Synopses & Reviews
From her first assignment in 1998 to explore an increase in the number of missing women to the harrowing 2002 interrogation of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton, Lori Shenher tells a story of massive police failurefailure of the police to use the information about Pickton available to them, failure to understand the dark world of drug addiction and sex work, and failure to save more women from their killer.
Shenher explains how police unwillingness to believe the women were missing or murdered, jurisdictional squabbles, and a fear of tunnel vision conspired to leave women unprotected and vulnerable to a serial killer nearly three years after she first received a tip that Pickton could be responsible. She unflinchingly reveals her own pain and psychological distress as a result of these events, which left her unable to work with or trust the police and the criminal justice system. That Lonely Section of Hell reveals the deeper truths behind the causes of this tragedy and the myriad ways the systemand societyfailed to protect vulnerable people.
Shenher's account of the investigation into the disappearances of sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside captures the frustration self recrimination anguish and helplessness she felt as head of Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) Missing Persons Review Team during the three long years it took to bring Robert Pickton in for questioning in what proved to be one of Canada's most notorious serial murder cases. Despite receiving what appeared to be credible leads from informants implicating Pickton in 1998 Shenher could not convince her colleagues or local RCMP officers to act on leads and investigate though women continued to disappear. Insufficient and uncooperative staff racism and other prejudice and a practice of ruling out possibilities before investigating them slowed the team's progress. It took a toll on Shenher. Nightmares uncontrolled anger drastic mood swings and other symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder eventually drove her from the VPD. Moving letters she wrote to the memory of five victims reflect the deep personal regret and remorse she felt at not being able to save these women from their fate. Shenher's highly readable book provides important insights into a horrifying case and the reasons that it remained unsolved for far too long. (Sept.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Shenher's inside account of the Pickton serial murders and the failed Missing Women investigation is both a horrifying and compelling read." Peter Vronsky, author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
"This impassioned, deeply personal memoir by a Vancouver cop vividly recalls the racism, sexism, and sheer incompetence that undermined the hunt for Canadas most prolific serial killer.”
William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing
As a family member of one of Vancouvers missing women, I am grateful to Detective Shenher for her perseverance, her determination and her kindness. I am also grateful to her for writing this book, for taking us deep into her personal experience of an investigation that went terribly wrong. We need to hear her story so we can change our ways, so those we push to the margins can be less vulnerable to violence from this day forward.
Maggie de Vries, Author of Missing Sarah and Rabbit Ears
In precise and unflinching prose, former detective Lori Shenher outlines a tragedy with a reach far greater, and more sinister, than Robert Picktons savage crimes. A moving and inspiring memoir by a cop who was shattered in the line of duty.”
Rachel Rose, author of Song and Spectacle
A stark, gritty, and chilling account of the flawed Pickton murder investigation that highlights the converging issues of racism, sexism, and institutionalized classist contempt that survival sex workers face and exposes the many ways the system failed to protect vulnerable women and to address the root causes of their fate.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
About the Author
Lori Shenher holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature and worked as a newspaper reporter before joining the Police Department in 1991. In 1998 she was the first and only detective tasked with finding Vancouver's missing women.