Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review: Last Call by Elon Green (audio)


Title: Last Call
Author: Elon Green
Narrator: David Pittu
Published: March 2021, Macmillan Audio
Length: 8 hours 11 minutes
Source: Publisher

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.


My thoughts:  Nonfiction is a genre I'm trying to read more of, and one area I have found a new love of is true crime. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at it...and I'm so glad I did.

This is a gripping story of the serial killer who targeted gay men in New York City during the 1990s. I loved how it was set-up, giving us a little background on each victim and then providing us some information on each murder. We see where each victim was on their last night, their last interactions and the places they visited. It was like being a spectator going along for the ride, that's how vivid the writing was at times.

What I also appreciated is how the author highlighted just how little attention these cases garnered due to the fact of who the victims were. This was a time when the AIDS epidemic was running rampant and the police and local media seemed to not be taking crimes against the gay community seriously. 

I loved that this book focused more on the victims than the killer. Yes, we do eventually learn who the killer is and a bit about him, but I love that this is not an ode to him. And it is so evident just how much research went into this book. It is an intense read but one that flows naturally and doesn't get bogged down at any time. I found myself completely immersed in the victims' stories and then just as interested in who would do these heinous acts. Such a clever way to set up the book.

Audio thoughts: I find listening to nonfiction works really well for me and this was definitely true for this book. I was completely captivated by this book and the narrator, David Pittu did a fantastic job narrating this one. His cadence and tone were just right. And included at the end of the audio is an interview with the author where he discusses the book and his journey to bringing this book to life. It is completely fascinating and answers quite a lot of questions, especially how he structured the story and why he decided to write it in the first place. 


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