The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation

The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation

by Matthew McGough


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The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
ssbooks More than 1 year ago
I haven't slept the past few nights because I stayed up pass my bedtime to read and finish The Lazarus Files, by the non-fiction writer, Mathew McGough. I simply couldn’t bring myself to put the book down. On Monday, February 24, 1986, Sherri Rasmussen, an impressive young woman with a bright future and a recent newlywed was gruesomely killed in the condo she shared with her husband. Sherri had the world in the palm of her hand, but evil couldn’t stand to see her happy. She had been shot three times in the chest, she had sustained a head injury and a nasty bite mark too, when detectives arrived on the scene, after her husband came home from work and discovered her lifeless body, they quickly concluded that Sherri had fought mighty with her killer, unfortunately, it wasn’t a battle she won. On that day, no one could have predicted that it would take thirty years for Sherri’s killer to be found. The book is a detailed account of who, what, when, why, where. It dives deep into the lives of the people most affected by this tradegy. I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I would have rated this a five star read except for the the number of diary entries and interviews that seemed unending and became a distraction after a time. Sometimes less is better. Aside from that issue, I found the book to be an intriguing depiction of the investigation and the main players, both the investigators and the suspect. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC copy of the book. The opinions expressed above are my own.
Proforma More than 1 year ago
Heaven moved for Sherri Rasmussen. Twenty- one years after her murder, long after it was a cold case and active investigation had stopped for four years, heaven took things into its own hands... One day, as if by magic, a box with a murder book appeared next to Detective Jim Nuttall’s desk in the Van Huys Homicide Squad, a tiny precinct of the LAPD. Heaven had waited all this time, for the right detectives to converge in the right place, and when they did, not surprisingly, the case that had eluded even “the best of the best” detectives at the elite LAPD Robbery-Homicide unit, was solved within a few months and two rounds of questions. This is not the condensed version. MCGOUGH takes every little piece of evidence he has and reconstructs the timeline for the reader in painstaking detail. It is a long timeline because by 2009 when Nuttal, Bub, Martinez and Barba started to work on the case, twenty-three long years had passed in Sherri’s murder. Twenty-three years denied to her, but filled with life by other people, including Stephanie Lazarus. MCGOUGH re-interviewed the original lead homicide detective who caught the case in 1986, and hindsight is as they say – twenty-twenty vision. Looking back the narrative was funnelled into a botched burglary; a theory not deviated from even when another possibility was mentioned (several times). While we would like to tighten the noose around Mayer and his team, in their defence, the evidence that would have conclusively redirected them from their theory in 1986 (the bite mark swab) was only tested in 2004 (by those “best of the best” detectives in the elite Robbery-Homicide Division). Even if the bite mark had been blood typed in 1986, DNA testing was not available until later, so it would have been nix on the bite mark anyway. Had Mayer and his team investigated Lazarus in 1986, the evidence against her would have been entirely circumstantial without the bite mark. Without the actual weapon used in the murder or a confession, it would have been difficult to prosecute Lazarus and she may well have walked. If that had happened, when the DNA profile was developed, it would have meant nothing because Lazarus would not have been able to be re-tried for the Rasmussen murder again under double jeopardy. Interestingly, MCGOUGH includes a diary kept by Lazarus in the timeline. He leaves it to the reader to draw his/her own conclusions about Stephanie as a person and as an LAPD officer. I found the entries after Sherri’s murder particularly illuminating. Lazarus was off duty for several days before and including the day of Sherri’s murder, when she returns to work, she works the dead shift (or AM shift). She remarks that she could not sleep and was very tired, this continues through all her AM shifts that week, although the energetic Stephanie had never found the AM shift to be a problem. At the end of the week she packs up and heads out to Lake Arrowhead. When she returns, she finds her sleeping pattern re-established. Hmmm.... I wonder... Was the gun she used to execute Sherri Rasmussen in her house between the murder and the trip to Lake Arrowhead? Did she ditch that gun, tied to a rock at the bottom of Lake Arrowhead? Was she paranoid that her housemate at the time might discover the gun while it was in the house? The entries in her diary around the time of the murder, reflect a person who is anxious about something (in my opinion). They do not reflect any remorse over what she had done.
ody More than 1 year ago
The is such an excellent true crime story about the murder of Sherri Rasmussen back in February 1986. She was a newly married director of critical care nursing at Glendale Adventist Hospital. It is meticulously told, a bit too much so, in that it comes out to six hundred plus pages. Some repetitious areas where really, we got it the first time. But that aside, the cold case gets traction after DNA comes into play and the husband’s old girlfriend, LA cop Stephanie Lazarus is finally suspect #1, as she should have been long ago. Stephanie is a real piece of work, as you will know by reading this book. My original review went poof, so I’m piecing this together from memory. It’s a good book, but I give a warning for the length. But maybe you’re in the mood for a good long book. There is a chapter on The Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez you could probably skip if you are already familiar with him and want to cut out some filler. Otherwise, enjoy and I can’t wait to see what you think of this book
ReadABookNow More than 1 year ago
This book was an excellent depiction of the investigation into the cold case murder of young nurse and newlywed Sherri Rasmussen. Savagely beaten and killed in 1986 in the condo home she shared with her new husband, John Ruetten, Sherri's death went unsolved until 2009. The book details the mishandling of the case by the Los Angeles Police Department, during a time when the agency was embroiled in controversy for other incidents. The murderer herself, in this case, was none other than an LAPD officer, Stephanie Lazarus, a former lover of Sherri's husband. Matthew McGough goes into minute details about the LAPD and its history of abuse and nationwide controversy during the years leading up to the murder and afterward. Some may find the book much too detailed, but in my opinion, it was important to document so much about the LAPD and its history to put it into context with what played out during and after Sherri's murder. Many times I've found too much detail in a book to be distracting and boring; in this situation, it was so well-written that I was fascinated throughout. Also, because I didn't remember this case at all, I was enthralled throughout to find out what happened and the outcome of so many years of negligence on the part of the LAPD. My only disappointment in the story, which had nothing to do with the book itself, was that there was not enough info as to what actually happened in the condo the day that Sherri was murdered. I have many questions about that day, but the only person who really knows is the murderer. And she's still not talking. Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt and Company for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 5 stars.
KiahJT More than 1 year ago
2 stars Holy buckets, this is a LONG book. The authors went overboard in background information, even repeating certain things deveral times. I enjoy reading true life mysteries with background information but this book just droned on and on and on. For instance, I was almost 100 pages in and was only 10% done with the book. The story itself is fascinating, it's the writing that is the issue. I unfortunately cannot recommend this book. I truly dislike leaving a bad review. I just have no choice.. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.