Read about an unsolved true crime case in a national park
Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders — Kathryn Miles
Today’s recommendation is a brand-new release, out in stores now as of today, May 3, 2022. Keep reading to have a chance to win an advance reader’s copy of this book!
And stay tuned for next week, where you will have a chance to win another new release!
What to Read This Week
Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles
What It’s About
In May 1996, two women, Julie and Lollie, set off on a backpacking trip in the Shenandoah National Park, hiking along part of the Appalachian Trail. They were found later brutally murdered at their campsite, and after a frenzy of quick investigating with no answers, the case went cold. It remained that way for decades, even though law enforcement had a person of interest in custody for another crime.
When Kathryn Miles learned of the case, she couldn’t shake it, and wanted to do some digging of her own. Her research into trail history, national parks, and wilderness for women is what was most fascinating about this book, in my opinion. She discusses the history of hikers and how it’s a different experience for women hikers or hikers of color, how bears aren’t the only threats to keep in mind.
Miles also takes a deep dive into the initial investigation in the case, bringing up issues that trail officers had with the way the FBI handled the case, and vice versa. Evidence was removed from the scene too quickly, was mishandled, and was lost. Authorities argued with one another, and then didn’t release info to the public, so trail hikers found themselves confused, scared, and at the mercy of whoever was out there.
Who Will Like It
Obviously those interested in true crime will immediately gravitate toward this, but I’d actually also put this in the hands of those interested in camping and wilderness, especially those wanting to learn more about marginalized communities in these spaces. While Miles isn’t able to find anyone from that time period who was trans or nonbinary hiking in the woods, she does discuss how it’s difficult for a woman, particularly women who were likely part of the queer community, according to those close to them, to be out on their own in the woods at that time, and even now.
I do think the subtitle is a bit of a misleader, as it’s not really a “quest to solve” the case. Nothing is wrapped up, so don’t expect a resolution, and no new crucial information is presented. But it is a fascinating look at crimes committed on public land and what steps are being taken (spoiler: they aren’t) to keep hikers and campers safe.
Other true crime books I’ve loved include My Friend Anna (way better and more informative than the TV show counterpart, Inventing Anna) and Highway of Tears, which I’ve recommended before on the newsletter.
This week, I am giving away my advance reader’s copy of Trailed to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment on this post saying you’d like to read this book. If you want a bonus entry, share this newsletter on any social media platform of your choosing, and come back and leave a second comment that you shared it (honor system, folks!). Plus, there will be another small surprise in the package!
US residents only, or must have a US mailing address, for shipping purposes. Must feel comfortable sharing shipping address with me (will not be shared elsewhere). Not affiliated with Substack, author, or publisher. Must be 13+ years to enter.
Can’t get enough, or looking for a different recommendation? Browse the archives, or check out some popular past recommendations:
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