Book Review: Unmasked by Paul Holes

Book Review: Unmasked by Paul Holes

Thank you to Celadon Books for sending me a free copy, all opinions are my own.


PAUL HOLES: I started getting involved in what became known as the Golden State Killer case back in 1994. My interest in the case started out more akin to a passing hobby, but the last 10 years, it turned into a raging passion that consumed me. This case was one that I took on — no boss at the Sheriff’s Office assigned it to me, so it was not considered part of my job responsibilities. I had to work on my obsession whenever I could, often at home, taking me away from family. 

While at work, I would sneak out of the office to track down leads, always anxious that my bosses would find out I was halfway across the state when they thought I was in my office. The obsession (after I became attached to some of the killer’s victims and their family members, it turned into an obligation) would take over all my thoughts, both at work and at home. I neglected my family and my own mental health. 

No question, capturing DeAngelo was an accomplishment I’m proud of, but most readers are unaware of the toll that working a case of this magnitude for so long had on me. The book will give readers insight into what I was exposed to during my career, along with the all-consuming nature of the Golden State Killer case, and how those factors really had a negative impact that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

My Review:

This is going to be a short review, because all I can really say is this book is excellent. This is a must read if you like true crime and even more of a must read if you read Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. That wildly popular true crime book about the Golden State killer mentions Paul Holes. Both McNamara and Holes became friends as they worked together to solve that case: Holes as a detective looking into cold cases and McNamara as an investigative journalist. 

Much of Unmasked covers his time investigating the Golden State killer. But there’s much more. This memoir style book talks candidly about Holes’ start in police work and his journey throughout. He humbly mentions the toll his work has taken on his personal relationships and his family and I really appreciated his reflections about it. 

The book is very well written and very readable, I highly recommend it to all non-fiction, true crime, and crime readers! Thanks to Celadon Books for my free copy!