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The Lazarus Files

A Cold Case Investigation
Narrated by: Matthew McGough
Length: 27 hrs and 12 mins
4 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

A deeply reported, riveting account of a cold case murder in Los Angeles, unsolved until DNA evidence implicated a shocking suspect - a female detective within the LAPD’s own ranks.

On February 24, 1986, 29-year-old newlywed Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in the home she shared with her husband, John. The crime scene suggested a ferocious struggle, and police initially assumed it was a burglary gone awry. Before her death, Sherri had confided to her parents that an ex-girlfriend of John’s, a Los Angeles police officer, had threatened her. The Rasmussens urged the LAPD to investigate the ex-girlfriend, but the original detectives pursued only burglary suspects, and the case went cold.  

DNA analysis did not exist when Sherri was murdered. Decades later, a swab from a bite mark on Sherri’s arm revealed her killer was in fact female, not male. A DNA match led to the arrest and conviction of veteran LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus, John’s onetime girlfriend.  

The Lazarus Files delivers the visceral experience of being inside a real-life murder mystery. McGough reconstructs the lives of Sherri, John, and Stephanie; the love triangle that led to Sherri’s murder; and the homicide investigation that followed. Was Stephanie protected by her fellow officers? What did the LAPD know, and when did they know it? Are there other LAPD cold cases with a police connection that remain unsolved?

©2019 Matthew McGough (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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

The stilted performance highlights weak writing.

A true chore to listen to, The Lazarus Files is a testament to professional voice actors and authors who need great editors. The only thing saving this is the truly interesting story. It's worse than the most amateur of podcasts, but it will fill dozens of hours while you do chores. Don't worry if you doze off or miss a few hours -- the author repeats himself constantly. Those in the know will likely cite his hourly over-explanation of when sixty-day reports are due.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

May not finish this.1 week later, I did finish it.

There has to be a way (and there is) to tell the story without using the names of speakers or whoever he is talking about over and over. He keeps saying John says, whoever says. He reads the story with no emotion, probably because he has lived with book in his head for years. Get someone else to read it for heavens sake. The man finds his dead wife in the middle of the living room and he reads it like he found a newspaper laying in the middle of the room. Will give it another 30 mins and if nothing changes will return it.
6/3/2019
I finally finished this book. Great story, great research, just poorly written and poorly read. Every other sentence begins with a name. It seems several hours of book is just John says, Sherri says,Stephanie says, whoever says.The story reads like a list in parts.I did love the story, and could feel the amount of work that went into it. Redo it, take off all the ‘whoever says’ get George Guidall to read it and you’ll have a 5 star true crime classic and I might even listen to it again. My overall score is now a 3, and story is really a 5. I hate to see a potentially great piece of work not get all the accolades that could have been possible.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Authors are not always the best narrators

The narration is cringe worthy. The story itself is good, although made overly long with the addition of other outside stories not necessary to this one. If I were to purchase another book from this author, it will be in written form.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Claire
  • Lake Valley, New Mexico
  • 05-06-19

what a labor of love

do not be put off by the narrator's voice. it is the author and worth every minute. In fact I'm thinking about listening to the whole thing all over again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

It's pronounced Kitten not Kidden

Wow was that boring. I never thought a true crime story could be so boring. Maybe you should stick to baseball bat boy?

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Good but could be better

I did enjoy reading this book and would recommend it with a couple of caveats. First, it is narrated by the author and for me that took some getting used to. He and I have different ideas about the pronunciation of some words. Also, I didn’t particularly like his reading. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I felt like he was introducing Dragnet as he read. Given that this is a book that takes a lot of hours to complete, if you have a low tolerance to some narrators voices, you might want to listen to a sample, if that’s an option.

Secondly, the author is very repetitive. After a while, I wanted to scream at him, “ I remember already!” The author may be anticipating that this book would not be read as rapidly as I read it and therefore be reminding his readers, but for me it started feeling as if he thought his readers had fallen asleep.

For these reasons I felt I couldn’t give the book five stars. When I consider the amount of work it must have taken to research and report all this information, and that the book sheds light on more than one issue that deserves further examination, I want to reward the author. I just cannot do it. The book could be so much better if it were read by someone else and if an editor worked to eliminate some of the repetition.

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

It’s two stories..

Putting along listening to a book about one murder then all of a sudden you’re listening to a different murder. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Other than the extra murder it’s good.. skip that section.

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

Incredible read

This was by far one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. It was detailed, well researched and at the same time, the author’s ability to remain neutral and judgement free while relaying the details of this horrific case made the read so much more interesting.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JBT3
  • HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, United States
  • 06-10-19

Excellent!!!

After listening to the sample was a bit turned off by the narration but happened on a review that dissuaded the listener from basing your purchase on that and referred to it as a "labor of love". This turned out to be sage advice as it was indeed, just that. Once I started listening I ended up going through the entire book in less than a week. The Lazarus Files is meticulously researched, heartfelt and overall a great listen. The only reason for the four stars for performance is more about what could have been as opposed to what it is. A little more editing (he said/she said issue some reviewers have made reference to) and though the author does a fine job couldn't help thinking how Pierce, Barrett, Stillwell, Campell or Brick would have done it.

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

Horrible narration

I really wanted to like this book but it was so poorly done.

First the author really needed an editor. The book was 27 hours long and was painful to listen to. So much should have been cut out of the book. Large portions of the book are a regurgitation of Lazarus diary. We find out when she had tan appointments, and where she ate and when she picked up donuts. Much of the book added absolutely nothing to the story.

Then with as much irrelevant detail as was included, there was almost nothing about the actual trial.

The worst thing about the book was the narrator, the author. His reading skill sounds like it is at about a third grade level. There is no natural flow to reading.

To make matters worse, the author pronounces T as D. The word bitten becomes bidden and beaten becomes beaden, etc.

The book could have been very good if it had been properly edited and had professional narration.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Woolly
  • 05-21-19

Interesting case but too long a story......

An incredible story. But way too long. Too much detail and often repeats itself.
The narration is very monotone making this a hard book to finish.
It’s a shame when the author has spent many years investigating a high profile case such as this.
I like a long book, but this I’m afraid I was glad to reach the end.