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Reviews for the Restless Sleep

All Things Considered, Aug, 17 Cold Case Commentary by Stacy Horn.

Newsday, July, 31. “With prose that moves from merely efficient to piercingly lyrical, Horn digests every scintilla of evidence the detectives turn up and uses them to reconstruct the chain of events that led to the victims’ violent ends … The Restless Sleep has enough forensic science to satisfy “CSI” fans and a series of intricate whodunits sure to hook people spending their summer vacation watching reruns of “Law & Order.” But this is more than a cop book. Diligent and deft, Horn has turned nobodies into somebodies. In doing so, she delivers up a deep and precise portrait of unvarnished human yearnings.” For the complete review, click here.

Daily Candy, July, 22. “Horn got unprecedented access to the elite squad of experts whose job it is to solve these ‘unsolvable’ crimes, and she provides a gripping, sometimes gruesome, behind-the-scenes look at four cases … The result: a compulsively readable page-turner that’s as riveting as anything on TV — the perfect way to feed your insatiable appetite for drama.” For the complete review, click here.

The Leonard Lopate Show, July, 19. Interview with Vito Spano, former commanding officer of the Cold Case Squad, and Stacy Horn.

New York Magazine, July, 18. “Horn proves herself a top-notch journalist, delivering stories from inside the New York Police Department’s Cold Case Squad — the nation’s largest office devoted to solving forgotten murder cases. Click here for the interview.”

Baltimore Sun, July, 17. “This book is a first entirely devoted to the inner workings of a real-life police department’s cold case section … There is rarely a dull page as Horn portrays her colorful band as they challenge the perplexing past.”

Entertainment Weekly, July, 15. ” … while The Restless Sleep hardly makes for soothing bedtime reading, Horn’s gripping writing and palpable sense of outrage ensure that its narrative trail never runs cold.” For the complete review, click here.

San Francisco Chronicle July, 10. “All of these cases haunted Horn, and because of her masterful storytelling, they are quite likely to haunt her readers, too.” For the complete review, click here.

NPR’s Alan Cheuse’s Summer Reading 2005.

The Restless Sleep, by Stacy Horn (Viking): In “an obsessive nonfiction account” of New York City Police Department’s cold-case squad, Horn “writes in outrage at [long-unsolved crimes] and with great affection for both the living and the dead.”

Publishers Weekly

A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality.

Starred review. NPR contributor Horn’s deft writing and unique access to detectives laboring to bring justice to the many forgotten victims of murder create a significant addition to the genre. Horn tracks four very different unsolved killings-a brutal torture of drug dealers while their young children were restrained in an adjoining room; the murder of an off-duty cop who interrupted a robbery in progress; an apparent sex crime turned fatal that claimed the life of a teenager; and the fetishistic strangling of a transplanted Southerner. Each crime presents unique obstacles for the dedicated detectives assigned to them, and each yields very different results. The heroic and three-dimensional portrayals of the individual police officers are compelling, but many will find more novelty in Horn’s detailed assessment of the bureaucratic turf battles surrounding the cold case squad, and the serious obstacles NYPD reformers continue to face. Several notches above the typical reporter’s insights into the realities of criminal justice, and, given the continued popularity of the CBS TV drama Cold Case, Horn’s book is likely to find a wide readership. Agent, Betsy Lerner. (July 11)

Kirkus Reviews

A star is assigned to books of unusual merit, determined by the editors of Kirkus Reviews.

Starred review. Horn (Waiting for My Cats to Die, 2001, etc.) captures with crackling intensity the work of cops who investigate long-unsolved homicides.

“They’re out there in thousands, free.” Killers, that is. The old police saying turns out to be true: if a murder isn’t solved within the first 72 hours, it starts getting as cold as the body, colder and colder until it becomes a cold case. But the statute of limitations doesn’t apply to homicides, so many city police forces have a unit to deal with these never-closed cases. Horn spent time with New York City’s Cold Case and Apprehension Squad and reports back here, in a gritty tone that well suits the subject matter. (“The wretched killing the wretched, the case goes ‘cold,’ who gives a fuck?”) She covers the history of the unit and four gruesome cold murders under investigation, doing a fine job of painting the scene. It’s a given that these are difficult jobs; members of the squad are handpicked for their special strengths, and Horn makes manifest the patience, intelligence and imagination they must bring to bear. She also unblinkingly portrays many of the Cold Case cops as lone wolves, black sheep or talented misfits. Without bogging down the story, Horn provides explanatory detail about everything from gathering evidence and evaluating witnesses to making use of forensic work. She shows how the detectives learn to build relationships with suspects during interrogation and to be articulate on the stand. In the process, she fills us in on the hairy world of intramural police politics. The Cold Case Squad steps on many territorial toes, from station house to One Police Plaza, which sometimes seems as scary as the dark streets of a bad neighborhood. For all the hope these profiled detectives inspire, the reality is that “most cold cases are never solved.” After all that has been said and done in these pages, the comment is like a glass of cold water thrown into the reader’s face. A choice piece of police-procedural writing.

Elle Magazine

Excerpted from Elle Recommends:

“In THE RESTLESS SLEEP: INSIDE NYC’S COLD CASE SQUAD (Viking) journalist Stacy Horn examines old police evidence, interviews forensic specialists, and profiles the detectives who doggedly work to solve the murders of five forgotten victims, adding an expert – and not always flattering – fillip of data, insights, and arcana from inside this shadowy investigative subculture.”

Library Journal

Horn (Waiting for My Cats To Die), founder of the virtual salon, again turns her attention to death. In the aftermath of 9/11, Horn met some temporarily reassigned homicide detectives and was intrigued by their particular work. She has spent the time since then getting an insider’s view of the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, with this gripping overview of the history of the squad and its seemingly impossible task as a result. By focusing on four cases-one dating back to the 1950s-and four detectives, Horn is able to delve deeply into how the squad works. She pulls no punches as she lays bare the behind-the-scenes NYPD politics. Interestingly, although she intended to tell the story of the Cold Case Squad through profiles of the detectives, it is the victims and the details of their cases that are the clear focus of this book. From the years-long dedication of these professionals, who never give up, it is clear that they would want the story told no other way. Horn is a talented writer who reassures herself and readers that cold case detectives never forget. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Karen Sandlin Silverman, CFAR-Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Click here to order The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad.