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Publisher's Summary

In 1938, at the height of the Great Depression, a madman hunts his victims through the hobo jungles of Cleveland, terrorizing the city. Ethel Harding, a prostitute struggling to survive both the cold streets and the Torso Killer, takes refuge with a devout missionary sect - only to find that its righteous facade conceals the darkest of secrets.

Sixty years later, the police find the butchered body of Alfred Wiley in the woods. But before his daughter, Kris, can even identify the remains, things he never told her begin to surface one by one - a mysterious private eye who'd been tracking him, an eerie website devoted to the unsolved "Torso" murders, missing archives, stolen books, and an abandoned Bible factory harboring vagrants. The more she learns about her father's obsession with the Torso Killer, the more Alfred's death appears to be related, pulling Kris further into Cleveland's hellish past.

Living decades apart, Ethel and Kris must unravel the truth behind the city's most notorious serial killer...or die trying.

©2017 D.M. Pulley (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 11-16-17

Uniquely talented historical mystery author!

She is a structural engineer by education and training, but is now a full time author of historical mysteries set in and around Cleveland Ohio. The Unclaimed Victim is her third novel. The first, The Dead Key, remains one of my favorite novels of 2015. The subject is an abandoned bank building and the story of a young engineer and what she finds there. The second, The Buried Book, is the story of a young boy looking for his mother. Both easily earned 5 stars. The Unclaimed Victim is another winner. The story moves constantly between Cleveland of the 1930s and Cleveland (and a nearby town) of 1999. The 1930s portions are about the Cleveland Torso Murderer who removed victims heads and limbs and posed their torsos. The Torso Murderer was real; he killed at least 12 people, 5 women and 7 men, only four of whom were identified. He was also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. The 12 Cleveland murders occurred between 1935 and 1938 inclusive. Some believe he killed at least 13 others in other cities between the late 1920s and 1950. The Torso Murderer was never identified or captured.

In 1999 torso of a man turns up near Cleveland. It appears based on a tattoo to be the dad of 19 year old Cleveland State University student Kris Wiley, the protagonist of the story. Anything more risks revealing the plot, so I'll stop there. Audible classifies this novel's genre as suspense mystery/thriller while I believe it is more aptly classified as historical mystery/thriller.

Narration is excellent, but it is not as good as either of the author's first two audio novels.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Could not put this down...

This story begins with Kris Wiley being called by her father's best friend. He's a police officer and he needs her to come to the station. Her father had been missing for four days and now they think he's been found. They want her to identify a tattoo on her father's shoulder. She can't identify the body because the police won't show it to her. All thats left of him is his body, his head, hands and one leg are missing.
When she goes to her father's house she finds things that don't belong to him. Strange library books like Torso Killer and books about zombies. When she takes them to the library she finds they were checked out three years ago and to an address right down the road from her own rental.
The book flips between 1999 and 1938 when similar murders occurred. If you read Wayne's review he gives some very interesting details on these murders that I was unaware of.
This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Skip if you are picky about narration

The most important thing to me in an audiobook is the quality of the narration. A story can be ruined by an untalented narrator or unprofessional production. I will not listen to another book by Robins. In addition, I think you probably should like historical books as the author tends to incorporate history into all of her books thus far. I’m sorry to say I cannot recommend this audiobook. A printed version might be better. I can however, highly recommend listening to D.M. Pulley’s other book called the Dead Key. Do yourself a favor and skip this book and listen to Dead Key instead, especially, if historicals are not your thing!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Erratic volume.

Narrator needs to listen to her own narration to realise how annoying her varying volume and overly dramatic narration irritates the eardrums.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Poor Narration

I wanted to like this story but didn't because of the narration only. The female narrator spoke either way too loud or way too soft throughout the whole book. It was very frustrating adjusting my volume button instead of just enjoying listening to a great author. I also didn't like the way she used western twang for most of the characters who were local Cleveland, Ohio natives. I was very confused. Basically, unless you are in a closed room with no background noise pass on the audible and just read the book.
FYI The Dead Key is excellent...I wish they would've used the narrator Emily Sutton-Smith instead of Carly Robbins for this book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • c
  • BELMONT, NC, US
  • 03-15-18

Nope

Don’t waste your time. The narrator is horrible. I couldn’t get past chapter 3 is was so bad.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

3.5. Some was really good, some.....not so much.

I’m trying to figure out a proper review. I rarely do them, but this book has me somewhat conflicted.

First, I’ll say something about the narration (performance). I both liked and hated it. Ms. Robins has a pleasant speaking voice and much of it was just fine; not great, but good enough. I’m not sure if it was her or the main character as written, but Kris was a bit whiny at times. Overall, her voices/performances for Kris, Jimmy and Joey were good, distinctive and helped me to stick it out. That said, most of the other characters were awful! The men were over loud and just, I’m sorry, awful!

I liked the story, generally. There were peaks, however, of a strong storyline and solid writing mixed with dips into eye rolling drudgery, back to peaks. By the end, I’m happy I didn’t pay full price or waste a credit as I got it at a discount for having the Kindle version, but I was no longer angry for spending anything. It was a decent read, if somewhat incomplete.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

boring

could not finish book was just boring made no sense to me not even half way through it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

This is a wonderful book - just as good as The Dead Key.

Plus, it has some really interesting historical tidbits about Cleveland, which makes it even more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gory but still won't close it

I had to stop reading this book and come back to it a couple of times. story is so good but it's so gory...