The Last Stone
On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, disappeared during a trip to ashopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. Three days later, eighteen-year-old Lloyd Welch visited the Montgomery County Police with a tip: he had seen the Lyons girls at the mall that day and had watched them climb into a strange man’s car. Welch’s tip led nowhere, and the police dismissed him as a troublemaking teen wasting their time. As the weeks passed and the police’s massive search for the girls came up empty, grief, shock, and horror spread out from the Lyons family to overtake the entire region. The trail went cold, the investigation was shelved, and hope for justice waned.Then, in 2013, a detective on the department’s cold case squad reopened the Lyons files and soon discovered that the officers had missed something big about Lloyd Welch in 1975. That same week, a young girl who had seen the Lyons sisters at the mall described a man who had been following her throughout the day. An artist had even produced a sketch: It looked remarkably like Lloyd.

The Last Stone Details

TitleThe Last Stone
Author
ReleaseApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherAtlantic Monthly Press
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Mystery, History

The Last Stone Review

  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    In 1974, I was 18 years old, living at home with my parents, in Fort Worth, Texas, when three teenage girls disappeared from a mall in that city. Those girls have never been found. Then on March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, disappeared from a mall in Washington, D.C. As a journalism student in both high school and college, despite not having the easy access to news that we have nowadays with the internet, I followed both stories closely, over the years. So when I In 1974, I was 18 years old, living at home with my parents, in Fort Worth, Texas, when three teenage girls disappeared from a mall in that city. Those girls have never been found. Then on March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, disappeared from a mall in Washington, D.C. As a journalism student in both high school and college, despite not having the easy access to news that we have nowadays with the internet, I followed both stories closely, over the years. So when I saw that The Last Stone has been written about what had happened to Kate and Sheila I definitely wanted to read it. lloyd Welch dominates this book but I don't want to give him credit for anything. Lloyd is truly evil and the only person he cares about his himself. Never have I read about a real person who was more of a compulsive liar than Lloyd. His words are worthless because the man has no comprehension of the meaning of truth.Then there are the four detectives (and others) who worked to get the truth of what happened to Kate and Sheila out of Lloyd. I'm amazed that their acting skills, their ability to change tactics instantly in the midst of interviews with Lloyd, and how well they worked together and off of each other to resolve this case to the best of their abilities. The author states that most of the dialogue in this book was recorded and that puts us right there in the interview room with Lloyd and the detectives. Reading this book was difficult because of the subject matter but I'm thankful to know the efforts that were expended to find Kate and Sheila. Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for this ARC.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars It’s 1975 and two sisters aged 10 and 12 go missing from a mall never to be seen or heard from again. A teenage boy comes to the police with a story: he’d seen them get into a car with a stranger. But despite the manhunt, nothing is found. The case goes cold. Forty years later, in an attempt to find out what else the teen might have seen, detectives track him down. Instead of a witness, they find a man in prison for inappropriate sexual relations with an underage girl. And they start t 3.5 stars It’s 1975 and two sisters aged 10 and 12 go missing from a mall never to be seen or heard from again. A teenage boy comes to the police with a story: he’d seen them get into a car with a stranger. But despite the manhunt, nothing is found. The case goes cold. Forty years later, in an attempt to find out what else the teen might have seen, detectives track him down. Instead of a witness, they find a man in prison for inappropriate sexual relations with an underage girl. And they start to wonder… if he’s this kind of man now, what kind of boy was he then? The investigation that follows unlocks a horrifying story of incest, abduction, rape, and murder unlike anything they could have imagined. That this is a ‘Masterpiece of Criminal Investigation’ is no exaggeration. The story laid out in these pages is as honest an insight into what a cold case really looks like as could be written. This is no tv style investigation; things aren’t resolved in 50 minutes with a few new leads and a couple of good cop/bad cop interviews. This is a hard slog full of false paths, dead ends, and lies upon lies upon lies. It’s time consuming, expensive, and physically and mentally tiring. The sheer amount of determination and work that it took to get to some kind of resolution is truly incredible. It leaves you with a deep appreciation for the investigators, perhaps even awe. Especially when it comes to their interactions with the witness turned suspect. He is interviewed exhaustively and a good deal of the transcripts are presented in full. This is both essential and exhausting. It reveals like nothing else could, the kind of lies people tell about and to themselves as much as to others. To some extent, the interviews go exactly as expected. The repetition, backtracking, outright falsehood, denial, sly hinting… it’s all there. The detectives push and prod, threaten and cajole. Sometimes there’s a break-though, sometimes it’s the same old ground retrodden. But each and every sentence drips with some form of dishonesty, deception, or pure invention. So much so that it’s hard to put together a set of basic facts about what happened and why. And this is the problem, because you know he’s lying and the police know he’s lying, but there’s no end to it. Right until the final page and beyond. There are some answers, but questions remain. It’s frustrating and draining as a reader, I cannot imagine the patience and perseverance it must take to deal with it in real time. It’s genuinely hard going getting through what feels like endlessly circular conversations with a man who seems like he’ll never tell the full truth. But that’s the problem with real life, stories don’t come all wrapped up with a bow on top.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Kemper
    January 1, 1970
    Even though I’m a huge fan of mystery/crime fiction I’ve long known that I never could have been a cop. One of the main reasons is that if I were faced with a suspect I knew was lying to me that I lack the patience to work the truth out of them with long interrogations. Instead I’d immediately shine a bright light in their eyes and grab the nearest phone book. That was never clearer to me then while reading this book when I found myself gritting my teeth and wishing I could reach through the pag Even though I’m a huge fan of mystery/crime fiction I’ve long known that I never could have been a cop. One of the main reasons is that if I were faced with a suspect I knew was lying to me that I lack the patience to work the truth out of them with long interrogations. Instead I’d immediately shine a bright light in their eyes and grab the nearest phone book. That was never clearer to me then while reading this book when I found myself gritting my teeth and wishing I could reach through the pages to choke the shit out of this lying asshole.In the spring of 1975 two pre-teen sisters, Sheila and Kate Lyon, vanished from a suburban Maryland mall just outside of Washington D.C. Despite a huge police investigation and being covered all over local media the girls were never found. Almost 40 years later a cold case detective was going through the file again and came across something new. Days after the girls disappeared, an 18 year man named Lloyd Welch had given a statement to the police about seeing them talking with a man at the mall and leaving with him in a car. However, Welch’s statement seemed fishy, and he promptly flunked a lie detector test which led to him admitting that it was a combination of things he’d seen in the news and made up. The cops dismissed him as just another attention seeking kook that was wasting their time. However, this detective noticed that Welch’s statement about the man he claimed to have seen had a detail that matched his prime suspect, a child molester who had died in prison. Believing Welch may know something after all the cops tracked him down only to find that he was serving a long prison term for molesting a young girl. It also turned out that one composite sketch from a witness in the mall at the time looked a lot like Welch at 18.What began there was a series of long interviews with Welch who they quickly learned seem almost allegoric to telling the truth. When caught in a lie Welch would refuse to admit it, blaming any mistakes on faulty memory brought about by age and drug abuse, while eventually shifting to a completely different story that ignored what he previously said. Or he might backtrack and start repeating a story the police had already discredited. When faced with absolute proof of false statements and finally admitting something he’d say he lied because he was scared and trying to protecting himself. Pinning Welch down to a story was like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall, and it took a team of detectives working variations on several different tactics for over a year to eventually tease something approaching the truth out of him. This would lead to new directions and other suspects involved in the crime which were mainly members of Welch’s family. They would turn out to be a clan of transplanted hillbillies that seem to be something out of a Rob Zombie movie with child abuse and sexual assault being common place.Mark Bowen was a young journalist just starting his career when he reported on the missing Lyon sisters, and as he explains the case haunted him for years afterwards. He’s done some interesting things structurally with this because it doesn’t follow your typical true crime format. The story begins with Lloyd Welch and that’s where most of the focus is. There’s not a lot of time spent on the original abduction which is what you’d usually get in a true crime story. Then there’d be some background on the family, the investigation, and the break with Welch might come in at the halfway point. Bowen gives us that as background and essentially starts very early with the cops going to Welch. That’s because this is mainly about the interviews and how the cops managed to tease and cajole information from Welch when he was feeding them mostly bullshit, and then how they kept him talking long past the point where he realizes that he should just shut up. That makes sense because this case hinges on how they eventually learned to read what Welch was telling them and how to work him. In the end the major break comes not from what Lloyd actually said, but instead from a detective following up on one his lies but realizing that the truth was actually in the other details Welch kept putting in his various stories.This is an interesting way to do a book like this, and the case is fascinating. However, it can also be frustrating because a great deal of time is spent just reading Welch’s shifting lies and repeated justifications. It also doesn’t end as neatly as an episode of Law & Order. While some justice is done there is still a lot left unanswered and probably some guilty parties will never be charged. It’s a solid piece of crime true crime writing, but reading about Welch wore me out. I don’t know how the cops who had to actually deal with him could stand it.
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  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a true crime story about the disappearance of two sisters from a Wheaton, Maryland mall way back in March of 1975. Katherine and Sheila Lyons, 10 and 12 were seen with a man and then vanished. It became a cold case that journalist Mark Bowden became interested in and sank his teeth into. It’s a different kind of true crime book, as it pits five bulldog detectives against one of the most determined liars they’ve ever run into, after sifting through other possible leads. It becomes al This book is a true crime story about the disappearance of two sisters from a Wheaton, Maryland mall way back in March of 1975. Katherine and Sheila Lyons, 10 and 12 were seen with a man and then vanished. It became a cold case that journalist Mark Bowden became interested in and sank his teeth into. It’s a different kind of true crime book, as it pits five bulldog detectives against one of the most determined liars they’ve ever run into, after sifting through other possible leads. It becomes almost a battle of wills as the interrogations play out, the detectives trying to find the bodies of the girls after decades of others failing. I found this a compelling crime read that really held my interest very well, especially the use of different kinds of interrogation techniques, what is allowed and what is not. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Mark Bowden, and the publisher for my fair review.Full review shown on my BookZone blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Theresa Alan
    January 1, 1970
    This work of nonfiction makes some types of police work look particularly arduous and frustrating, because just reading this was slow moving and repetitive. In 1975, two sisters, Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages 12 and 10, went to the mall together and were never seen again. Three days later, 18-year-old Lloyd Welch comes to the police with a rambling story of seeing the girls go off with a man with a limp, another tip that leads the cops nowhere closer to finding the girls. In 2013, a police of This work of nonfiction makes some types of police work look particularly arduous and frustrating, because just reading this was slow moving and repetitive. In 1975, two sisters, Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages 12 and 10, went to the mall together and were never seen again. Three days later, 18-year-old Lloyd Welch comes to the police with a rambling story of seeing the girls go off with a man with a limp, another tip that leads the cops nowhere closer to finding the girls. In 2013, a police officer revisits Lloyd’s file and wonders if he can finally get answers for the parents and for the county that was so devastating by their disappearance, thus starting a new investigation that would involve millions of dollars and manhours of interviewing the entire very screwed up Welch clan. (A scary, terrifying family that embodies every ugly Deliverance stereotype of backwoods folks.)Lloyd is a liar who endlessly changes his story. I was frustrated as a reader, so I can’t imagine how exasperating this was for all the cops involved. This book would have been better if it were much shorter. It was so, so slow. The endless interrogations in which Lloyd lies was maddening. I never got to know any of the cops well, so it wasn’t like I was rooting for any of them in particular. I just kept reading to see if there would be any satisfying answers. I would skip this one. I’ve read much better true crime books before. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES APRIL 2, 2019.For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    This book touts itself as "a masterpiece of criminal interrogation," and boy is this right on the money. The police investigators featured are truly dedicated to their job, however, it's the cold case team who reopened and pored over the case files from the abduction in 1975 and eventually solved the case; this true crime work follows the journey from the decade it happened right through to justice finally being served. I have heard that it's actually, unbelievably normal for some criminals to i This book touts itself as "a masterpiece of criminal interrogation," and boy is this right on the money. The police investigators featured are truly dedicated to their job, however, it's the cold case team who reopened and pored over the case files from the abduction in 1975 and eventually solved the case; this true crime work follows the journey from the decade it happened right through to justice finally being served. I have heard that it's actually, unbelievably normal for some criminals to insert themselves into the investigation of a crime that they indeed committed, and this is exactly what happened here with Lloyd Welch, but at the time he was wrongly deemed a harmless drug addict.The kidnapping of Kate and Sheila Lyon was journalist Mr Bowden's first big story and probably due to that it had a lasting impact on him leading to the writing of this book. I guess the title, The Last Stone, is in reference to the painstaking work of the cold case team in which they left no stone unturned to bring a sense of closure and justice to the Lyon family, in particular. It's as gripping and twisty as any thriller on the market; you really have to remind yourself that this is real life. The writing is engaging and immersive, and I found myself feverishly turning the pages to find out what happened. Without a doubt, this is one of the best books showing the dedication and labour-intensive work the police force and, in particular, detectives carry out. Those interested in true crime, police investigations, psychology and behaviour profiling will find much to enjoy within these pages.Many thanks to Atlantic Monthly Press for an ARC.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Most true crime books take the reader through the background of the perpetrator and the victims, tracing their lives to that fateful day that changed some lives forever. The Last Stone starts from a far different point. It’s been forty years since the most shocking crime to hit a suburban Maryland county. Two little girls - little as in not even teenagers disappeared from a shopping mall and the trail went cold almost immediately. Forty years later a team of detectives are picking up the dusty f Most true crime books take the reader through the background of the perpetrator and the victims, tracing their lives to that fateful day that changed some lives forever. The Last Stone starts from a far different point. It’s been forty years since the most shocking crime to hit a suburban Maryland county. Two little girls - little as in not even teenagers disappeared from a shopping mall and the trail went cold almost immediately. Forty years later a team of detectives are picking up the dusty files and trying to piece together leads in a not just cold, but ice-cold case. There’s no bang bang shoot em up action. No police chases. No confrontations with the killer in the Arizona desert. Just a series of interviews with a prison inmate who may have spotted something four decades earlier. Doggedly, step by step, the detectives try to pierce the veil hanging over the crimes. They are led into hints of a backwards clannish family for whom modernity had not quite hold and of deeds and coverups too horrible to contemplate. The question is whether they will ever really know the truth. What makes this book interesting and different is how it unfolds in these detailed interviews rather than in an action sequence.
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  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars - Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for allowing me to read and review this book. Published on April 2, 2019. This is the nonfiction story of a gruesomely violent crime. A crime committed over 3 separate states, 41 years ago. Evidence was lost, eyewitnesses died, time erased memories, family remained silent and it was often only speculation that bound the story together. This was a kidnapping, a sex crime, and the murder of two little girls - known and sanctioned by a who 4 stars - Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for allowing me to read and review this book. Published on April 2, 2019. This is the nonfiction story of a gruesomely violent crime. A crime committed over 3 separate states, 41 years ago. Evidence was lost, eyewitnesses died, time erased memories, family remained silent and it was often only speculation that bound the story together. This was a kidnapping, a sex crime, and the murder of two little girls - known and sanctioned by a whole family. Many uncles and aunts and cousins were aware of this as it happened. Many took part. No one could find the missing girls. No one saved those little girls. No one reported their abductor. This book is about 90% put together by reiterating the hours of taped interviews of one Lloyd Welch. The author states that there is some alteration for brevity sake. It took three detectives working on this cold case over 21 months to bring the truth to the forefront. This is not a book to be read by those with a queasy stomach. Some scenes are horrifying. The patience of the three detectives interviewing Welch for hours on end and going back to it day after day is commendable. To be able to patiently sift through his lies and still remain civil to him was extraordinary. To be able to take that task on, allow it to run and at times ruin your life for 2 years, knowing that upon completion it would never go away, takes a very special person. This is not only a book of a heinous crime but a book detailing the sad, mind suffering reality of what our cold case units do daily. Please be thankful for them.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-e The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-examined and breathes new life into the investigation. Back in 1975, Lloyd Welch, for unclear reasons, interjected himself into the investigation by claiming to have witnessed an older man pestering the girls at the mall. Through the previous further investigation of Welch's claims, it is determined his claim was a fabricated encounter, possibly made for the purpose of seeking attention.Decades later, Welch's interview is re-examined and when it is learned Welch is currently incarcerated in prison for child molestation, detectives seek to re-interview him in hopes that he may have more information than he originally revealed. This then starts a renewed investigation into the decades-old disappearance that leads to mountain hollers in Virginia and Maryland and reveals a clannish Welch family with many hidden secrets.The novel depicts a fascinating, over a year long, interrogation process involving incarcerated Lloyd Welch. The investigation soon envelopes the Welch clan, which includes some of the most despicable family members one could imagine. This true crime accounting is compelling and easily one of the best true crime books in some time and as with his other non-fiction books, Mark Bowden again crafts a book that is highly interesting and hard to put down.
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  • Dawn Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Nonfiction is really my jam. I enjoy learning about things I don't know and learning why people do the things they do. True Crime is a relatively new addition to the nonfiction love [I read "Helter Skelter" in school and it scared me so much that it was years before I picked up another true crime book] and for the most part, it has been interesting to delve into a world I [thankfully] know nothing about. So when I saw this book at NetGalley and realized I didn't know the story, I jumped at the c Nonfiction is really my jam. I enjoy learning about things I don't know and learning why people do the things they do. True Crime is a relatively new addition to the nonfiction love [I read "Helter Skelter" in school and it scared me so much that it was years before I picked up another true crime book] and for the most part, it has been interesting to delve into a world I [thankfully] know nothing about. So when I saw this book at NetGalley and realized I didn't know the story, I jumped at the chance to read it. Uh, yeah. This was not the winner I was hoping it to be. And while it grabbed my attention at first, it quickly becomes a lesson in tedium and repetition and frustration. It is basically just the transcripts of TWO years worth of interviews with the inmate [I refuse to say his name and give him more publicity, even in my insignificant review] to figure out just what was truth and what was a lie in regards to the kidnapping and murder of two little girls in 1975 [it took 38 years of it being cold case before they got a break]. What they found was a man who was clearly involved, but is such a pathological liar and a sociopath that it is very, very difficult to differentiate between truth and lies. There is no real story here - I mean, the author tries to tell a story, but for awhile, it just feels like one big run-on sentence. And the frustration of over how this is handled AFTER they start getting confessions from the inmate is beyond frustrating. While the case itself is fascinating, and the inner workings of a very twisted and backwards family [incest and abuse and molestation were all part of the norm in this family], the way the book is laid out and the story presented, it becomes absolute tedium to read and finish [though I did finish the book, it was tough]. I only finished because I had to know what happened and then was extremely disappointed in the ending. There was no "happy ending" here for the family and for that I am very, very, sad. I truly feel for the girl's parent; they are the ones that will never, ever recover from this, even over 40 years later. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-e The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is the true crime story of two missing young girls from 1975.On March 25, 1975, ten-year-old Katherine Lyon and twelve-year-old Shelia Lyon went missing from a Wheaton, Maryland shopping mall. Through the intervening decades, numbers of police officers and others continued to attempt to solve this disappearance, with the case being set aside, re-opened and examined again and again.In reviewing the case file, an overlooked interview of a man named Lloyd Welch is re-examined and breathes new life into the investigation. Back in 1975, Lloyd Welch, for unclear reasons, interjected himself into the investigation by claiming to have witnessed an older man pestering the girls at the mall. Through the previous further investigation of Welch's claims, it is determined his claim was a fabricated encounter, possibly made for the purpose of seeking attention.Decades later, Welch's interview is re-examined and when it is learned Welch is currently incarcerated in prison for child molestation, detectives seek to re-interview him in hopes that he may have more information than he originally revealed. This then starts a renewed investigation into the decades-old disappearance that leads to mountain hollers in Virginia and Maryland and reveals a clannish Welch family with many hidden secrets.The novel depicts a fascinating, over a year long, interrogation process involving incarcerated Lloyd Welch. The investigation soon envelopes the Welch clan, which includes some of the most despicable family members one could imagine. This true crime accounting is compelling and easily one of the best true crime books in some time and as with his other non-fiction books, Mark Bowden again crafts a book that is highly interesting and hard to put down.
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  • Cool_Moms_Read
    January 1, 1970
    A cold case come to life nearly thirty years later that will take you through the grueling saga of interrogation. I can't imagine being a journalist covering a media frenzied case of two missing girls. Then again, I also couldn't imagine coming back decades later to write a book detailing what lead to the stories end. Do not look at this five star rating and think its just something you browsed by and want to check out. While I think this book is page turning and investigative, it is true crime A cold case come to life nearly thirty years later that will take you through the grueling saga of interrogation. I can't imagine being a journalist covering a media frenzied case of two missing girls. Then again, I also couldn't imagine coming back decades later to write a book detailing what lead to the stories end. Do not look at this five star rating and think its just something you browsed by and want to check out. While I think this book is page turning and investigative, it is true crime. I would only recommend this to a true crime fan, a person who does not have a weak stomach. This was a real case, those girls are real...you can google their picture and see articles of the story over the years. The style of the book gives you the raw facts and with it, gruesome details. I often dive into these stories and reflect upon my younger self. A young woman without a care in the world and plenty of room for thrillers and true crime. Now as mom, my heart breaks to an unfathomable level for the Lyon sisters and for all the people effected by that awful crime. You will also be in awe of the detectives who worked on the case. I couldn't believe the amount of skill and negotiating that went into interviewing Lloyd Welch. On television we see the abbreviated versions of interrogations but this telling book by Mark Bowden will give you a true in-depth look.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    On Easter weekend in 1975, two young sisters - ages 10 and 12 -vanished from a suburban Washington DC-area shopping mall. The girls were never seen again and their bodies were never found. The crimes against them were never solved and the case, which shocked the area, was never closed. It turned into a cold case. Thirty-five years later, the case was dusted off and given new life in the police department.American author Mark Bowden, who had been a reporter on a local paper at the time, remained On Easter weekend in 1975, two young sisters - ages 10 and 12 -vanished from a suburban Washington DC-area shopping mall. The girls were never seen again and their bodies were never found. The crimes against them were never solved and the case, which shocked the area, was never closed. It turned into a cold case. Thirty-five years later, the case was dusted off and given new life in the police department.American author Mark Bowden, who had been a reporter on a local paper at the time, remained interested in the case and joined the five detectives who had reopened the case. A clue - missed in the original investigation - soon pointed the way to a man called Lloyd Welch, who was already serving time in Delaware for sexual abuse of a girlfriend's daughter. Bowden's book, "The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation" is the story of the new investigation and conviction of Welch.Most true crime books are not particularly well-written. Good prose does not usually combine with breathy descriptions of murder scenes, philandering spouses, blood spatter, and the rest of the sex and gore of a murder case. "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, Norman Mailer's "The Executioner's Song", and Thomas Thompson's books are the only true-crime books I've read that are worth reading for literary merit. Mark Bowden's book, though, is dull. Most of the book is the literal recounting of both the crime and the investigation using the transcripts from the interviews with Lloyd Welch. Bowden does go beyond the interviews and fills in facts the reader can't get from the transcripts, and writes a bit about the larger Welch family, who are a truly disagreeable and frightening crew. The family has its own problems with sexual and physical abuse of its own members, and I can see how Lloyd Welch turned out as he did.I wish I felt more of a connection with Mark Bowden's book. He's a noted writer of non-fiction and I've enjoyed the other books by him I've read. This one, maybe because it's a "masterpiece of criminal interrogation", is hindered by the fact that once the "cleverness" of interrogation wears off for the reader, there's not much of interest. But my review is only the review of one reader. This is the kind of book a potential reader owes it himself to read all the reviews he can. Most people won't feel like I do.
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  • Brandon Forsyth
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best true crime books I’ve ever read! Bowden is, of course, a master of narrative non-fiction, but I think it’s safe to say he’s surpassed himself here. The story he’s telling here is remarkably focused and controlled, and there’s a sense of urgency in the writing that manages to be both personal and remarkably balanced. When the detectives use questionable tactics in these interrogations, you understand where they’re coming from in a primal sense - but Bowden still flags it. I haven’ One of the best true crime books I’ve ever read! Bowden is, of course, a master of narrative non-fiction, but I think it’s safe to say he’s surpassed himself here. The story he’s telling here is remarkably focused and controlled, and there’s a sense of urgency in the writing that manages to be both personal and remarkably balanced. When the detectives use questionable tactics in these interrogations, you understand where they’re coming from in a primal sense - but Bowden still flags it. I haven’t torn through a book like this since Ben Macintyre’s latest, and those of you who know me know that I don’t make the comparison lightly. At its best, true crime should grip you with unbearable tension, light a fire inside you to demand justice, and bring out your best empathetic self. This book manages to do all three effortlessly. Not to be missed!
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  • Sharon May
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley, Atlantic Monthly Press, and Mark Bowden for the opportunity to read this true crime story. 3.5 stars rounded up.This is the story of the kidnapping deaths of two young sisters from a shopping mall in Maryland in 1975. But it's really the story of Lloyd Welch - the backwoods product of an incestuous, abusive family, who was eventually charged with these crimes and the detectives who spent years interviewing him. It was almost 40 years after the crimes before Lloyd was ever re Thanks to NetGalley, Atlantic Monthly Press, and Mark Bowden for the opportunity to read this true crime story. 3.5 stars rounded up.This is the story of the kidnapping deaths of two young sisters from a shopping mall in Maryland in 1975. But it's really the story of Lloyd Welch - the backwoods product of an incestuous, abusive family, who was eventually charged with these crimes and the detectives who spent years interviewing him. It was almost 40 years after the crimes before Lloyd was ever really questioned about his involvement when they were reviewing the file as a cold case. The interviews spanning years were a bit slow moving and repetitive, mainly because Lloyd is a liar of unbelievable portions - the stories changed daily.The book was definitely well researched and written; I just found it to be a bit slow moving. Your heart goes out to the parents of these girls and those like them that fall prey to such monsters.
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  • Tony Snyder
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing style seemed hectic and flooded with detail but I think this was intentional to convey Lloyd’s mindset through so many interviews as the police tried unsuccessfully to pin him down as to what happened to two missing girls who had disappeared in 1975 when they began interviewing him in 2013 after the police had initially dismissed him as nothing but a compulsive liar who wanted the spotlight. Utterly fascinating!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    4 out of 5 might be a bit generous, but I did like it even if it made me angry. https://greatmorrisonmigration.wordpr...
  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed Killing Pablo and Black Hawk Down, but I didn't care for the way this book was written. I love a true crime book and although this case is interesting (and bizarre), the format of this book is very slow. As an audiobook, this is basically like listening to over 12 hours of an interrogation. I did like certain parts and I admire the detectives' determination and patience in this case, but in my opinion this book needed to be much shorter.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I would rate it between a 2 and 3. I had problems with this book, primarily that the author did not try very hard to temper what seemed to be a pretty large bias against what he considered a primitive backwoods monster of a family (Welches). The pov practically reeked of privilege. Even if one believes the family to be so, it is not good journalism to let that bias color things as much as it did here. It was also the way he couched his judgements of people - sounded more like someone chatting wi I would rate it between a 2 and 3. I had problems with this book, primarily that the author did not try very hard to temper what seemed to be a pretty large bias against what he considered a primitive backwoods monster of a family (Welches). The pov practically reeked of privilege. Even if one believes the family to be so, it is not good journalism to let that bias color things as much as it did here. It was also the way he couched his judgements of people - sounded more like someone chatting with a pal to relay disgust and disbelief instead of reporting. It was distracting when he would interject himself and an opinion right in the middle of the back an forth of an interrogation - definitely takes you out of the moment. He also seemed judgy about some detectives’ and cops decisions at points. It just felt a bit like the author knew better than everyone else. but he has the advantage of hindsight, of course.It also needed much better editing to relieve some of what became very painful repetition of the myriad of variations of Lloyd’s story. I get that maybe it was meant to convey the looong frustrating process the cops dealt with, but at a certain point it just got ridiculous. I started to stop caring any more about which one was true, which to me is probably the exact opposite of the book’s aim (and prob means I’d make a terrible cop).It did get me thinking about what makes sense re: resources dedicated to cold cases. I do get the need for closure and to try to make sure people pay for crimes and dangerous criminals are kept from hurting more people, but with really old cases a lot of potential perpetrators are dead or sick or in jail already. May have no motivation to give up old secrets. I’d be curious what percent of cold cases come to a successful fruition (as far as locating burial spots, providing satisfactory closure, eyc.) It feels like there are so many crimes to be addressed - possibly even prevented in some cases - among the living that dedicating a lot of resources to cold cases doesn't really seem right. It was clear in the book that some people are drawn to work on cold cases in order get the good publicity of solving it (and possibly a reelection too). It hurts to see that two girls who were brutalized and had their lives cruelly taken - apparently used by a bunch of men for their twisted desires - still continued to be used by selfish men (this time for bragging rights or political gain or such) 40 years later. Lastly, it REALLY bothered me how many times Lloyd asked for a lawyer and it was ignored. This point was barely touched upon in the book which felt very one-sided. I’m not sure I agree with the machiavellian tactics to this degree - the level of deceit cops went to with people - it’s a slippery slope, and really, what did they get in the end?
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  • Darcia Helle
    January 1, 1970
    Books that offer a view into a disturbed mind usually fascinate me. While The Last Stone has its moments of intrigue, overall I was disappointed in the content.The author focuses almost solely on the interrogation of Lloyd Welch. The problem with this tactic is the constant repetition. Welch is a pathological liar who plays games with the detectives. During each session, Welch offers a slightly altered version of the story he'd previously told, and so we're reading a lot of the same things, over Books that offer a view into a disturbed mind usually fascinate me. While The Last Stone has its moments of intrigue, overall I was disappointed in the content.The author focuses almost solely on the interrogation of Lloyd Welch. The problem with this tactic is the constant repetition. Welch is a pathological liar who plays games with the detectives. During each session, Welch offers a slightly altered version of the story he'd previously told, and so we're reading a lot of the same things, over and over. The only reason it remains even semi-interesting is because the dialogue is lifted verbatim from the interrogations, and so we get an inside glimpse of the conversations between Welch and the detectives. The biggest disappointment for me was that the author made little attempt to give the Lyons girls an identity. They were just two girls, interchangeable with any other two girls. I learned nothing about who they were.The content also doesn't offer us much of a connection with the cops involved in this case. I would have liked to understand what it was like for them to sit through dozens of hours interrogating Lloyd Welch.A word of caution: This book has a lot of graphic detail about sexual deviancy with children. Lloyd Welch and his entire extended family are portrayed in a way I can't even fathom. Sexual abuse and incest were, apparently, the norm with almost all of these people. I don't think we needed the extent of details in all the situations described.Overall, this book is notable for the insight into police interrogations, but it lacks insight into the broader aspects.*I received an advance copy from the publisher.*
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    I can't remember when I last read true crime- it's not my cup of tea although I am a big mystery reader. I think probably because in a fictional mystery if it gets too gruesome I can tell myself it's not real or simply stop reading it and go on to another fictional mystery. With true crime you can't do that - I mean I can stop reading but in my head I know that the crime was real...anywayWhat made this book a reader for me was the interrogations - I just could not stop reading each interview wit I can't remember when I last read true crime- it's not my cup of tea although I am a big mystery reader. I think probably because in a fictional mystery if it gets too gruesome I can tell myself it's not real or simply stop reading it and go on to another fictional mystery. With true crime you can't do that - I mean I can stop reading but in my head I know that the crime was real...anywayWhat made this book a reader for me was the interrogations - I just could not stop reading each interview with Lloyd as the detectives worked on him to solve a cold case about two missing girls (sisters) from a mall in the 70s. I didn't give it 4 stars - although I couldn't put it down because there were parts of the book where the author (someone who reported on the crime back in the 70s) offered some opinions, theories, etc. that were of no interest to me and kept tossing me out of the story. In fact at the end he offers what he THINKS may be three theories that the three cop/interviewers might have about the events...I skipped it -why would that even matter? I mean if the three cops offered their ideas maybe- but his imaginations on what he thinks they might guess - ???Anyway I understand the 4 stars but that is why I took a star away and it came in at 3 stars
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  • Toni Duder
    January 1, 1970
    This book covers a horrific crime, and how it is solved through the tenacity of three investigators. Mostly, it focuses on how they develop a relationship over a year with their lead suspect and draw the truth out from him. Pretty disturbing and an interesting look at how someone can detach themselves so convincingly from the truth.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    True crime! I really liked this book, most especially because it includes lots of details and excerpts from actual transcripts from the herculean efforts made by detectives to entice from their witness-turned-suspect information that would draw this cold case to a close.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm a huge fan of true crime so was interested in this right away.I thought it was poorly written and became so redundant with the interviews.
  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    Engrossing read.
  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    "Masterpiece of criminal interrogation." Read: How to extract a false confession.
  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful, dynamic, riveting!If you've ever wanted to be on the front line of a criminal case from start to finish this is your must go to book.The time frame was 1975 in suburban DC involving two young ladies Katherine and Sheila Lyons just 10 and 12 years old.They vanished without a trace from a DC Mall never to be found.The case haunted many who worked on it and was eventually shut down until 2013 when it came back alive from the cold case files with new evidence pointing directly to Lloyd Wel Powerful, dynamic, riveting!If you've ever wanted to be on the front line of a criminal case from start to finish this is your must go to book.The time frame was 1975 in suburban DC involving two young ladies Katherine and Sheila Lyons just 10 and 12 years old.They vanished without a trace from a DC Mall never to be found.The case haunted many who worked on it and was eventually shut down until 2013 when it came back alive from the cold case files with new evidence pointing directly to Lloyd Welch who was serving time for child molestation.This case was one I'll not soon forget reading about and I hope you will take the time to read it.A must read for 2019!Thank you to Mark Bowden, the publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Meag McKeron
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.I can't even imagine the research that went into writing this book - just combing through the interview transcripts alone must've taken forever. I was surprised how much of this book was direct quotations from the police interviews with Lloyd Welch, but it was fitting. This story is all about a pathological liar, and hearing his lies straight from his mouth drove home just how insane he was. This also made the book feel incredibly exhausting and repetitive, but again, I think this gave 3.5 stars.I can't even imagine the research that went into writing this book - just combing through the interview transcripts alone must've taken forever. I was surprised how much of this book was direct quotations from the police interviews with Lloyd Welch, but it was fitting. This story is all about a pathological liar, and hearing his lies straight from his mouth drove home just how insane he was. This also made the book feel incredibly exhausting and repetitive, but again, I think this gave readers just a small glimpse of how frustrating and draining it must have been to be on that police team. My only wish is that there had been more background on the investigators, as I really started to care about them (and their physical and mental well being as they worked with Welch for 2 years). This was a study in police interrogation and is definitely worth checking out if you're into true crime.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Those of us who live in the DC area are familiar with the case of the Lyons sisters, who tragically disappeared in 1975. Every year around the time they vanished, at the age of 10 and 12, local media would revisit the case. No one here forgot them-especially not the detectives who worked so hard to resolve this for their parents. Bowden has done an excellent job of detailing what happened when one of them discovered a long forgotten interview of a real creep named Lloyd Welch. There is unusual i Those of us who live in the DC area are familiar with the case of the Lyons sisters, who tragically disappeared in 1975. Every year around the time they vanished, at the age of 10 and 12, local media would revisit the case. No one here forgot them-especially not the detectives who worked so hard to resolve this for their parents. Bowden has done an excellent job of detailing what happened when one of them discovered a long forgotten interview of a real creep named Lloyd Welch. There is unusual insight here into how an interrogation proceeds, especially when dealing with someone who is as cruel and inhumane as Welch. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. This is one for fans of both procedurals and true crime. Well done.
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  • Shannon A
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of Law & Order, so I was intrigued by the case documented in great deal here. What happened and who really made the two sisters disappear? At times, I wanted to have this case all wrapped up like they do on my favorite show; but as I read what the detectives went through to pull the truth out of someone who made a living of lying to everyone, (including himself) I gained a new perspective on what it really takes to solve a crime.
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