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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York

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The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon. The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon. The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable. He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim. Nor will he be his last. The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten. This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.


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The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon. The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon. The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable. He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim. Nor will he be his last. The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten. This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

30 review for Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York

  1. 5 out of 5

    jv poore

    The world was not warm or welcoming for gay men in the 1980s. Discrimination, bias and inexplicable hate made for an uncomfortable existence, at best. Not only was homosexuality grossly misunderstood; but AIDS was becoming a familiar fear for everyone. Repercussions could be very real for any openly-gay man. Life turned from unpleasant to terrifying with the discovery of a dismembered male body. And later, another grisly, heart-wrenching find. More would follow. Law enforcement was not convinced The world was not warm or welcoming for gay men in the 1980s. Discrimination, bias and inexplicable hate made for an uncomfortable existence, at best. Not only was homosexuality grossly misunderstood; but AIDS was becoming a familiar fear for everyone. Repercussions could be very real for any openly-gay man. Life turned from unpleasant to terrifying with the discovery of a dismembered male body. And later, another grisly, heart-wrenching find. More would follow. Law enforcement was not convinced that the scarily-similar manner of disposal connected the crimes. Faint lines leading to New York City piano bars— where gay men felt somewhat safe—seemed more than a stretch. Prejudices towards the victims’ “life-styles” and the lack of a crime scene, coupled with “dump sites” in different jurisdictions, meant that these crimes were not priorities. Family members, friends, Lesbian and Gay Advocate Groups would not allow these deaths to be ignored, though. Patrons, pianists, and bartenders all mentioned one man, in particular. The suspect was a nurse at a NYC hospital, but no one knew more than that. In the same way that stellar wait-staff are inconspicuous when their service is spot-on, Mr. Green simply sets everything up, almost allowing each man to tell his own story. This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books, with huge “Thank You!” to Celadon Books for the Advance Review Copy, which I will donate to my favorite high-school classroom library.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Elon Green , and Celadon Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. There’s nothing better than a riveting piece of true crime, especially when it’s written by someone who can artfully present the story. Elon Green does well with Last Call, where he explores the murder of a handful of men whose connection to a gay bar in New York City eventually led to locating a killer no one First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Elon Green , and Celadon Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. There’s nothing better than a riveting piece of true crime, especially when it’s written by someone who can artfully present the story. Elon Green does well with Last Call, where he explores the murder of a handful of men whose connection to a gay bar in New York City eventually led to locating a killer no one suspected. Full of great descriptions, both of the victims and the LGBTQ+ scene in New York in the 1980s/90s, Green keeps the reader wanting to know more until the final reveal. Likely a piece true crime fans will want to add to their collection. It all began with the discovery of a dismembered body along a Pennsylvania highway. When the authorities discovered the body, cut into pieces and bagged multiple times, they knew this was something that needed their undivided attention. With the help of some identification, found in a trash can up the road, the search began to better understand the victim and why he might have been targeted. Green explores the victim and his ties to the LGBTQ+ community, which he colloquially calls the ‘queer scene’, and some of the local establishments in the early 1990s. This was at a time when gay rights were still not prominent and the police had less respect for an overall protection of citizens, no matter their orientation. There was also a comprehensive discussion to the ‘secret life’ lived by the victim, likely part of the veiled persona gay men presented at the time, while also holding down a job in a profession where homosexuality was not as accepted. When a man is found killed and dismembered in New Jersey, officials are equally as baffled, but also quite intrigued at the attention paid to dispose of the body. This was not a simple slash and dump, but a detailed understanding of the body and how it is ‘assembled’, thereby providing key steps to cut and properly package a body before leaving it to be collected. The authorities noted this attention to detail could only have come from someone in the medical profession, or with access to the various tools. Green circles back to explore gay rights and the LGBTQ+ scene in the early 1980s, particularly in the early years of HIV/AIDS. The detail offered about how medical professionals were downplaying it and then labelling it as a disease of homosexuals offers the reader some insight into how the community was treated and branded by the larger American society. Green depicts this so well and keeps the reader wondering as he slowly discusses progress and the emergence of gay rights amongst local and state politicians. Green comes around to explore how one man’s long history of luring and attacking gay men as far back as the 1970s played a role in the identification of a person of interest. The meticulous planning and playacting to lure victims to his home helped to create a sense of calm, only to be destroyed after drugging and attacking these men. While the ending came together quickly in the final few chapters, the reader can see how a single lead, in the form of an expunged record of forensics, brought the case together, providing a termportary sense of relief to those who felt themselves constant targets. While I am not a regular reader of true crime, I can respect those who enjoy the genre. Elon Green does a decentr job of piecing together the story and filling in many of the gaps he discovered in news coverage. Many of these cases are from close to three decades ago, when reporting was less thorough and not as easily accessed. As Green stresses throughout, it was also a time when ‘gay crimes’ were seen as more ‘unfortunate events’ than being on par with those of the heterosexual community. While discussion of the crime scenes was great (who does not like to hear how the body was discovered in eight layers of bags?), it was the social commentary on gay rights and the HIV/AIDS situation in New York that had me quite intrigued. I wanted to see how things would progress and how little was done at a time when America (and much of the world) was still trying to come to terms with violence against some, while the authorities did nothing. Green effectively presents the struggles and issues with class, educating the reader throughout the book. Green writes very effectively and efficiently, providing the reader what they need to understand how things fit together. There is some great social commentary on the legal acceptance of gay rights and how hate crimes were slow to catch up, all while HIV/AIDS became the face of the LGBTQ+ community. With chapters that vary from overviews of the situation to highly detailed, Green offers the reader what they need, told with a strong narrative that pushes the story along. If I had to find a downside to the book, it would have to be the abrupt end to things. The last few chapters became more of a halting train than the smooth ride that the book presented beforehand. Once the killer’s identity became known, it was a rush through the legal process and the reader was left to sigh that this was not added to a pile of cold cases. Green’s great build up seemed almost trumped by that anti-climactic end. Kudos, Mr. Green, for an interesting look into this series of crimes. I will have to see what else you’ve penned that may be of interest. Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers. https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/re... Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    This book deserves all the stars, and it completely broke my heart because it really happened. For true crime readers, this is a must for your lists. The Last Call Killer went on a killing spree in the 80s and 90s, and his victims were gay men in New York. Abhorrently, according to the author, the murders didn't receive the attention they should have because of the time in which they happened. As a result, it took decades to solve them. The book is about that manhunt, but it’s equally about the vi This book deserves all the stars, and it completely broke my heart because it really happened. For true crime readers, this is a must for your lists. The Last Call Killer went on a killing spree in the 80s and 90s, and his victims were gay men in New York. Abhorrently, according to the author, the murders didn't receive the attention they should have because of the time in which they happened. As a result, it took decades to solve them. The book is about that manhunt, but it’s equally about the victims and sharing their stories. It’s also about the gay community of New York City, and in that way, Last Call is not your typical take on a true crime. It’s not a lengthy book, and in its brevity gets to the heart, beauty, and steadfastness of a community. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars In the 1980s and 1990s, the Last Call killer targeted gay men in New York. I've read quite a few true crime books over the years, and it's not hard to feel sorry for the victims and the loved ones they left behind. My heart weighed extra heavy after reading this book knowing due in part to the victims' sexuality not much attention was paid to the crimes back then or even now. What is also sad is knowing there are most likely other undiscovered victims of this serial killer. If you do not 3.5 stars In the 1980s and 1990s, the Last Call killer targeted gay men in New York. I've read quite a few true crime books over the years, and it's not hard to feel sorry for the victims and the loved ones they left behind. My heart weighed extra heavy after reading this book knowing due in part to the victims' sexuality not much attention was paid to the crimes back then or even now. What is also sad is knowing there are most likely other undiscovered victims of this serial killer. If you do not count the Acknowledgments and Notes, this book is a little bit over 200 pages which is on the shorter side for a true crime book especially one featuring multiple crimes. I think it is worth noting that even though you get some of the details of the crimes, the victims, and the killer, this book is also just as much about the gay community in New York during the 80s and 90s. The author does a good job painting the picture of what life was like for a gay man during that era. You have the AIDs epidemic, the fear of being outed if you were closeted, rampant homophobia, and hate crimes that weren't taken very seriously by the general public or law enforcement. It's a heartbreaking and infuriating read but one that is certainly important in order not to forget the history. I think this book is a worthwhile read but it is not the strongest true crime book I have ever read. I felt more like I was getting a snapshot of the victim's life and then the author would move on to the next one. There were many names brought up in the book, not just victims, but others that were part of the NYC social scene and it was difficult at times to keep track of everyone. I also was surprised the author barely devoted any time to the court case. That's just minor criticism though as overall I found it to be a fascinating read. I received an advance copy from Celadon Books. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Author Elon Green In the early 1990s a serial killer was murdering gay men who frequented New York City bars and pick-up spots, but the crimes got little press coverage and passed below most people's radar. Now that true crime has become such a popular genre, Elon Green tells the story of the 'Last Call Killer', who eluded law enforcement for many years. The story starts on May 5, 1991, when a maintenance worker on the Pennsylvania Turnpike found a body wrapped in plastic bags in a rest area trash Author Elon Green In the early 1990s a serial killer was murdering gay men who frequented New York City bars and pick-up spots, but the crimes got little press coverage and passed below most people's radar. Now that true crime has become such a popular genre, Elon Green tells the story of the 'Last Call Killer', who eluded law enforcement for many years. The story starts on May 5, 1991, when a maintenance worker on the Pennsylvania Turnpike found a body wrapped in plastic bags in a rest area trash can. The victim was Peter Anderson, fifty-four, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The next year, on July 10, 1992, two New Jersey Department of Transportation employees found a disarticulated body in plastic bags at a rest stop in the Garden State. The dead man was Thomas Mulcahy, fifty-seven, of Sudbury, Massachusetts. Then on May 10, 1993, plastic bags containing the dismembered body of Anthony Edward Marrero, forty-four, of Philadelphia, was found on a roadway in New Jersey. And finally, on July 31, 1993, the butchered body of Michael Sakara, fifty-six, from Manhattan, was found in plastic bags on a roadside in Rockland County, New York. Road in Rockland County, New York When investigators on the separate cases shared information, it became clear a serial killer was at work, and authorities speculated about additional victims, as yet unfound. A multistate task force was assembled to catch the perpetrator, but the killer was elusive, and the endeavor took years. In addition to describing the murders and the police investigations, author Elon Green delves into the history of the victims and the anti-gay atmosphere that forms the background for the crimes. The 1900s were not friendly to queer people. A 1923 New York State law made it a criminal act for a man to even ASK another man for sex, and after WWII "the U.S. State Department was purged of gays and lesbians, whom Senator Joseph McCarthy deemed a threat to national security." Prejudice against gays increased when the AIDS pandemic started to spread in 1980, and gay-bashing in the streets of New York became common. A man kneels down at a memorial for Mark Carson, after another man yelled homophobic slurs at him before shooting him in the head. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Sadly, New York City law enforcement showed "systemic indifference" to crimes against queer people. As an example, Green writes about three gay men in Chelsea who were attacked by white kids with bats in 1980. "One man lost two teeth; another sustained thirty-six stitches to his forehead, a damaged eye, and a broken nose. Reporting such crimes to the police was considered not worth the trouble, for there was rarely any recourse. An activist told the Daily News, 'If you go to court and it's brought out that you're gay, the defense will make a bum out of you'." This feeling was commonplace, and many queer victims suffered in silence. To meet in a relatively safe atmosphere, homosexual men would congregate in gay bars, which spanned the gamut from cheap joints to elegant piano bars. Green describes many New York City gay bars - their location, atmosphere, and clientele. A gay dive bar in NYC The Townhouse piano bar in NYC The Townhouse, a gay bar that opened in 1989, was old-fashioned by design. Green writes, "Geographically, the Townhouse wasn't so far away from the noise and the grime and the cut-rate sex workers - walking distance even. But milling around that warm, inviting back room nursing a cocktail, a few feet away from the piano and elegantly attired men, you could almost pretend it was another country." The police learned that several of the serial killer's victims frequented the Townhouse bar, which seemed to be a favorite hunting ground for the perp. The murderer was thought to pick up a victim near closing time, and he was dubbed the 'Last Call Killer. ' Serial killing, even of gay people, was anathema, and the push to protect the queer community was assisted by the Anti-Violence Project (AVP), which began on the cusp of the AIDS epidemic. Green details the birth and evolution of the AVP, which was instrumental in making the police and district attorney more accountable for anti-gay crime in New York. The slayer is identified toward the latter part of the book, and Green outlines his background, appearance, profession, habits, modus operandi, etc. The Last Call Killer The author tried to interview the perp, but the killer refused to cooperate, so Green's analysis is incomplete, but still very informative. The author's end-notes demonstrate how much research went into the book, which is an encompassing account of LGBTQ issues in 20th century New York and a fascinating story of the Last Call killer and his crimes....which began before he took the life of Peter Anderson in 1991. I don't want to give away spoilers, so for a complete picture, you'll have to read the book. Thanks to Celadon Books for a review copy. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Ten minutes short of three o’clock on a moderately warm Sunday afternoon, a turnpike maintenance worker was emptying the green barrels at a rest area in Lancaster County on the westbound side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. He was looking for aluminum cans to sort, when he pulled hard on a plastic trash bag that he simply couldn’t lift. A strong five foot six, he’d never had a problem emptying the barrels in the six years on the job. What’s in this bag that I can’t lift? Annoyed, he rooted around ”Ten minutes short of three o’clock on a moderately warm Sunday afternoon, a turnpike maintenance worker was emptying the green barrels at a rest area in Lancaster County on the westbound side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. He was looking for aluminum cans to sort, when he pulled hard on a plastic trash bag that he simply couldn’t lift. A strong five foot six, he’d never had a problem emptying the barrels in the six years on the job. What’s in this bag that I can’t lift? Annoyed, he rooted around for a stick, and opened the bag. ‘But every time I opened one bag there was another bag,’ he recalled years later. Another poke, another bag. Another poke, another bag. Another poke, another bag. He assumed it was a deer carcass. Now he realized it was, in all likelihood, something more sinister. When he finally got the last bag opened--eight in total--he couldn’t make out what it was. ‘It looked like a loaf of bread,’ he says. ‘But then I saw freckles.’” It all begins with a John Doe. But the story doesn’t begin with a dead body. This John Doe had a life before he was found brutally murdered. He had family and friends who cared about him. He had a successful career. We can hope that the discovery of his dismembered body in a turnpike trash can isn’t the end of his story. There are questions that need answers. His narrative must continue, and the only people who can insure that it continues are the detectives investigating his murder. They must write the end of his story. They must find his killer. This murder is just a random act of brutal violence until they find another dismembered body and then another. The killer doesn’t disarticulate the bodies, but saws them apart through the bones. He double bags and double knots to make sure the bags don’t leak fluid. The bodies are of small men, middle aged men, and as they begin to ID these men, they start to realize a pattern. They are all gay men. They are in the closet. They are all successful men, except one. It is the 1990s, and violence against gay men is at an all time high. The AIDS epidemic has made a bad situation worse. Roving bands of “heterosexual” men feel justified in beating the crap out of random men in New York they perceive to be gay. They are, in their small minds, cleansing the earth of a pestilence, and at the same time, they get to take out their failures and frustrations on a demographic that society has deemed contemptible. I moved to San Francisco in the late nineties to pursue an opportunity to work for a prestigious bookstore. I can still remember when a staff member showed up to work with cuts, contusions, and a limp. He and a friend had been jumped and beaten coming home from a bar late at night. These attackers weren’t interested in robbing them. They were only interested in hurting them. It was hard for my friend to fathom the source of the rage that inspired these men to beat them so viciously. The older gay staff members all felt lucky to be alive as they had buried so many of their friends who had died horrible, lingering deaths from AIDS. After growing up in Kansas and going to college in Arizona, I was now getting a full education on what it meant to be gay in America. They feel cursed because they are vilified, and God, if there is one, has turned his face away from them. They are seen as a weakness, a perversion in society by those who don’t understand how intelligent they are, how creative they are, and how caring they are. Still, I believed we were steadily moving forward to a more tolerant civilisation until 2016. The problem back in the 1990s was to get the police to see that these crimes are not the murders of deviants and criminals, but the murders of people not that dissimilar from themselves. One police chief rails at his staff to leave their prejudices at home. Now, if these murdered men had been pretty women instead, then every effort would have been made to apprehend and stop the killer. The press would have demanded nothing less. The author, Elon Green, is careful not to paint all the police with the same brush, but the police are a reflection of our society, and when we are racist, homophobic, and sexist, they feel very comfortable being so as well. This killer picks his victims from patrons of gay bars and deems himself, appropriately, The Last Call Killer. Unlike other serial killers who have a wikipedia page with an in-depth listing of their notorious deeds, no such page exists for The Last Call Killer. It is as if there is a collective decision by those in the know to make sure these murders remain hidden from the public eye. Elon Green has rescued this disconcerting history from the dusty archives. It is a tale some believe best forgotten. This book is the story of the victims, the role of society in their deaths, and of the perpetrator who preyed on these vulnerable men. The victims were men who had the audacity to seek, at least for a few hours, the safe haven of a gay bar with heavy pours, a show tunes piano player, and the atmosphere of normalcy towards the aspect of their character that the rest of society deemed perverse. Green will weave you through the events of a decades long hunt for the killer. You will feel anger, bafflement, frustration, but in the end you will see the killer caught. It will feel like a muted justice though because, like me, most of you will think to yourself, why don’t I know about this? Why were these events kept out of the glare of the public eye for so long? Why was this narrative left for Elon Green to tell in 2021? This story is much bigger than just a series of murders. It is about queer New York in the 1990s and the resilency of a community under the threat of AIDS, under the threat of being beaten or murdered, and their ability to adapt to societies demands that they remain closeted. Don’t forget this was the era when Don’t ask Don’t tell began. Ignoring this story for so long was keeping the spotlight off of our collective prejudices. Thanks to Elon Green this dark time has been recast against the backdrop of the current issues with sexual orientation that continue to plague our society. The past and the present collide, but it doesn’t mean that we have to let the same issues cloud our future. Maybe we can achieve collective acceptance. I would like to thank Lauren Dooley of Celadon Books for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten and an Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/jeffreykeeten/

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I haven't read a True Crime book in a while and this reminded me that I need to try and read more. Elon Green is the perfect author for this book. He meticulously researched the many cases involved and brought the victims to life. His compassion for the victims and the lgbtq community shined through as well as his goal of bringing this killer to light. Not only did the investigation of the case hold my interest, but I also found the social history of the time equally as interesting and important I haven't read a True Crime book in a while and this reminded me that I need to try and read more. Elon Green is the perfect author for this book. He meticulously researched the many cases involved and brought the victims to life. His compassion for the victims and the lgbtq community shined through as well as his goal of bringing this killer to light. Not only did the investigation of the case hold my interest, but I also found the social history of the time equally as interesting and important in terms of how the case was eventually solved. I found the author's note quite moving and could easily see how much Mr. Green cared about getting this story exposure so the victims had some justice. I also appreciate how he highlighted the circumstances that aligned in order for law enforcement to catch the killer. My slight criticism and reasons for adjusting down to 4 stars is because the first half was a little bogged down with superfluous facts about the victim's lives. Some might appreciate the deep, deep dive, but I felt it took away from the story a little bit and more importantly, made it hard for me to keep track of the information I was learning. The amount of names in the victim's family, every day life, each member of law enforcement was getting confusing and kind of interfered with my overall enjoyment. I'm happy to say once the book moved to the second half, this lessened and I felt much more immersed in the story. What really has stayed with me these past few days since I finished the book was just how terrible those assumed to be gay or were out as gay were treated. Reading some of the transcripts provided made me physically wince with how abhorrent the language was. I think the author did a great job highlighting an underlying theme of why these cases didn't receive the attention they should have given the nature in how the bodies were discovered (there is a quote in the book dedication that left me speechless on what it feels like to be your true self). Ultimately, this is a great read and one I will be recommending. Thanks to Celadon Books and Elon Green for the advanced review copy. Review Date: 02/01/2021 Publication Date: 03/09/21

  8. 5 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    Last Call is a true crime novel of a notorious serial killer that stalked the gay bars of New York and how he lured men with his charms into a deadly end. The story occurs during the '90s, at a time where the climate towards gay men was hostile. Because of that, the investigations into the grisly murders stalled until breakthrough fingerprint technology emerges. It is with that new technology that the Last Call Killer is finally identified and brought to justice. The Last Call is a gripping tale Last Call is a true crime novel of a notorious serial killer that stalked the gay bars of New York and how he lured men with his charms into a deadly end. The story occurs during the '90s, at a time where the climate towards gay men was hostile. Because of that, the investigations into the grisly murders stalled until breakthrough fingerprint technology emerges. It is with that new technology that the Last Call Killer is finally identified and brought to justice. The Last Call is a gripping tale about the seemingly endless hunt for the Last Call Killer during a time of the AIDS epidemic and how that epidemic played into the stagnant and lackadaisical attitude of the people charged with investigating the crimes. Elon Green has done a superb job in his research as evidenced by the copious amount of notes at the back of the book. Green has crafted an outstanding true crime story that is not only intense but shockingly real. A must read for true crime fans. Five stars. I received a physical ARC from Celadon Books through the Bookish First raffle. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I love reading thrillers and murder mysteries, but reading a true crime novel, especially this one written by Elon Green, “Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York” blew my mind in this truly gripping read. The Last Call tells the story of the killer who was a pediatric nurse in NYC, and the killing spree that affected the gay and queer community in the East Coast, that took decades to solve. The whole time I was reading this, I was so immersed into the stories and the I love reading thrillers and murder mysteries, but reading a true crime novel, especially this one written by Elon Green, “Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York” blew my mind in this truly gripping read. The Last Call tells the story of the killer who was a pediatric nurse in NYC, and the killing spree that affected the gay and queer community in the East Coast, that took decades to solve. The whole time I was reading this, I was so immersed into the stories and the lives of the victims and their families, the detectives, and the forensic scientists that worked on this case. I found that the layout of how the book was presented, to the time you learn about the killer, is so well done that you yourself will feel a part of this manhunt. Green included a plethora of minute details into the book, that you will feel the depth and years of research that went into this amazing true crime novel. If you love reading mysteries and true crime novels, this is a must read for you and not to be missed. Thank you Celadon books for providing this ARC and having me as an early reader. All opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Jerkins

    In LAST CALL, Elon Green traces the 90s-era police investigations of interrelated murders of gay men who were picked up in Manhattan bars. Not only is this book intensely researched with insight into the lives of these deceased men from their beginnings to their untimely deaths, but also Green provides rich context into an earlier NYC whose landmarks carry a horrific reminder in LGBTQIA history. Though the material is heavy, Green's ambition and steadfastness make for a read that is neither dry In LAST CALL, Elon Green traces the 90s-era police investigations of interrelated murders of gay men who were picked up in Manhattan bars. Not only is this book intensely researched with insight into the lives of these deceased men from their beginnings to their untimely deaths, but also Green provides rich context into an earlier NYC whose landmarks carry a horrific reminder in LGBTQIA history. Though the material is heavy, Green's ambition and steadfastness make for a read that is neither dry nor lagging. He does his due diligence to these men and their lives and the circumstances surrounding what happened that only a skillful writer would not careen into trauma porn. This is a necessary document.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to Celadon Books for the free advanced copy of Last Call in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! I am coming to love the true crime genre, except this book reads more like a history/biography.  The author focuses on the victims and the history of, and violence in queer New York City, paying little eventual attention to the trial and investigation of the murderer himself.  Overall this is not a bad read at all.  I am left to assume that there’s either not a ton Thank you so much to Celadon Books for the free advanced copy of Last Call in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! I am coming to love the true crime genre, except this book reads more like a history/biography.  The author focuses on the victims and the history of, and violence in queer New York City, paying little eventual attention to the trial and investigation of the murderer himself.  Overall this is not a bad read at all.  I am left to assume that there’s either not a ton of info available on the trial and murderer, his motives or interviews, or that’s just not what the author was primarily getting at. I think the murders themselves were well described and covered as well as the investigation, but the trial and post apprehension of the killer was practically nonexistent so my curiosity is only amplified now. The odd part is that the book was SO painfully detailed up to that point that the ending felt bizarre.  There are pages and pages on unrelated things like where the victims’ parents’ went to high school, and a whole chapter on a piano player who was not even involved in the killings except as someone that played in the bars and spotted the killer once. I just frankly don’t care about that guy’s time on a cruise ship or where the murder victims parents grew up.  For all those minute details, the trial consisted of about… Heck I don’t know, one or two pages? The book offers a fairly comprehensive history of certain gay bars and queer violence in New York City, among other towns, but the majority of the book is about the victims more than the crimes.  Some parts of their lives were actually interesting, and other parts, like sex life details and queer metro life such as “subway sammies” made me cringe a little bit as a healthcare worker. Tracking the history of law enforcement and queer violence was probably where the book shined most.  Some parts seemed to have some organizational issues (for example, one random paragraph mentions another serial killer spotted in a bar, and he was never mentioned again), but the history of the bars and violence, right up through Cuomo Sr and Giuliani were well organized and presented in interesting ways. The killer was portrayed in the final section of the book with a brief look at his college years and professional career, not in any kind of chronological order.  It doesn’t seem like a huge effort was made to find where he did the killings or even why, as no true motive was established. The only part of the trial consisted of one family member’s statement so I guess it was all based on the victims families?  Where is the detail for this part of the story? I’m guessing sealed court documents or something but this is just not mentioned. Overall: I know the author wasn’t focused on the killer, but he could have trimmed some of the inane details and had plenty of page space to write about the post apprehension and trial period. Last but not least: I think it’s time for a good old fashioned @OneReadingNurse medical digression! Right at the end, an interviewee mentions PReP on the last page of the book.  I guess I don’t think about AIDS much in healthcare these days unless it is noted that a patient is HIV or AIDS+, but the piano player from above asserts that the Queer community  assumes undetected HIV is the same thing as uninfected, which seems scary to me. PReP is covered by most insurances and asserts between 74-99% effectiveness based on the goal of use, according to the CDC.   https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html It seems affordable and/but I didn’t realize people even in 2020 are just turning to drugs vs safe sex practices? What about other STDs? I guess that guy’s statement would require more research but it seems like the last thing the author wants readers to think about is how there are still extremely unsafe sexual practices occuring, which is something these people definitely need to be aware of.  I didn’t know it, anyway. Thank you again to Celadon Books for my copy!!  I am stating neutral on the rating and again say check it out, releasing 3/9, if it sounds up your alley!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Rochester

    Thank you to Celadon for sending me a print copy of this book. I have to admit that some of the books I have been sent by Celadon are not books that I would have picked out myself but not once have I ever not liked one of them. This particular book was about a serial killer who was killing gay men of New York City back in the 80s and 90s. . He killed them in New York but then sometimes the body would be found in other states and always cut up and put into many bags. He came to be called the Last Thank you to Celadon for sending me a print copy of this book. I have to admit that some of the books I have been sent by Celadon are not books that I would have picked out myself but not once have I ever not liked one of them. This particular book was about a serial killer who was killing gay men of New York City back in the 80s and 90s. . He killed them in New York but then sometimes the body would be found in other states and always cut up and put into many bags. He came to be called the Last Call Killer because he was apparently going home with these older gentleman after Last Call and killing them. Sadly, because of the sexuality of his victims in a time of AIDS, the murders were mostly either not looked into at all or quickly forgotten. I loved reading about how the police came to the conclusions they did, how they figured out who it was and how they caught the bastard. As the mother of a gay son, I found this book even more interesting and compelling than some people might, I think. I am grateful my son grew up when he did because for a large portion of the Country, being gay is accepted these days. I was a teenager back in the 80s when AIDS was getting noticed and it blows me away that life was like that for gay men...at least in New York. I had no idea that gay was not okay...I also had no idea that some policemen out there did not do their jobs as efficiently as they could have because of someone's gender. Anyway, I found this book very interesting and completely worth the read. Thanks again, Celadon :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Casey the Reader

    ✨REVIEW✨ [ @celadonbooks #partner ] The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten. (via Goodreads) 📚 • LAST CALL is not your typical portrait of a killer. Yes, there is some examination of his life, but this book is primarily a look at the Last Call Killer's known vict ✨REVIEW✨ [ @celadonbooks #partner ] The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten. (via Goodreads) 📚 • LAST CALL is not your typical portrait of a killer. Yes, there is some examination of his life, but this book is primarily a look at the Last Call Killer's known victims. We read about their daily lives, their personalities, and how they simply tried to cope with being gay in an era when people often even refused to touch gay people for fear of catching AIDS. 📚 • Green has managed to distill a huge amount of information - this book is clearly so deeply reported - into an easy to follow narrative. No small feat for a story that includes police and investigators from multiple states and precincts, victims with double lives, and more than a few dead ends. 📚 • LAST CALL is also a loving look at New York and its many subcultures. I could practically see the bar districts discussed here, feel the sticky floors and mourn the loss of gay bars with their patrons. 📚 • On top of all that, the final sections of the book, when the clues are coming together and the court case is proceeding had me on the edge of my seat. If you have any interest in true crime and/or queer history, put LAST CALL on your list. 📚 • Content warnings: Addiction, alcoholism, deat), gore (it's REALLY gory, y'all), hate crime, homophobia, physical abuse, torture, violence, police brutality, kidnapping. 📚

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I rarely read true crime, even though I'm trying to read more. One of my most anticipated true crime reads on my TBR was Elon Green's Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York , a detailed depiction of a serial killer often overlooked, The Last Call Killer. At a little over 200 pages, you can read this book in one sitting easily! Last Call tackles the backstories of The Last Call Killer's victims, while also talking about how life was for queer people in the 1960s I rarely read true crime, even though I'm trying to read more. One of my most anticipated true crime reads on my TBR was Elon Green's Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York , a detailed depiction of a serial killer often overlooked, The Last Call Killer. At a little over 200 pages, you can read this book in one sitting easily! Last Call tackles the backstories of The Last Call Killer's victims, while also talking about how life was for queer people in the 1960s up until the last victim's death. This book was so interesting to me, because as a gay man, I always want to know why people are continuously trying to bring my community down. As I ventured on with the story, the author does a great job immersing you into the case. I did feel that the writing was a bit dry, but I've come to accept that when it comes to nonfiction storytelling. I do wish we got more into the serial killer's backstory, but I do believe that Elon Green did the best he could with the content he was able to find. I'm excited to see what's next for Elon Green's true crime writing career.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    Thank you so much to Celadon Books and Elon Green for sending me an ARC and putting this book on my radar. I am a huge fan of true crime and I had never heard about the Last Call Killer. He is a serial killer who operated in the 90’s, killing gay men all over New York City. A bland nurse that was easy to forget, the Last Call Killer went after a population that is nearly forgotten now. This book was an important tribute to the victims and shed light on the pain the killer caused the gay communit Thank you so much to Celadon Books and Elon Green for sending me an ARC and putting this book on my radar. I am a huge fan of true crime and I had never heard about the Last Call Killer. He is a serial killer who operated in the 90’s, killing gay men all over New York City. A bland nurse that was easy to forget, the Last Call Killer went after a population that is nearly forgotten now. This book was an important tribute to the victims and shed light on the pain the killer caused the gay community. Thoughts: This book was so well written and laid out everything that happened perfectly. Elon Green set the scene for what happened in the 90s and gave just enough details that you felt connected to the victims and their stories. Not only was this book about the victims and their stories, but also about the gay community in the 80s and 90s, which was informative. There were so many things happening at that time, including the AIDS epidemic, fear of coming out, hate crimes, and homophobia. The fact that this community wasn’t taken seriously means that these crimes could have easily gone unsolved. There was almost too much information in this book, including people who really didn’t have anything to do with the story. I loved that this book did include how the case was solved and felt like it had an ending. I would have loved to hear more about the trial and after the case was solved, but that is just a personal preference. It was a little off putting having ¾ of the book in vivid detail, because the last ¼ felt rushed and nonspecific. I like to assume the writer wanted to focus this book on the tragic stories of the victims, instead of the killer himself. All in all, a solid true crime story- 4 stars!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Happy Pub Day!! When it comes to books like this, I often find the subject matter fascinating from the outside looking in, but then I fail to connect with the actual details. It’s hard for me to review this book because, objectively, I do believe it’s a good book that will be greatly appreciated by the right reader. I generally say that true crime is a hit or miss genre for me, although I am certain I lean more toward the miss side. It’s simply because of my reading preferences. The author’s met Happy Pub Day!! When it comes to books like this, I often find the subject matter fascinating from the outside looking in, but then I fail to connect with the actual details. It’s hard for me to review this book because, objectively, I do believe it’s a good book that will be greatly appreciated by the right reader. I generally say that true crime is a hit or miss genre for me, although I am certain I lean more toward the miss side. It’s simply because of my reading preferences. The author’s meticulous research is evident. This is quality writing and an important story. I’m happy Elon Green focused so much on the victims - who they were and how difficult things were for them during a time when homosexuality wasn’t well accepted. There are too many books that focus on serial killers while the victims remain nameless background players. These men deserved to have their stories told. I just struggled to get through it all, as the content felt rather dry to me. Again, it’s a preference, and I imagine the right readers will find this utterly fascinating and unputdownable. Despite not feeling captivated, I did find it emotionally provocative and haunting at times. I’m immensely grateful to Celadon Books for my review copy. All opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    I vaguely remember reading in the gay papers ca. 1992-94 about the suspicion that there was a serial killer of gay men about, who would pick up tricks at various upscale piano bars in Manhattan, kill and dismember them, leaving their remains in plastic garbage bags in remote locations. By the time the culprit was apprehended in 2001 and convicted in 2005, interest in the case had waned, so it is nice to have this meticulously researched and fast paced true crime volume to satisfy one's curiosity I vaguely remember reading in the gay papers ca. 1992-94 about the suspicion that there was a serial killer of gay men about, who would pick up tricks at various upscale piano bars in Manhattan, kill and dismember them, leaving their remains in plastic garbage bags in remote locations. By the time the culprit was apprehended in 2001 and convicted in 2005, interest in the case had waned, so it is nice to have this meticulously researched and fast paced true crime volume to satisfy one's curiosity on the particulars. Green has obviously done a thorough job of sifting through the clues, synthesizing information from a vast array of sources, and putting it out there for readers in a forthright fashion - but be warned - much of this material is NOT for the faint of heart. If occasionally it gets bogged down in superfluous details, or becomes momentarily difficult to follow (there is a plethora of 'characters', since there were at least four separate jurisdictions working the cases), many of these details enrich the story, and Green does an exemplary job of foregrounding the histories of the five known victims, showing what was lost with their untimely deaths. If the book leaves one with a lot of questions about the perpetrator and his motives, that is by no means the fault of the author, who tried but failed to get any cooperation from the murderer. And Green himself graciously acknowledges that, not being a member of the LGBTQ+ community himself, perhaps his perspective is not quite adequate to parse out some aspects of the case - he does upon occasion over explain things for the 'straights' that are self evident to queer readers. Be that as it may, the book is riveting; I raced through it in a day, and it also does a yeoman's job of demonstrating the of lack police protection for the LGBTQ+ community until very recently. But a minor quibble with the subtitle - it's titillating, but there is really NO love or lust in the book at ALL! My sincere thanks to Netgalley, the author, and Celadon books for providing me with BOTH eBook and print ARCs of the book, in exchange for this honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This is a very eye opening true crime, and it amazed me in a lot of ways and most of them are not soo good! I was born in the 1980's soo by the time I realized there was the LGBTQ community I think people were more accepting and  just took people for how they were. However in the 80's and 90's that was very much not the case. There were a lot of laws against being in LGBTQ community and a lot of resentment, hate and anger towards the community. I was completely and utterly shocked that "gay pani This is a very eye opening true crime, and it amazed me in a lot of ways and most of them are not soo good! I was born in the 1980's soo by the time I realized there was the LGBTQ community I think people were more accepting and  just took people for how they were. However in the 80's and 90's that was very much not the case. There were a lot of laws against being in LGBTQ community and a lot of resentment, hate and anger towards the community. I was completely and utterly shocked that "gay panic" was an actual excuse to hurt someone and get away with it. Green starts off this true crime with the discovery of a body, a body that was dismembered in a horrible fashion. Once the police start to trace the body of Peter and this starts the trail back to a bar where he was the last night of his life. Then another body is found and they start to connect the dots. This killer The Last Call killer targeted gay men and killed them, but back then the killer was not really hunted for like he should have been because of the animosity of the community against the gays. I loved how at the end all the conclusions of how the police finally came to the conclusion of who was the murderer. I loved how blunt the author was on the way the LGBTQ community was treated especially with all the misconceptions of AIDS, but this book is definitely an eye opener and I really enjoyed it! Definitely a good read for anyone who enjoys true crime! Thank you Celadon Books for my copy!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Wow! I don't do true crime often, but I'm really glad I picked this one up! It was well-written and provided enough detail for the reader to get an idea of things without getting overwhelmed by it all. The pacing was excellent. I appreciated learning about each of the victims (That we know of), as well as the killer himself. Additionally, the context of the 1980's and 1990's in NYC during the height of the AIDS c Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Wow! I don't do true crime often, but I'm really glad I picked this one up! It was well-written and provided enough detail for the reader to get an idea of things without getting overwhelmed by it all. The pacing was excellent. I appreciated learning about each of the victims (That we know of), as well as the killer himself. Additionally, the context of the 1980's and 1990's in NYC during the height of the AIDS crisis was covered remarkably well. There were a few times I got lost in all the names and had to double back to refresh myself. I also would've appreciated footnotes over endnotes, but Green has written an excellent profile of the murderer and his victims. It's a dark topic that Green has made very absorbable. I couldn't put it down. Also, we stan authors who credit the library and archival staff who help them with their research.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC by the publisher in exchange for a fair review. Last Call is entirely a true crime book. This is not a criticism. Green’s starting point is the murders. He starts with Peter Anderson but gives the reader a sense of who Anderson was the loss to society and family. He does the same with other victims, Tom Mulcahy, Anthony Marrero, Michael J Sakara, and Fred Spencer. The reader gets to know the victims in great deal as well as the lost to family, friends, and society Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC by the publisher in exchange for a fair review. Last Call is entirely a true crime book. This is not a criticism. Green’s starting point is the murders. He starts with Peter Anderson but gives the reader a sense of who Anderson was the loss to society and family. He does the same with other victims, Tom Mulcahy, Anthony Marrero, Michael J Sakara, and Fred Spencer. The reader gets to know the victims in great deal as well as the lost to family, friends, and society at large. But even them it is more than that. It is a snapshot of a time and a place. Green focuses on the Queer bar scene in NYC, after Stonewall. He gives he reader a view of the anti-gay violence in the city as well as the country as a whole/ In fact, the focus of the book is on the society that existed during the time of the killings. It isn’t just the conflict or disconnect (disrespect) between the Queer community and the police force, but also how accepting towns/societies/are were of the community, the pressures put on man to marry and father children, and the “gay panic” defense. Green looks at how fear of not only physical harm but the worry of being publicity outed. He looks at the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic (and ends with the COVID-19 pandemic which makes a for disturbing bookend). In many ways, this is what crime fiction should be. The focus on the victims, on what was ripped away. Instead of speculating on the why the murderer committed his acts, the focus is on the time and the people affected. This something crime fiction should do more often. With this book, we get the long view, the impact that has occurred over time. He does this in part though the use of Rick Unterberg, a piano player at The Townhouse. The research that Green does as well as the drive that led him to do it, is conveyed though every single word that Green uses to tell the story. Because the story is not widely known, or even completely technically solved, Green’s book is important because it brings to light not only a case that should be more widely known, but also is a timely reminder of how recently criminalization of love occurred and how secretive people had to be in order to live their lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee

    In the 80s and 90s, The Last Call killer preyed on the gay community in NYC. In this book, Elon Green tells about the victims and the investigations into the murders. I was so interested while reading about the lives these victims lived, and NYC during the time of the AIDs epidemic. There was alot of detail! Some very gruesome detail about the murders. I know the author definitely did a great amount of research. I love true crime, and this book really pulled me in from the first page. Lots of inf In the 80s and 90s, The Last Call killer preyed on the gay community in NYC. In this book, Elon Green tells about the victims and the investigations into the murders. I was so interested while reading about the lives these victims lived, and NYC during the time of the AIDs epidemic. There was alot of detail! Some very gruesome detail about the murders. I know the author definitely did a great amount of research. I love true crime, and this book really pulled me in from the first page. Lots of info about the bars, and culture of the times which I really liked reading about. It all comes together at the end, and you'll get to read about the court proceedings. I would've liked to have learned more about the case itself, such as what was this killers motivation. All in all though, this was a engrossing, gritty read and I found it so Interesting! There are triggers in this book. Addiction, hate crimes, abuse, gore, and murder! Thank you to the publisher for this gifted review copy. All opinions are my own!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Hi all! The March Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review 3.5 stars Ended up being pretty good. Full review to come Hi all! The March Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review 3.5 stars Ended up being pretty good. Full review to come

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monet

    A quick surprisingly read for such a heavy subject. I have no idea how Elon incorporated so much research into this book while still maintaining an easy-to-follow storyline.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This plainly written heartfelt true crime book focuses on the four victims, which is refreshing, of course, and very laudable, yes, but uncomfortably serves to remind us nasty readers that we’re much more interested in the criminal who commits the vile acts than the poor ordinary blighters that stumbled into his grisly purview. We probably really shouldn't be, but we are. There were four distinctive murders of men, all of them dismembered post-mortem, drained of blood, bagged, double-bagged and This plainly written heartfelt true crime book focuses on the four victims, which is refreshing, of course, and very laudable, yes, but uncomfortably serves to remind us nasty readers that we’re much more interested in the criminal who commits the vile acts than the poor ordinary blighters that stumbled into his grisly purview. We probably really shouldn't be, but we are. There were four distinctive murders of men, all of them dismembered post-mortem, drained of blood, bagged, double-bagged and dumped in rural trash bins. The cracking of the case had to wait some years for forensic science to develop a much better technique for lifting prints off the bags. Or to be more accurate, it had to wait for one of the cops working these cases to stumble over the information that a much better technique for lifting prints off plastic bags had been available for some years already. Yes, this book exposes the often chaotic nature of policing in the USA. There was no national fingerprint database, for instance. So investigators had to laboriously send their prints, when they finally got them, to ALL FIFTY state crime laboratories, and wait for the results. Can you imagine! Plus, the initial fingerprinting of individuals left quite a lot to be desired: “The patrolman or the sheriff often didn’t have the expertise and didn’t know how to take fingerprints” says Maine’s crime lab guy. All too frequently, there was too much ink on the pad, and the print would be smeared, or there wasn’t enough ink, so the print lacked the necessary detail. As a consequence, many of the hundreds of thousands of ten-prints scanned …were functionally useless Insert facepalm emoji here. So anyway finally they find the murderer and there’s this casually dropped in on page 200 : The investigators didn’t talk about it at the time, but they all believed he had killed dozens of men. In fact, they assumed he killed people whenever he went on vacation. Well, the murderer is currently languishing in New Jersey State Pen, aged 70. The victims, however many there really were, are still dead. This was a very solid account of a complicated case. Nothing spectacular, but a fine example of uncovering case that should not have been forgotten.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    “Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York”, is a good true crime book. It is the story of four dead bodies found in plastic garbage bags, in bins located along major roads in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. There were many garbage bags per victim because the killer cut all the bodies up into five or so pieces. “Headless Body Found in bodyless bin”, and all that. These men were all murdered and found between 1991 to 1993. Who was the murderer? And who were the v “Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York”, is a good true crime book. It is the story of four dead bodies found in plastic garbage bags, in bins located along major roads in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. There were many garbage bags per victim because the killer cut all the bodies up into five or so pieces. “Headless Body Found in bodyless bin”, and all that. These men were all murdered and found between 1991 to 1993. Who was the murderer? And who were the victims? Author Elon Green wanted to write a book that was more about who was killed, rather than who did the killing. All four victims were middle aged men. Two men were closeted married gay men and the other two were a little more “out”. Three were picked up by the killer in New York City piano bars which were gay hangouts. Green details their lives until their deaths. He writes about worry within the gay community to. The threat of AIDS, job discrimination, and problems with the police in all three locations. We learn about the murdered but given fairly little information about the killer and how he killed and disposed of the dismembered bodies. That’s a big hole in the middle of the book. WHY, WERE, WHEN, and HOW are questions left unasked and unanswered. Elon Green’s book is actually quite good, if you can move past those pesky W and H questions. Green has many interviews with friends and family of the killer, the victims, and members of law enforcement. However, I don’t think he interviewed the killer.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mom_Loves_Reading

    This is Celadon Books first true crime book & boy, is it a good one! Elon Green really did a fantastic job creating this fascinating, non-fiction book, & it is very well researched. As I always do when reading true crime books or listening to podcasts, I went down the Google rabbit-hole to devour even more information about Richard Rogers, who was dubbed the Last Call Killer, watching interview videos, looking at crime scene pics, & reading more & more about Roger's heinous crimes. True crime sh This is Celadon Books first true crime book & boy, is it a good one! Elon Green really did a fantastic job creating this fascinating, non-fiction book, & it is very well researched. As I always do when reading true crime books or listening to podcasts, I went down the Google rabbit-hole to devour even more information about Richard Rogers, who was dubbed the Last Call Killer, watching interview videos, looking at crime scene pics, & reading more & more about Roger's heinous crimes. True crime show 'Mark of a Killer' (on Oxygen) has an episode about the LCK that I plan to watch on Prime soon, too. This book does get pretty graphic & I did have to put it down a few times to regroup. It also brought to mind a more well-known serial killer who also killed gay men & dismembered them (sometimes ate parts)...Jeffrey Dahmer. Oh, & please do not confuse LCK, Richard Rogers, w/ the fabulous composer, Richard RoDgers, who has a theater in NYC named after him where 'Hamilton' is currently housed. 'Last Call' is positively gripping, riveting, & addictive reading for true-crime aficionados like myself. This is a book you will want to devour in one sitting & then research more about (like I did w/this book & many others, like last years 'American Predator'), just don't blame me when you have nightmares. 'Last Call' releases this coming March 9th, so pre-order it & get it on your TBR lists.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    The Last Call Killer roamed the streets of New York City, preying on the gay community in the 80s and 90s. The murders were not talked about and got very little media attention, which allowed the killer to live life normally, without detection, for far too long. This true crime novel hooked my attention and without having any knowledge of this killer and the horrendous acts he committed, everything was brand new information to me. It was very well written and well researched. While there were som The Last Call Killer roamed the streets of New York City, preying on the gay community in the 80s and 90s. The murders were not talked about and got very little media attention, which allowed the killer to live life normally, without detection, for far too long. This true crime novel hooked my attention and without having any knowledge of this killer and the horrendous acts he committed, everything was brand new information to me. It was very well written and well researched. While there were some sections/information that seemed a little out of place, it was easy to follow along. I enjoy police procedurals and detailed investigations, and this book held exactly that within its pages. Getting a look into the queer community in the 80s and 90s was so eye-opening for me. The fear during those years causing everyone to suppress their identity in fear of getting beaten and killed is just numbing. I can’t even begin to imagine. On top of that the AIDS epidemic was spreading and no one had any answers, so that fear was piled on top of the queer community’s already fragile mental state. It was information that I found very impactful on top of the true crime nature of this book. I recommend this one if you love true crime and would love to get some insight into the queer community of the 80s and 90s. TW: Homophobia, Racism, Derogatory Terms/Names, Physical Abuse/Assault, Identity Struggles, Murder. *I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    A streamlined read, as much about the killings as queer culture, with the former set painstakingly in the context of the evocatively described latter. I very much appreciated the focus on the lives of the victims and the society they inhabited. Very readable, though true crime fans who enjoy sensationalism may come away disappointed. Disclaimer: This ARC was won in a Goodreads giveaway. This is my honest and voluntary review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robby Harrington

    Apparently I need to read more non-fiction, this book was incredible! If you’re into true crime thrillers that keep you pinned to the edge of your seat, you have to read this. The pacing was perfect, I loved the personification of the victims and there were so many OMG moments. Loved it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan | Megans Book Corner

    Thank you the publisher, Celadon Books, for the advanced readers copy for me to read and review. One of my goals since starting my bookstagram was to dive into more nonfiction. I tried to read a true crime book last year that is widely known and loved and I struggled to get into it so I was a little apprehensive going into LAST CALL. LAST CALL is a slow burn story on a serial killer in the 1990s targeting queer men in NYC. The case and the killer are not well known so it's unlikely that you've he Thank you the publisher, Celadon Books, for the advanced readers copy for me to read and review. One of my goals since starting my bookstagram was to dive into more nonfiction. I tried to read a true crime book last year that is widely known and loved and I struggled to get into it so I was a little apprehensive going into LAST CALL. LAST CALL is a slow burn story on a serial killer in the 1990s targeting queer men in NYC. The case and the killer are not well known so it's unlikely that you've heard of him. The story starts off pretty detailed and gruesome with some things I probably could've gone without reading but I actually ended up really enjoying it. The story picks up in the second half as we learn more about the killer and his background. And let me just say, it was not at all what I was expecting. Once the story finishes the author includes notes and research pertaining to how he wrote his and it's very interesting to see what all he did to make this all happen. For my true crime fans, I would definitely recommend this one!

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