This Kindle short/Audible freebie is a "true crime" story about Lonnie Franklin Jr., the serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper" because he supposedly stopped killing for over a decade, before resuming.
The real story here is not so much Lonnie Franklin. As serial killers go, he's not very interesting. He is your basic working-class schlub, in and out of trouble with the law, who ran a chop shop in his yard that all his neighbors in South L.A. knew about. Naturally, most of the women he killed were prostitutes, drug addicts, or otherwise troubled women living in environments where no one is really surprised when they go missing and/or turn up dead, and not coincidentally, mostly black. Which is where the real story, such as it is, is revealed in this scant book.
The author milked a single case to cover a really broad range of topics, and for the short length of this book, he took on too much. Covering California from the 70s to the present day (as of this date, September 2013, Lonnie Franklin has not yet gone to trial), Paul Alexander tries to connect the history of race relations in L.A., particularly with its notoriously corrupt and brutal police department, the AIDS epidemic, the rise of crack cocaine, the Rodney King riots, the history of DNA evidence, and the large roster of other Los Angeles serial killers, to his main story. Most of the connections are tenuous at best.
The author's main thesis is that the LAPD has a history of corruption and incompetence, a case that's hard to dispute, and that this led to them not catching Lonnie Franklin earlier, which is probably true but some of his specific accusations are a bit of a leap.
But what becomes glaringly evident, though it's the one thing the author doesn't spell out, is that the reason Lonnie Franklin wasn't caught earlier was that the women he killed didn't matter. They were mostly poor African-American women from the bad parts of L.A., either living/working on the streets or not far from it. The very name given to the murders initially - the "strawberry murders," so-called because street slang for women who traded sex for drugs was "strawberry" - tells you what the police and the media thought of them.
"Wrong zip code. They’re dead where it doesn’t count."
— Mike Fletcher, The Wire
was somewhat interesting, but much too broad and the coverage consequently superficial, with the author's conclusions not very well-supported. It's not much more than an expanded magazine feature on a fairly unremarkable loser of a serial murderer.