web site hit counter The Last Stone - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Last Stone

Availability: Ready to download

The true story of a cold case, a compulsive liar, and five determined detectives, from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author and “master journalist” (The Wall Street Journal).   On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages ten and twelve, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found The true story of a cold case, a compulsive liar, and five determined detectives, from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author and “master journalist” (The Wall Street Journal).   On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages ten and twelve, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and the mystery endured.   Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware.   The acclaimed author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968 had been a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper at the time of the original disappearance, and covered the frantic first weeks of the story. In The Last Stone, he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? The Last Stone recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.  


Compare

The true story of a cold case, a compulsive liar, and five determined detectives, from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author and “master journalist” (The Wall Street Journal).   On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages ten and twelve, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found The true story of a cold case, a compulsive liar, and five determined detectives, from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author and “master journalist” (The Wall Street Journal).   On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages ten and twelve, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and the mystery endured.   Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware.   The acclaimed author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968 had been a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper at the time of the original disappearance, and covered the frantic first weeks of the story. In The Last Stone, he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? The Last Stone recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.  

30 review for The Last Stone

  1. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joey R.

    4.0 Stars —I decided to read “The Last Stone” by Mark Bowden after reading a dud for my last book and wanting to try something different in the true crime genre. What makes this one different from any other true crime book is that it primarily consists of years of interviews with an inmate that cold case detectives believe to be responsible for the disappearance and death of two young girls from Maryland in 1975. These detectives reopen the case in 2013, and upon re-interviewing witnesses, devel 4.0 Stars —I decided to read “The Last Stone” by Mark Bowden after reading a dud for my last book and wanting to try something different in the true crime genre. What makes this one different from any other true crime book is that it primarily consists of years of interviews with an inmate that cold case detectives believe to be responsible for the disappearance and death of two young girls from Maryland in 1975. These detectives reopen the case in 2013, and upon re-interviewing witnesses, develop Lloyd Lee Welch, an imprisoned child molester, as a suspect. I found it absolutely fascinating how the detectives were able to extract the truth from Welch by developing a friendship with him and disproving every lie he told over a several year period. The fact that Welch kept talking to them was a miracle, but because he did, the detectives were able to finally get to the point where they had enough evidence to arrest him for the girl’s’ murders. The most fascinating part of the book was reading how the very slick Welch tried to talk his way out of trouble by telling lie after lie and changing his story over and over in an attempt to cast blame on others. The book is very well written by Bowden and does an excellent job of laying out how the detectives outsmarted Welch again and again. I loved it and highly recommend it to those who like high stakes verbal sparring where the only way to get to the truth is through outsmarting a very sophisticated criminal. Definitely unlike any book I’ve ever read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    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 old 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “Before leaving [the police station], Lloyd was given a lecture about lying to the police. He was enormously relieved. The Montgomery County police were swimming in useless tips just then. Given the urgency of the situation, the kid wasn’t just a nuisance, he was a serious waste of time. They had no doubt sized him up as a local knucklehead, obviously high, trying to insinuate himself into the story, play the hero, and collect a reward…Lloyd seemed stupid, not suspicious. How much sense would it “Before leaving [the police station], Lloyd was given a lecture about lying to the police. He was enormously relieved. The Montgomery County police were swimming in useless tips just then. Given the urgency of the situation, the kid wasn’t just a nuisance, he was a serious waste of time. They had no doubt sized him up as a local knucklehead, obviously high, trying to insinuate himself into the story, play the hero, and collect a reward…Lloyd seemed stupid, not suspicious. How much sense would it make, after all, for someone involved with a kidnapping to draw attention to himself by claiming to be a witness and telling an elaborate lie? The six-page typed transcript of the interview went into a ring binder with all the other stray bits. A one-page report was written up. At the top, [Detective Steve] Hargrove wrote, “LIED.” After that, the department didn’t give Lloyd Welch a second thought. Not for thirty-eight years…” - Mark Bowden, The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation True crime is a robust genre with many different avenues of approach. Most typical is the whodunnit, when we follow dogged investigators as they try to find their perpetrator. Then there is the whydunit, which is an exploration of a criminal’s motivations, focusing not on the mystery of the crime itself, but on what led to it. Rarer, though not entirely absent, is the book that focuses on the victim, or the victim’s family, as survivors try to pick up the pieces of a life that has shattered like glass. Though I occasionally felt myself slogging through Mark Bowden’s The Last Stone, I will give him credit for going in an entirely different direction. This is a deep dive into a very particular aspect of a criminal investigation: the interrogation of a suspect. The crime at issue in The Last Stone is the 1975 abduction of Katherine and Sheila Lyon – ages 10 and 12, respectively – from the shopping mall in Wheaton, Maryland. On March 25 of that year, the sisters – on their spring break – went to the mall together. While they were there, they were seen by their brother. Later that afternoon, a friend reported them on the street, apparently heading home. They never made it. Save for the person or persons who took them, they were never seen again. While a stranger abduction is exceedingly rare, it happens, and it is no less terrifying for the mathematical odds against it happening. The story quickly became national news, and Bowden – famous as the author of Black Hawk Down – reported on the matter as a young journalist for the Baltimore News-American. In the days following the abduction, however, there was not much to report. The girls were not found. Days turned to weeks, weeks into months, and then months into years. All this background is covered in an extremely summary fashion by Bowden. Though he had the opportunity to interview the parents in the immediate aftermath of this crime, he spends very little time on the Lyon sisters or their parents. Indeed, there were times in this book that I lost sight of them as the victims, and viewed them almost as an abstraction, clues to a puzzle that the police were trying to solve. Rather than delving into the Lyons as people, or the original police investigation, Bowden throws us into a car with members of the Montgomery County Police Department’s “Lyon squad,” as they head to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. The officers – in particular Detective Dave Davis – are on their way to talk to a man named Lloyd Welch. Back in 1975, Welch had actually been interviewed by the police regarding the Lyon sisters. In point of fact, he claimed to have seen them being led away. After his interview, he took a polygraph, which he failed. Having voluntarily placed himself into the scene of the crime, and then having been caught lying, you would be forgiven for assuming that Welch became the prime suspect in the Lyon girls’ abduction. Instead, he walked out of the police station, and was not noticed again by investigators for decades. When the Lyon squad reaches Welch’s prison, they begin a series of lengthy interviews that stretch over several years. These interrogation sessions – many of them repeated verbatim – form the bulk of The Last Stone. I cannot stress this point enough. The majority of these pages are nothing more than transcripts, with occasional annotations by Bowden to clarify a statement or alert you to Welch changing his story. Like many criminals before him, Welch thought himself quite a bit smarter than reality would indicate. After a bit of initial hemming and hawing, he agreed to talk, and then couldn’t shut himself up. His story always shifted, but the Lyon squad doggedly chased down every lead he gave them. The advantage to showing these transcripts is that you get a real sense of the persistence and unbelievable patience of the investigators. They never scoffed at Welch’s outlandish claims, they never corrected him, they never cut him off. They just let him talk, occasionally confronting him with alternate evidence that forced him to wiggle and squirm. In short, the police were playing three-dimensional chess, while Lloyd Welch was playing checkers. The downside to Bowden’s approach is twofold. First, it gets repetitive. The Last Stone is exhausting in the way it keeps you in the interrogation room with Welch, repeating every single one of his outlandish story tweaks. Bowden seems to do very little editing to the sessions, with the result that many banalities are repeated that add nothing to our ultimate understanding of things. Second, Bowden misses an opportunity to enlighten readers about the criminal interrogation process. In fact, I’d say he does the opposite. Bowden calls the Lyon squad’s work a “masterpiece of sustained criminal interrogation,” but it’s not. To be sure, the police were tenacious, they were persistent, and they eventually came to understand Welch’s style in ways that profoundly helped their cause. Yet this was no “masterpiece.” During the many talks they had with Welch, the detectives threatened him, made promises to him, lied about his immunity waiver, and ignored Welch’s repeated invocations of counsel. At one point, they even forgot to record a critical portion of an interview. While Bowden finally – at the very end of the book – gets around to some of these glaring issues (and to be sure, my view of the constitutionality of the tactics involved was different from that of the judge in Welch’s case), I can’t help but thinking how much better The Last Stone could have been if Bowden had broken up the endless interrogation scenes with some legal context. For instance, it appeared to me that Detective Davis and his partners were using a variation of the Reid Technique in their handling of Welch. A proprietary method that is sold to police departments, the Reid Technique involves tactics such as allowing the interviewee to shift blame, or to admit to a lesser evil, even though it is also a crime. This discussion would have been interesting, would have created better pacing, and also would have reinforced a detail that Bowden never acknowledges: that false confessions happen. For instance, twenty-five percent of convictions overturned by DNA evidence involved a “confession” by the innocent accused. These things happen, and they especially happen when an interrogation is conducted in a certain manner. Frankly, I am a bit disappointed with this one, especially considering Bowden’s reputation. Long segments felt phoned in. Bowden does not go the extra mile, as he did in Black Hawk Down. However, I realize that part of the disappointment comes from the way this all unfolds, and how it ends. This boils down to the Liar’s Paradox: at what point can you be certain that a committed liar such as Lloyd Welch is being honest? In this case, it seemed like the police kept him talking until he settled on the story they wanted, or as close to it as they could get. Even the officers involved seemed uncertain that they reached anything resembling the “truth.” In short, The Last Stone tries to convince you that it has reached a resolution, when all it has done is left you with more questions than when you started. Of course, when you are dealing with two little girls who were swallowed by the world, there is never going to be a happy ending.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    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

  6. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    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...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "The taking of Sheila and Kate Lyon had cried out for justice over decades. It wasn't just a mystery; it was a regional trauma . . . For the Montgomery County Police Department, it was also an embarrassment, a blot both professional and personal . . . it was unsolved, the most notorious such case on its books." -- page 12 Just prior to Easter weekend in 1975, two pre-teen sisters from a suburban community adjacent to Washington, D.C. went to a shopping mall and were never seen again, simply vanis "The taking of Sheila and Kate Lyon had cried out for justice over decades. It wasn't just a mystery; it was a regional trauma . . . For the Montgomery County Police Department, it was also an embarrassment, a blot both professional and personal . . . it was unsolved, the most notorious such case on its books." -- page 12 Just prior to Easter weekend in 1975, two pre-teen sisters from a suburban community adjacent to Washington, D.C. went to a shopping mall and were never seen again, simply vanishing into thin air. The investigation stalled out for 38 years until the MCPD's cold case squad performed a follow-up investigation on a supposed witness to the Lyon kidnapping, a man now incarcerated in Delaware on a child molestation conviction. Very soon the detectives realized he was instead their likely suspect. Bowden's The Last Stone details the work of the three MCPD detectives - Dave Davis, Katie Leggett, and Mark Janney - responsible for the numerous interviews over a 21-month period in which, at long last, actual progress was made. Lloyd Welch, a shifty career criminal who dabbled in all sorts of multiple offenses - burglary, assault and battery, robbery, drunk driving, sexual assault of minors - and from a questionable and backwards Virginian mountain family (that apparently included incest and sexual abuse among its pastimes) was ultimately charged / convicted for the sisters' murders. The Last Stone was not a perfect true crime book - though no fault of its own, it is very much a heavy 'talking head' narrative, with probably over 90% of the content taking place in the prison interview room. Since Welch changes his supplied narratives on a whim it can be confusing to keep all of the names and locations in order. (One has to wonder what it felt like for the involved detectives.) Still, the story is a testament to good and thorough police work in a difficult, long dormant investigation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Murray

    In 1975, when the Lyon sisters were abducted from Wheaton Plaza in Montgomery County, Maryland, I lived about 40 miles north in Baltimore. I was a year older than Sheila Lyon, the older sister, as the mystery and horror of the case made the news in the entire region. It was very scary at the time. How could two young girls, 12 and 10, simply disappear without a trace? Two years later, I remember visiting friends in Montgomery County and we ended up at a mall. They pointed out to me that 'this is In 1975, when the Lyon sisters were abducted from Wheaton Plaza in Montgomery County, Maryland, I lived about 40 miles north in Baltimore. I was a year older than Sheila Lyon, the older sister, as the mystery and horror of the case made the news in the entire region. It was very scary at the time. How could two young girls, 12 and 10, simply disappear without a trace? Two years later, I remember visiting friends in Montgomery County and we ended up at a mall. They pointed out to me that 'this is the mall where the Lyon sisters were last seen." I remember feeling a chill as we approached the door at night. So this story has been with me for a long time. Ten years after the abduction, I met my future wife. Shortly after we started dating, she revealed to me that Sheila Lyon was in her homeroom class at school and that their lockers were near each other at the time she disappeared. While I knew some of the casual facts of the case, it was a horror story that my wife observed from very close. While we both followed the events surrounding the cold case being solved in 2015, "The Last Stone" was an opportunity for us to learn more about what happened behind the scenes. Even if we didn't want to know. "The Last Stone", while extremely sad and tragic, is also a masterful look at the brilliance of four Maryland detectives who brought the perpetrator, Lloyd Lee Welch, to justice forty years after the abduction and murder of the Lyon sisters. The book, comprised largely from interrogation transcripts from the ten interviews with Welch, gives readers an intimate glimpse inside the mind of an evil killer as well as the calculating and patient minds of the detectives who draw out his confession. Bowden juxtaposes the encounters, and the reactions among the detectives, in such a way that the cat and mouse tango truly reads like the game that it was. Welch lying to the detectives to protect himself; detectives lying to Welch to trick him into an admission. As a reader, I held on to every word, eager to see how the manipulation of the interrogators would bring about the desired results from the suspect. You may not ever find a more compelling crime drama novel that compares to this true story. In the end, there are still many questions left to both the author, the detectives, and the reader. This book is not for everyone. The accounts of the crimes are gruesome; the intent of the killer is beyond disturbing. But, this is an important book because it speaks for those that can not speak.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    My rating is entirely for how the book is written, and is in no way reflective of the incredible amount of police work that it took to bring two little girls' murderer to justice. I have nothing but respect for those who worked on the case and managed to bring at least a little peace to the Lyon family. This book is boring as hell. If you enjoy reading interview transcripts for hours, especially ones that are repetitive to the point of nearly bringing you to tears, I would highly recommend this b My rating is entirely for how the book is written, and is in no way reflective of the incredible amount of police work that it took to bring two little girls' murderer to justice. I have nothing but respect for those who worked on the case and managed to bring at least a little peace to the Lyon family. This book is boring as hell. If you enjoy reading interview transcripts for hours, especially ones that are repetitive to the point of nearly bringing you to tears, I would highly recommend this book to you. Otherwise, I'd recommend skipping it. The "author" of the story does very little here, except add a little explanation here or there and summarizes a bit. The vast majority of this book is verbatim interview transcripts. Lloyd Welch is a liar and stumbles over himself and his story multiple times, and it was incredibly dull to read him tweak his story just a little bit every time to try to weasel out of trouble. Great work to the police officers who refused to give up until they brought a measure of justice to Sheila and Kate, but a huge "meh" for this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    I'm quite conflicted in how to rate this book. It's a full 2.5 stars for what the nuance of a liar, sociopath, life long user of other humans, schmoozer and despicable example of homo sapiens- his cognition. How he talks continually and morphs his stories throughout the length of the book. To the same people without apology for changing details 8 or 9 times. In that regard it deserves a 3 star or maybe even a 4 star for the authenticity of reading 300 plus pages of his various "truth" tales too. I'm quite conflicted in how to rate this book. It's a full 2.5 stars for what the nuance of a liar, sociopath, life long user of other humans, schmoozer and despicable example of homo sapiens- his cognition. How he talks continually and morphs his stories throughout the length of the book. To the same people without apology for changing details 8 or 9 times. In that regard it deserves a 3 star or maybe even a 4 star for the authenticity of reading 300 plus pages of his various "truth" tales too. Because that just how murderers with his personality habits are. But the way the book was organized in its telling will not let me round it up? And the length (page copy count) of the perp's "voice"- how that is chapter after chapter allowed and encouraged? Quite typical? Redundant as any old cold case or "he always takes the central stage attention type psycho" drama of 4 or 5 decades, for sure. But at the same time- it was ridiculous in presentation for a book to stick with that mountain of BS repeated and altered. At one point I think I counted the 6th different "I'm sure" story he told about the day in that Mall when those two girls went missing- where he saw them and what he said to them. Quite beyond the car situations or rides after results of leaving. And the suppositions of the ending opinions? I do think that is the first time I've ever come across that sticking their necks out guessing (very wise and savvy guesses for sure though) from that many officers (4) as an "ending". In this genre of non-fiction or any genre in related fields either. Not even within forensics highly criteria supported "possibilities". This also is the very saddest and most horrific all around that I think I had ever heard in such detail. Because, for sure, it wasn't just the one bastard of 18 years of age. But an entire clan and cabal of horrific evil intents and actions that they endured. And in an era when kids roamed and learned in quite other and wider avenues than they do now, on top of it. With far, far more innocence of physical knowledge to sexual activity. Or to this type of horrendous reality existing. Presently this kind of exact scenario is happening at our Southern border (USA) in both individual and organizational varieties. In far greater numbers and it is being tolerated as part of a "compassion" convolution? Trafficking children for sex, porn films and worse (yes WORSE) is more widespread and on going because of dark web customers' access & $$$ too. Children being traded off for "use" and throwaways to sex slave groups to get the "relative" adult into the wider system releases. These kids (Katie, Sharon) who were tortured and then killed were just about 5 or 6 years younger than I am. So I know how innocent they most probably were in that Mall. No E.D. commercials or ads that relate that this coil is easier to manage than a 2 year old toddler. (I just heard that one and I nearly upchucked.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Bowden is a talented writer who keeps the story moving along. This book details the story of the abduction of two sisters from Washington, D.C. Katherine and Sheila Lyons disappeared from a suburban mall in 1975. They were never seen again and their bodies have not been found. Though the very detailed interrogations seem to go on and on at times, it’s a riveting story and Bowden tells it with detail and finesse. The person who confessed and who this entire book is built around, Lloyd Welch, is a Bowden is a talented writer who keeps the story moving along. This book details the story of the abduction of two sisters from Washington, D.C. Katherine and Sheila Lyons disappeared from a suburban mall in 1975. They were never seen again and their bodies have not been found. Though the very detailed interrogations seem to go on and on at times, it’s a riveting story and Bowden tells it with detail and finesse. The person who confessed and who this entire book is built around, Lloyd Welch, is as evil as they come. Reading his words made me so angry and the book ends with no real resolution. I really liked this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a true crime book about a Cold Case. In 1975, two sisters, aged ten and twelve, disappeared from a shopping mall in Maryland. The girls are never found and nobody is ever charged with the crime. In 2013, a cold case detective, finds something previously overlooked, which links events to Lloyd Welch, currently in prison, for a crime against a child. At first, the detectives hope that Welch will provide them with evidence implicating a man they felt was the main suspect. However, after ini This is a true crime book about a Cold Case. In 1975, two sisters, aged ten and twelve, disappeared from a shopping mall in Maryland. The girls are never found and nobody is ever charged with the crime. In 2013, a cold case detective, finds something previously overlooked, which links events to Lloyd Welch, currently in prison, for a crime against a child. At first, the detectives hope that Welch will provide them with evidence implicating a man they felt was the main suspect. However, after initial interviews, it seems that Welch may be of more interest than they first imagined. Over the pages of this book, we see the investigators gradually try to get to the bottom of events, which happened nearly forty years before. Welch is currently in prison, serving a thirty three year sentence for the sexual assault of a ten year old, but he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, as the questioning commences, it seems that, despite realising it is in his best interests not to reveal details of those events, Welch, firstly, can’t resist talking to the investigators and, two, is completely unable to keep his story straight. The investigators patiently, over a number of visits, tease details from Welch about the unsolved crime. Now, for those who like books where everything is neatly tied up and packaged, this is not for you. Real life is rarely neatly ended and, those involved with this case, are to be applauded for trying to bring some resolution to the parents of those two girls. However, with so much time having passed, it is difficult for this to be resolved perfectly. That said, I found this a fascinating glimpse into the case built up against the suspect, the way that the investigators did everything they could to try to discover what happened and how Welch was revealed as, not only a maladjusted individual, but as the member of an incredibly dysfunctional background. A fascinating, if difficult, read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    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!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I found this book disturbing for two very different reasons. The first is obvious. As a young crime reporter in Baltimore, Mark Bowden covered the disappearance of two young girls ,Sheila and Kate Lyon, from a suburban mall in 1975. Despite the best efforts of the community, no trace of them was ever found. Forty years later, a retiring cop reviewing cold case files notices a small detail in a tip that the cops received at the time of the initial search, and when they track down tipster Lloyd Wel I found this book disturbing for two very different reasons. The first is obvious. As a young crime reporter in Baltimore, Mark Bowden covered the disappearance of two young girls ,Sheila and Kate Lyon, from a suburban mall in 1975. Despite the best efforts of the community, no trace of them was ever found. Forty years later, a retiring cop reviewing cold case files notices a small detail in a tip that the cops received at the time of the initial search, and when they track down tipster Lloyd Welch, they find him in prison for the molestation of a young girl. The detectives approach Welch, first considering him a potential witness, eventually a suspect, and with little leverage over him (with his prison term almost up, why would he now risk being charged with anything else?), they nonetheless begin to interrogate him, bringing every psychological trick they can to bear. They're led to a family in which child abuse, incest, and violence were common, and which would have been entirely capable of making two young girls vanish. This is all manifestly awful. But over the course of the book, I was also disturbed by the lengths to which the police were able to go in their efforts to resolve this case. They interview Welch multiple times over the course of two years, generally for eight hours at a time, with investigators tagging out so that they can stay sharp while Welch gets increasingly worn down. No lawyer is present--although Welch is entitled to one, the cops repeatedly remind him they're "just talking," and make offers of immunity which aren't worth the paper they're printed on. For example, when a particularly important interview is deemed potentially inadmissible because of failure to bring in a lawyer, the cops contrive a reason to take Welch on a long car trip where they get him to repeat the story, this time without any request for a lawyer present, telling him that it's okay to talk, since they're just rehashing what the cops already know anyway. As someone who would very much like to see child murderers investigated and punished, it still makes my skin crawl to see the supposed institutions of justice trampling all over the rules in search of a conviction. It's also a bit hard to see the value of much of this effort. The detectives realize early on that Welch is a pathological liar who draws on any information they give him to to minimize his own involvement and cast suspicion on others. By my rough count, Welch tries to implicate eight other people over the course of his interviews, most of whom end up with the police digging through their lives no matter how spurious the accusation against them: one of the people supposedly involved in luring the girls away from the mall was at the time 11-years old and in an upper body cast. Despite this, when Welch says something self-incriminating, it's immediately treated as a strike against him, even if it means dramatically recasting the theory of the case. It comes off less as a sincere effort to figure out what really happened, and more as a desperate attempt to find a passably credible story which allows them to pin the crime on the guy they already have in custody. At the end of the day, I want the Lyon family to finally have closure for the disappearance of their daughters, and if the perpetrator(s) are still alive, I want them brought to justice. But I'm also aware that the job of police is not to find the truth, but to secure convictions. I'm aware that some suspects subjected to intensive interrogation confess to things they haven't actually done. Mark Bowden seems to view this as a story of expert investigators playing a game of cat-and-mouse to solve a decades-old murder. I just saw it as a reminder that if you're every unfortunate enough to attract the suspicion of The System, you can expect it to bring every one of its resources to bear against you until you're ground down to nothing, and there will be people who call that Justice. I wasn't left with admiration for the cleverness and dedication of the cops, but disgust for a criminal justice system that tolerates this kind of nonsense. An eye-opening read, but perhaps not in the way the author had intended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    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. 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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    I grew up in suburban Maryland and was the same age as Sheila Lyon, 12. It was an awful time. We were so scared. Everything was about "The Lyon Girls." I remember their father, John Lyon, the DJ at a local radio station, WMAL, pleading for their return. The story of what happened to these two young girls is absolutely horrifying. As previous reviewers stated, this is crime fiction at its very best. But oh, I couldn't wait till it ended. I grew up in suburban Maryland and was the same age as Sheila Lyon, 12. It was an awful time. We were so scared. Everything was about "The Lyon Girls." I remember their father, John Lyon, the DJ at a local radio station, WMAL, pleading for their return. The story of what happened to these two young girls is absolutely horrifying. As previous reviewers stated, this is crime fiction at its very best. But oh, I couldn't wait till it ended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This was not a pleasant read. The details of a horrific crime related over and over. It's always interesting when a cold case is solved or when good detective work solves a case. I'm just not sure THIS material warranted a book. Also, I didn't love his writing style and I think he should have given the girls more humanity. This was not a pleasant read. The details of a horrific crime related over and over. It's always interesting when a cold case is solved or when good detective work solves a case. I'm just not sure THIS material warranted a book. Also, I didn't love his writing style and I think he should have given the girls more humanity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan Albert

    This report of the eventual conviction of the man responsible for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of two young girls in 1975 focuses on the patient, determined work of a team of detectives who used all the tools at their disposal, including lying, to coax a confession out of a pathological liar. Mark Bowden puts his finger on the challenge of investigating--and writing about--a 40-year-old cold case: To discern the truth, an investigator (or a writer) must interpret testimony. You begin by askin This report of the eventual conviction of the man responsible for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of two young girls in 1975 focuses on the patient, determined work of a team of detectives who used all the tools at their disposal, including lying, to coax a confession out of a pathological liar. Mark Bowden puts his finger on the challenge of investigating--and writing about--a 40-year-old cold case: To discern the truth, an investigator (or a writer) must interpret testimony. You begin by asking basic questions: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why? The answers are then assembled into a narrative, an orderly progression of time, cause, and effect. And yet, anyone who investigates crimes, or who writes true stories, knows how untidy the process is and how readily such stories can break down. Often there are too many causes and too many effects to completely sort out. Human motivation is too hard to pin down, pieces refuse to fit, and memories notoriously differ. Add the passage of decades and the problem gets harder. Much of the book consists of Bowden's report of the 70-some hours of the detectives' dogged interrogations of Lloyd Welch and the numerous narratives he fabricated in an attempt to avoid the truth. I was fascinated by Bowden's extensive use of actual dialogue (reproduced from the recorded/videotaped interviews), and the detectives' improvisational counter-narratives that led Welch ever deeper into the truth. Some readers may think there's too much dialogue, but to me, it was all necessary, for solving this crime depended on the detectives' reading of Welch's multiple narratives. Their interrogations were the equivalent of the excavation of layers upon layers of a very old, very complex physical crime scene. And even then, we don't get down to the truth, for as Bowden writes, what we get in a “true story,” is at best "artful, informed, honest speculation. At bottom, this is what we call history." The Last Stone is also the story of the appalling, despicable murders of two young girls and the culture of callous female victimization that produced it. I read it after reading (and reviewing) Sarah Weinman's excellent book, The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World, which is about Vladimir's Nabokov's sordid recasting of a similar, earlier crime. The Last Stone is the story that Nabokov should have told. Both these books take on a painful significance in the context of Jeffrey Epstein's rearrest on charges of child sex trafficking. Books like these are hard to read, because they show us an ugly, hateful part of our world that we prefer not to see. Which makes them, in my view, all that more important.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Normalishmom

    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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

    If it wasn't for Lloyd Welch (the centerpiece of the book) this would have been a better reading experience. The guy is beyond tiring and there's no way to tell the story of the missing Lyon sisters without a large dose of him. The flip side of Welch is the dogged work of the detectives who persisted through a dearth of evidence on a four decade old cold case. Bravo for their doggedness. I'm a big Mark Bowden fan and his style here is similar to his earlier books. That's a good thing. I prefer hi If it wasn't for Lloyd Welch (the centerpiece of the book) this would have been a better reading experience. The guy is beyond tiring and there's no way to tell the story of the missing Lyon sisters without a large dose of him. The flip side of Welch is the dogged work of the detectives who persisted through a dearth of evidence on a four decade old cold case. Bravo for their doggedness. I'm a big Mark Bowden fan and his style here is similar to his earlier books. That's a good thing. I prefer his other true crime books "Doctor Dealer" and "Finders Keepers" because of the subjects of those books (i.e. no Lloyd Welch to persevere through). "The Last Stone" relates to a crime originating in Montgomery County, Maryland. For a better Maryland true crime reading experience I'd recommend "A Good Month for Murder" (Del Quentin Wilber) or "Homicide" (David Simon).

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    Story - 4.5 Stars Performance - 4.9 Stars This book pretty much documents "A sustained masterpiece of criminal interrogation. " Of course there's more, but interrogation is the main thing, here. If you like True Crime, then you should LISTEN to this. Richard Ferrone did such an outstanding job that his performance outshines an already great book. EDIT - I just realized that the killer character voice sounds like James Carville! Story - 4.5 Stars Performance - 4.9 Stars This book pretty much documents "A sustained masterpiece of criminal interrogation. " Of course there's more, but interrogation is the main thing, here. If you like True Crime, then you should LISTEN to this. Richard Ferrone did such an outstanding job that his performance outshines an already great book. EDIT - I just realized that the killer character voice sounds like James Carville!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.