of the story and their alibis and their lives.) and where / how they lived would've helped in getting a sense of who they were as people. There are 2 solitary pictures of the murdered women, none of their family, none of them with family or at their work stations (or at least in the case of Vicki, at her crowded makeshift house.) There is no picture of even the serial killer (though his drawn map is.)But thanks to the publisher for the ARC. I read it, shaking my head at every second incredible line of things that were done in the name of investigation and 'evidence' and how drunk or doped or both everyone was to remember anything for long or for sure. Memorable Quotes / Passages: If I am missing in any sense, it is a missingness I created for myself in order to be free. - Dawn Lundy Martinreporter - that troubled and troubling term - Misogny is in the groundwater of every American city and every American town, but for me, it was done here.In America, protecting or avenging white women from a violation of their safety or sexual autonomy has been used to justify the unlawful incaceration of men - particularly poor men and men of color.White men accounted for nearly 80% of suicide deaths in 2017, and men in West Virginia are committing suicides at a rate almost 3 times the national average (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)But for those who had left England seeking opportunity in the New World - the poor, the criminal and the dienfranchised - many found that these opportunities were not forthcoming in Virginia. A powerful class-stratification system had quickly been established, a scramble for power that left some one top but most out in the cold. Those who had come with slightly more resources and ties to the upper classes back in London rushed to expand their claims over those who had fewer. By 1770, less than 10% of white colonists owned over half the land of Virginia.I don’t know what I am, but whatever it is, you can’t have me. - Irene McKinneyAt my liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia, I destroyed every God - religion, literature, politics, feminism, art - with my self-important words, dismissing each as problematic and essentially worthless. I dismantled every system to make a new world, but then I had to live in it.There may be no stronger bond than the one between two people who fundamentally do not agree about what happened in their story.(Both said Jacob Beard shot the two girls.) (Johnnie) Lewis’ statement also said that he was with Gerald Brown, Arnold Cutlip, Bill McCoy and Ritchie Fowler, but it does not say (Winter) Walton was there - nor did Walton’s statement say that Lewis was there. Could there have been other people present when the two girls were killed that Lewis didn’t see? “Could have been.”“A renewed investigation of the case led this week to the arrest of seven men in four states.” - NYT, April 19, 1992 The hick monster story has deep roots in the history of West Virginia and is wound around the story of American industrialization and capitalism. Before you can dispossess a people from their own land, you must first make them not people.The articles wove a narrative of drunken backwood hicks and sexy hippie women, of two profoundly separate value systems that had touched because of the Rainbow Gathering, then wished they hadn’t. “Local sentiment was that hillbillies killed a pair of hippies as an expression of anger over Rainbow Gathering”These outlets also told the story that Pocahontas County was home to both “rugged physical beauty and a few rugged people” that were capable of “backwoods intrigue.” The place was rural and it was scary, they made clear.“The bodies turned up near the driveway to Arnold Cutlip’s home, an address so remote the television was powered by batteries.” - newspaper coverageFurthermore, a great deal was made in 1992 media coverage of the fact that Vicki and Nancy were not especially pretty.Missing or murdered girl must be middle class or higher, and white, and must be attractive, also non-negotiable, to get the ‘full damsel treatment’ of an obsessive nation (a man and a woman of color never get it) — Eugene Robinson, Washington Post“The heart of trump country”“They were definitely not the type of women I’d want to have sex with. They weren’t the slimmest, trimmest little things.” - Jacob Beard, St. Petersburg Times, 1992Yet the story that gender and thus sexuality had played an essential role in their deaths - a flavor in the groundwater we assume we taste whenever a woman is killed - had already solidified.This is a witchhunt, Robert Allen told Beard. Pure and Simple.Would Walton be willing to be hypnotized to help him remember things? He would. He remembered. Summoned one final time for questioning without his lawyer present, Lewis again said he had seen Jacob Beard shoot Vicki and Nancy….. (Beard, Fowler, Brown, McCoy, and Cutlip got charged again.) Walton and Lewis were both granted immunity for their testimony.“It’s called a cafe’ coronary,” the medical examiner in Charleston said when they got his (McCoy’s) body. “People trying to eat, get choked on something, have a heart attack and die. Happens all the time.”James Clayton Vaughn / Joseph Paul Franklin, 1984 (who claimed to have killed the two women because they were ‘communist, race mixers, they should be wasted, so wasted them.’)“He (Alkire) kept saying ‘It doesn’t fit with what we know to be true’. He kept saying, ‘The killer has to be local.’” - Deborah DiFalco ‘Illusion of memory“Re-trial, 2000: McCoy finally gave Weiford the statement prosecution had long been seeking - that he was there in the blue van when he, Fowler, and Walton had picked up Vicki and Nancy and driven them to the mountain, and that he’d seen Fowler cleaning the inside of the van later that night and noted bullet holes in its side. “Did you see Jacob Beard?” Farmer asked. “Don’t know. Don’t think so,” McCoy said. “Did you see these girls?” “Definitely not.” (!) McCoy had gotten addicted to heroin in prison and was hallucinating and vomiting from the withdrawal symptoms. He agreed to testify on condition Alkire would get him in a methadone program. He took the information in his testimony from the information Weiford and Alkire provided him. (!)Then I told him (Pee wee Walton) that I knew the truth was more complicated than what had been reported and that I suspected he had been caught in the middle of two versions of events, neither of which were exactly true. I told him that so much time had passed and no one could be prosecuted anymore, and was there anything he could tell me, anything he wanted to say? “No” - and the line went dead.He said, “I know what happened to that third girl.” I said, “Jake (Jacob) there is no third girl.”“I thought there were less holes in the Franklin’s stuff than in the Jacob Beard stuff.” - Corporal Michael Jordan, West Virginia State Police (testified for defense) worked under Alkire in major crimes division but handled drug cases mostly.In June 2016, southern and central west Virginia were hit by a rainstorm that quickly became a catastrophic flood that killed twenty-three people and destroyed homes, schools, infrastructure and businesses, and left 500,000 U.S. citizens without power. The event barely registered in the national media, and it took bureaucratic channels two years to release the funds that would drastically imporve the lives of survivors and repair the damage.“Hitchhiking was a little like sloppy Budhism. We were putting our faith in humanity.” - Liz Johndrow, the third Rainbow Girl (currently director of a non-profit.)
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  • Sally Lindsay-briggs
    January 1, 1970
    This was a Goodreads gift that was well researched by the author. It included many details of the location, the history of the area in West Virginia and the Rainbow people, their people and habits. The focus of the story was the two young women that were murdered. We learned an extreme amount of minutae about all the accused men, the two trials, the defense, the prosecution, the later interviews and more than we really wanted to know and cared about the author, her boyfriends and teaching in This was a Goodreads gift that was well researched by the author. It included many details of the location, the history of the area in West Virginia and the Rainbow people, their people and habits. The focus of the story was the two young women that were murdered. We learned an extreme amount of minutae about all the accused men, the two trials, the defense, the prosecution, the later interviews and more than we really wanted to know and cared about the author, her boyfriends and teaching in Pocahontas County. This novel was far too verbose and lacked suspense. There was some mention of the third Rainbow girl, but not much, considering the title. It did not even really have a true climax at the end.
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  • Mallory (onmalsshelf) Bartel
    January 1, 1970
    2 stars. Thank you NetGalley, Hachette Books, and Libro.fm for the Galley and ALC in exchange for an honest review. Note: The author identifies as queer and I am not sure of their correct pronouns, so I will be using they/their.Synopsis wise, I will be sharing what the true crime portion of the book is about:June 25, 1980, Pocahontas County, West Virginia: Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were found shot in an isolated clearing. The two women had been hitchhiking together from Arizona 2 stars. Thank you NetGalley, Hachette Books, and Libro.fm for the Galley and ALC in exchange for an honest review. Note: The author identifies as queer and I am not sure of their correct pronouns, so I will be using they/their.Synopsis wise, I will be sharing what the true crime portion of the book is about:June 25, 1980, Pocahontas County, West Virginia: Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were found shot in an isolated clearing. The two women had been hitchhiking together from Arizona to West Virginia to get to the Rainbow Gathering (a counterculture gathering) in the area and had last been seen alive in Richmond. Immediately suspicion was thrown onto local men because no one from out of town would know the isolated field. Multiple men were arrested during the investigation of the slayings, and eventually one man was convicted. However, when a convicted serial killer confesses to the murder, the conviction of Jacob Beard is called into question. The author tells you from the beginning who is currently in jail for the murders. I'll let you read to find out who. First and foremost: this is not a true crime book and should not be characterized as such.It's more of a hybrid of a memoir and true crime book where the author uses their personal life in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to say why they had the right to write a book on the Rainbow murders. It was about 1/3 facts on the Rainbow murders and 2/3 a memoir on their life of moving from New York to West Virginia to work for VISTA after graduating college. What I liked about The Third Rainbow Girl: The author went into the misuse of power by the cops and the prosecution misconduct that went into the wrongful conviction in the murder of Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, when they were on their way to the Rainbow Gathering in the area. What my rating boils down to: I was expecting a true crime book on two murders that I haven't read or heard much about, but instead I got a memoir of reasoning as to why she looked into the murders after living in West Virginia. Trigger Warnings: Gang rape, murder, drug use, sexual assault, animal abuse, unexpected pregnancy
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    In Rainbow Girls we have the sense of urgency and the sense of a killer getting away with murder.The details and history are very cut and dry but each road leads to another clear and compelling piece of the puzzle.Sadly this was the 80's and the DNA testing and evidence was not like it is today.The fact that all evidence pointed to one man named Beard and later it was uncovered that perhaps he wasn't the killer forcing new evidence to come forward and looking into another suspect was quite In Rainbow Girls we have the sense of urgency and the sense of a killer getting away with murder.The details and history are very cut and dry but each road leads to another clear and compelling piece of the puzzle.Sadly this was the 80's and the DNA testing and evidence was not like it is today.The fact that all evidence pointed to one man named Beard and later it was uncovered that perhaps he wasn't the killer forcing new evidence to come forward and looking into another suspect was quite interesting.For me there was simply too much detail in terms of location and not enough in terms of actual happenings.However, you may feel differently so take a chance on this one as it's quite the unusual read.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    The Third Rainbow Girl: The long life of a double murder in the Appalachia by Emma Copley EisenbergJanuary 21, 2020Hachette BooksTrue crime, nonfiction Rating: 3/5I received a digital ARC copy of this book from NetGalley and Hachette Books in exchange for an unbiased review.This book is more of a memoir than a true crime story. On June 25, 1980, Vicki Durian (26) from Iowa working as a HHA and Nancy Santomero (19) dropped out of a NY college to work in a Tucson thrift shop were murdered in The Third Rainbow Girl: The long life of a double murder in the Appalachia by Emma Copley EisenbergJanuary 21, 2020Hachette BooksTrue crime, nonfiction Rating: 3/5I received a digital ARC copy of this book from NetGalley and Hachette Books in exchange for an unbiased review.This book is more of a memoir than a true crime story. On June 25, 1980, Vicki Durian (26) from Iowa working as a HHA and Nancy Santomero (19) dropped out of a NY college to work in a Tucson thrift shop were murdered in southeastern West Virginia. They died in Pocahontas County where they hitchhiked to attend the Rainbow Gathering peace festival. It was during the author’s experience living and working for almost 1-1/2 years in Pocahontas County that she developed an interest in this cold case. Likewise, she had spent many summers there as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) to help alleviate poverty by empowering teenage girls to pursue their education. She states that her 5 years of research spanned over 7 states. With that in mind, this is not a true crime novel in traditional sense, far from it. By the end of the book it is noted that was the author’s intention. She wanted to record her memories in West Virginia as well as the unsolved murders which occurred there. She felt deeply moved and sought to interview many of the people who lived through the terrible ordeal. There were many trials and accusations many about 7 local men who were considered disorderly drinkers. There was plenty of speculation regarding the police and politics of the handling of the situation. Honestly, I was expecting a rather traditional true crime novel and felt confused and deflated at times. Although the two stories, that of the author and the cold case, are interesting it wasn’t my cup of tea. The story reads as unconventional as the author describes herself. In the end I had to wonder about the title, The Third Rainbow Girl. It is only at the end that focus is given to Elizabeth Johndrow who was considered the “third rainbow girl” who survived because she left to return home before the group reached their destination. The author relates so well with the characters and setting that she could be considered the third rainbow girl. Although she lived and worked in Pocahontas County many years after the crimes were committed, her experiences entwined with the history feels almost akin to her bearing witness to the events.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    I am a fan of true crime stories. I find them fascinating. What makes them so is not so much the crime but the motive as to why. Reading a true crime novel gives you glimpses into the mid of the killer or killers. I found this factor to be a "weak" point with this book. It is broken into sections. The first section does showcase the murder of Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero. After that it kind of deviates to the author and her connection to West Virginia. Which I did not mind at first but after I am a fan of true crime stories. I find them fascinating. What makes them so is not so much the crime but the motive as to why. Reading a true crime novel gives you glimpses into the mid of the killer or killers. I found this factor to be a "weak" point with this book. It is broken into sections. The first section does showcase the murder of Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero. After that it kind of deviates to the author and her connection to West Virginia. Which I did not mind at first but after a while, I lost interest. It felt like these facts did not make sense in enhancing the crimes. Which was supposed to be the focal point of this book. After this, I did lose my interest in this book.
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  • Genevieve Trono
    January 1, 1970
    While I love a memoir and investigation into a person or area, I think my expectations for this to be more of a true-crime deep dive made this book disappointing for me as the reader. This may just have been one of those situations where I thought this would be a different kind of book based on the book summary. I struggled to engage with the content because I was really wishing I could get more information about the actual events related to these cases. I have recently enjoyed some of the books While I love a memoir and investigation into a person or area, I think my expectations for this to be more of a true-crime deep dive made this book disappointing for me as the reader. This may just have been one of those situations where I thought this would be a different kind of book based on the book summary. I struggled to engage with the content because I was really wishing I could get more information about the actual events related to these cases. I have recently enjoyed some of the books that portray life in Appalachia that were quite compelling but this one just felt hard to engage with. The Third Rainbow Girl ended up being such a slow read for me and it just didn't hold my interest. While there was some relevant information a lot of it just seemed unnecessary and way too drawn out. Thank you to NetGalley, LibroFM and Hachette books for advanced copies. All opinions are my own.
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  • Salt
    January 1, 1970
    This book felt gross to me, the author uses tragedy and violence against women to push a memoir.Other than that, it was an okay read. I grew up in rural Kentucky and found it interesting to read about rural Appalachia from an outsider's perspective.
  • Crystal Zavala
    January 1, 1970
    At 20% I decided not to finish this book. This book really isn't true crime. It is more of a combination of memoir/history of Appalachia that slightly touches on the murder of the Rainbow Girls. The comparison of "In Cold Blood" is wholly inaccurate. I almost decided to DNF at 10% because I was listening to the audiobook and the author, who is narrating, was too bland for me. I decided to keep going in order to see if the story would be more interesting and I thought I might possibly switch to a At 20% I decided not to finish this book. This book really isn't true crime. It is more of a combination of memoir/history of Appalachia that slightly touches on the murder of the Rainbow Girls. The comparison of "In Cold Blood" is wholly inaccurate. I almost decided to DNF at 10% because I was listening to the audiobook and the author, who is narrating, was too bland for me. I decided to keep going in order to see if the story would be more interesting and I thought I might possibly switch to a physical copy. Unfortunately, I became less and less interested.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't get through this book. There was too much background information about the author's life and the surrounding area. I just wanted to read some true crime!
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I love the true crime genre and was excited to read this book. I did not know much about the story and was excited to learn more. Instead of reading like a true crime novel this was more like a history book/memoir. I do enjoy history and I like interesting memoirs but this book did not work for me. There are a lot of details about the history of the area which this crime took place. Unfortunately it was just too much history I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I love the true crime genre and was excited to read this book. I did not know much about the story and was excited to learn more. Instead of reading like a true crime novel this was more like a history book/memoir. I do enjoy history and I like interesting memoirs but this book did not work for me. There are a lot of details about the history of the area which this crime took place. Unfortunately it was just too much history and dry information and not enough of the actual story this book is supposed to be about. There was also a lot of information about the author and how she came to know about Appalachia. I did not find that interesting either. I think this would have worked better if it started out with more about the crime and then backtracked into the history/memoir aspects if that would add to the story. I stopped reading when the novel was not keeping me engaged. Disappointing book.
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  • Vick
    January 1, 1970
    I saw recommendations for this book based off the LGBT factor. I was pretty disappointed- it doesn't read as a "queer" novel but reinforces and validates gross stereotypes about country life. It was painful to finish. I think the book tried to straddle true crime and memoir when it would have been more successful to pick one.
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  • Jack
    January 1, 1970
    Self indulgent and unfocused at best, predatory at worst. DNF
  • Alison Hardtmann
    January 1, 1970
    In 1980, a festival called the Rainbow Gathering was held in a National Park deep in West Virginia's Pocahontas county. Attended by hippies and free spirits, some of the local residents were not pleased with the influx of outsiders. Then two young women on their way to the Gathering were found murdered not far from their destination. The local police quickly reach the conclusion that the murderer was a local, but who the culprit was, in an isolated part of the country where most people know each In 1980, a festival called the Rainbow Gathering was held in a National Park deep in West Virginia's Pocahontas county. Attended by hippies and free spirits, some of the local residents were not pleased with the influx of outsiders. Then two young women on their way to the Gathering were found murdered not far from their destination. The local police quickly reach the conclusion that the murderer was a local, but who the culprit was, in an isolated part of the country where most people know each other and many are related, is no small task. Emma Copley Eisenberg lived in Pocahontas county after finishing university. She was employed by a camp working to improve educational outcomes among local girls and she found the work both inspiring and frustrating. At the same time, her own life was spinning out of control, even as she fell in love with the people and the landscape of West Virginia.This work is that odd hybrid of true crime and personal memoir, a new format that includes books like The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin. It's an odd mix of an intensely personal account of the years the author lived in West Virgina, where her behavior grew uncontrolled and then dangerous, until she moved back to the safety of a big city, and an impersonal account of a true crime. The depth of the one is not met by depth on the account she writes of the double murder, so there's the feeling of reading two different books sandwiched together. The true crime account is hampered by the large cast of characters, who all presented conflicting accounts of what happened and the identity of the likely actual murderer. Eisenberg isn't able to create a cohesive narrative out of the sheer amount of information she has to work with, and all her character studies remain frustratingly superficial. One is left with the feeling that the author would have been better served by writing a long article about the crime and saving her personal story for a later time. The writing was solid and once Eisenberg finds her subject matter, she's certain to write something well worth reading.
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  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    A true crime story and part memoir. The accounts of two girls that were murdered on their way to attend a Rainbow Gathering. The author goes into the history of rural West Virginia. The events surrounding the murder known as The Rainbow Murders and the evidence and trial. It also shows the lasting effects of the murder on a town and it's people. The author goes into details about her own life that made me feel like I was reading two different things at times. I read the ebook and there were no A true crime story and part memoir. The accounts of two girls that were murdered on their way to attend a Rainbow Gathering. The author goes into the history of rural West Virginia. The events surrounding the murder known as The Rainbow Murders and the evidence and trial. It also shows the lasting effects of the murder on a town and it's people. The author goes into details about her own life that made me feel like I was reading two different things at times. I read the ebook and there were no photos which seems odd to me. All in all it was a good read and I have never heard of The Rainbow Murders so I also looked it up and read more about it.Dawnny-BookGypsy Novels N LatteHudson Valley NY
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  • Ashleigh
    January 1, 1970
    The Third Rainbow Girl is classified as a true crime, one of my favorite genres to read. Surprisingly enough if you love true crime I wouldn't recommend this one too you. Although there book is based in West Virginia where the double murder in Appalachia took place I found this book to read more of a historical memoir. There is a lot of information from the time that the author Emma was living in pocahontas county in west Virginia, and b what ultimately led her to learn about the crime. I also The Third Rainbow Girl is classified as a true crime, one of my favorite genres to read. Surprisingly enough if you love true crime I wouldn't recommend this one too you. Although there book is based in West Virginia where the double murder in Appalachia took place I found this book to read more of a historical memoir. There is a lot of information from the time that the author Emma was living in pocahontas county in west Virginia, and b what ultimately led her to learn about the crime. I also found it to contain a lot of historical information on West Virginia and how it came to be west Virginia, which I hadn't been expecting to find in a true crime.What I did enjoy was the extensive research that was put into the book and the sections the book was divided into. This book still leaves you with sadness for the families of the victims because they never get their answers to lead to closure. Much like the case you are left to draw your own conclusions weather you think Jacob Beard got away with murdering Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero or was Jacob Franklin, truly the guilty man when he was put to death in 2013?Thank you to hachette books for sending me a copy
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars!Honest,descriptive, and informative!The Third Rainbow Girlis the candid, compelling story detailing the senseless murder of two young women in the woods of West Virginia during the summer of 1980, the subsequent, complex, frustrating, neverending battle for justice, and the author's own thoughts and experiences of spending time in the area.The writing is educative and direct.And the novel is a well researched, sincere tale of a crime with no quick, straightforward conclusion and one 3.5 Stars!Honest, descriptive, and informative!The Third Rainbow Girl is the candid, compelling story detailing the senseless murder of two young women in the woods of West Virginia during the summer of 1980, the subsequent, complex, frustrating, neverending battle for justice, and the author's own thoughts and experiences of spending time in the area.The writing is educative and direct.  And the novel is a well researched, sincere tale of a crime with no quick, straightforward conclusion and one woman’s personal struggle to discover a self-identity, contentment, and a sense of purpose.The Third Rainbow Girl is, ultimately, part memoir, part true crime that includes valuable, insightful data into a state plagued by inequality and low socioeconomic status and a murder investigation riddled with inconsistent statements, retracted confessions, and little to no concrete evidence.Thank you to HBG Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Laura (crofteereader)
    January 1, 1970
    This is the kind of book that encourages discussion. While I was reading it, I was both fascinated and horrified by the state of my neighboring state of West Virginia. I loved the parallels that Eisenberg drew between her experiences and the murders 30 years earlier. The circumstances are so different but the toxicity of life in rural West Virginia remained. Watching the way neighbors and even family turned against each other in the wake of tragedy was astounding to me.I listened to the This is the kind of book that encourages discussion. While I was reading it, I was both fascinated and horrified by the state of my neighboring state of West Virginia. I loved the parallels that Eisenberg drew between her experiences and the murders 30 years earlier. The circumstances are so different but the toxicity of life in rural West Virginia remained. Watching the way neighbors and even family turned against each other in the wake of tragedy was astounding to me.I listened to the audiobook, which Eisenberg narrates herself. Maybe I'm just spoiled by professional voice actors, but while she had a clear voice and was impassioned, it was hard to distinguish quotes from description and sometimes I struggled to determine whether we were addressing her life or the murders, since they went back and forth quite a bit.And maybe it's because I don't read a lot of true crime, but I think with the murders being technically unsolved make me enjoy it less. I think what saved this lack of conclusion was Eisenberg's personal story being woven throughout so we get her personal growth to round out the ending.**Thank you Hachette and Libro.fm for the advanced listening copy in exchange for my honest review**
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  • Dana
    January 1, 1970
    I was 30% into the audio book and all I knew was that the two girls were shot. Not a single bit of information about the murders or investigation. I am unsure why Eisenberg was intertwining her own life into this at all. I felt that was very self indulgent and was disrespectful to the story she was supposed to be telling. Because she sure used their murders as a way to get her book published. Thank you to the publisher and Libro fm for a free audio copy.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    *This is my review from NetGalley, who gave me ARC access in exchange for my review.*When I saw this book reviewed in Booklist I was really, really excited. I have several friends who have attending the Rainbow Gathering over the years and this sounded like an interesting mix of true-crime and hippie culture. This is not what this book is. The first section of the book is great - when the author focuses on the event that the book is advertised to be about. After that initial first section, it *This is my review from NetGalley, who gave me ARC access in exchange for my review.*When I saw this book reviewed in Booklist I was really, really excited. I have several friends who have attending the Rainbow Gathering over the years and this sounded like an interesting mix of true-crime and hippie culture. This is not what this book is. The first section of the book is great - when the author focuses on the event that the book is advertised to be about. After that initial first section, it randomly becomes an autobiography that is also trying to be a political commentary on violence against women in American culture. That would be fine since it does sort of relate to the thesis/topic but then she goes off talking about her love interests as a 20-something.Hearing about the author's love interests & how she related to girls at her camp isn't why I immediately tried to find an ARC of this book upon seeing its Booklist review. Some of the historical facts she presents about the USA are straight up just not accurate (This is not related to the Rainbow Gathering or the case, this is in the section where she talks about herself and her opinions on US politics / history), which is a shame to read in a work of non-fiction. I got about halfway through before I gave up due to boredom. Maybe it gets better later on?
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book from Netgalley for an honest review. The synopsis sounded good about two girl's murders that I knew nothing about. I found this book interesting at first when it talked about the murders and also the history of West Virginia. The writer has a gift for writing and the details made you feel as if you were there. Eisenberg also talked about her life which made me feel as though the murders were a back story and the book was really a cathartic memoir for the author.I liked the I requested this book from Netgalley for an honest review. The synopsis sounded good about two girl's murders that I knew nothing about. I found this book interesting at first when it talked about the murders and also the history of West Virginia. The writer has a gift for writing and the details made you feel as if you were there. Eisenberg also talked about her life which made me feel as though the murders were a back story and the book was really a cathartic memoir for the author.I liked the interviews toward the end of all the players involved in the investigation or part of the crime itself. The book was an ok read for me but wasn't what I was expecting.Thanks to Netgalley for a chance to read this book.
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  • Nicole Lorentz
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to read this book because it was said to be the true crime story of Nancy Santomero and Vicki Durian, who were murdered on their way to the Rainbow Gathering in 1980. This was a story about them and what happened, but there was also a lot of extra stuff in it that I thought was unnecessary. I was thinking that this was going to be set up like how other true crime stories are set. Or at least in a similar fashion.Emma Copley Eisenberg decided to write this from a research perspective and I wanted to read this book because it was said to be the true crime story of Nancy Santomero and Vicki Durian, who were murdered on their way to the Rainbow Gathering in 1980. This was a story about them and what happened, but there was also a lot of extra stuff in it that I thought was unnecessary. I was thinking that this was going to be set up like how other true crime stories are set. Or at least in a similar fashion.Emma Copley Eisenberg decided to write this from a research perspective and from her own. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I didn’t feel as though the two parts fit together. Sometimes it was okay, but for the most part, the portions that were about the author seemed to just add unnecessary content. I think it would have been better if those sections had been shorter. There was also a lot of history and information about location, which I felt was unnecessary. Overall, there were just too many things added in that took away from the murders and case.I do think that the research and portions on the crime were well done, but there was just not enough about it to really make this a full true crime book. I think this could have been shorter and split into two stories. One could have been on the research and events on the murder, and the other could have been a memoir of the authors time in West Virginia where the murders happened.
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