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Publisher's Summary

One after another, they appear by the sides of suburban roads and freeways - the naked, strangled bodies of women who have been raped, tortured, and left for dead. 

Police begin to suspect that their target is a rogue operator who has emerged from their own ranks. And then, all hell breaks loose in Los Angeles. 

An arrest in the strangling murders of two co-eds across state lines finally leads to a break in the case, but the suspect is someone, or something, the investigators could have ever expected. 

None of them are prepared for the dark journey through the mazes of the human mind it will take to unlock the door to justice.

From the author of the best-selling Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise, A City Owned is the true story of the worst case of serial sex homicide in American history.

©2018 OJ Modjeska (P)2019 OJ Modjeska

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Awful Narrator Of An Excellent Story

The actual story as written by OJ Modjeska is well crafted and researched. The details about the horrifying series of brutal murders whereby first prostitutes then women from all walks of life are expressed with just the right blend of factual details and emotions. Modesta ensures that you travel back in time to those years where an entire city and the women in it were under siege. You feel both the frustration of the homicide detectives involved in trying to make sense of the series of extremely savage murders and the anger of a city under siege. There were many important details that law enforcement ignored and never investigated and at times as you listen to yet another woman's body found you feel a sense of frustration with the police who missed so many chances to locate the killers.
The fact the women whose bodies were found were prostitutes meant the police barely investigated. The force at that time had a strong misogynistic streak and most police then felt that prostitutes took the risk of murder when they chose sex work so they essentially blamed those women for being murdered. Listening to these attitudes and how they callously treated and barely investigated those women's murders is frustrating.

We learn, however, about a pioneering female academic who had begun studying sex workers for her postgraduate research and, over time, with countless interactions with the workers she had begun to not only know the dynamics that had led them to prostitution - typically a history of both physical and sexual abuse by male relatives - but to get to know the women working the streets and she became an advocate for sex workers at a time when that was unheard of. Modjeska explores how that advocate not only was trusted by the prostitutes but if any went missing she'd be the first to hear of it. When prostitutes began turning up murdered and showing signs of extreme torture, likely by two men, this academic-turned-advocate went to the police and she tried to have them properly investigate the deaths. She also got a good sense of the type of men involved and yet the police ignored her warnings that soon women who weren't sex workers would be next.

Modjeska paints a clear picture of the attitudes of society at the time the serial killers were at work and the fears of the women of Las Angeles when it was revealed that not just one but likely two brutal serial killers were targeting females from all walks of life. When it was revealed that these murderers were posing as law enforcement and that no social class, age, occupation or particular physical 'type' was safe from these murderers stalking the streets at night, the pressure on the police to find the killers was tremendous. If you're a woman listening to this book, you'll feel the fear that the women back then when the serial killers dubbed "The Hillside (or Boston) Strangler" were at large and walking anywhere at night, especially without a male companion, was to risk being the next victim of absolutely savage men who physically tortured and sexually assaulted women for hours until eventually murdering them then dumping their bodies by the roadside, typically in sexually suggestive poses that deliberately mocked the victims.

The main criticism of this audiobook is the narrator, Diane Box-Worman. After enjoying the e-book, I found the audio version absolutely atrocious. As soon as you hear Box-Worman speak, you're hearing the raspy voice of an old New York woman who can't express emotions convincingly although she tries. Her narration drags down the otherwise excellent book. If the author or publishers had wanted a mature-sounding woman, there's many others they could've chosen who would still have been able to convey gravitas and the serious nature of the often graphic depictions of the torture and murders described. This narrator's raspy and brash voice is sometimes thin and quavery with age and further detracts from the excellent writing.

This book needed a narrator that sounded emotionally engaged with the story and able to express emotions of characters, ranging from detectives struggling to find the killers to the victims, and the anguish of the families whose loved ones were savagely tortured and slain by the two murderers. It was not at all enjoyable to listen to this narrator who sounds like a brusque New York pensioner whose smoked too many cigarettes and is struggling to emote whilst heavily medicated for depression or who is bored. The book is a stirring true crime story and one of the worst serial sexually motivated serial killings in U.S. history. To have this narrator is a huge let down and does a disservice to the author and the story. It made listening to this audiobook a slog and unfortunately the same is true for this book's sequel where the same narrator was used. Whilst authors don't always have a say in who'll narrate their books, OJ Modjeska should have this book and its sequel re-done with a narrator who has gravitas, expresses emotions fully, and is genuinely interested in the story.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.