A Long Strange Search for A Killer

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Pub Date 5 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 10 Mar 2022

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“Riveting... a personal and highly original work of true-crime storytelling.”  — John Douglas, former FBI criminal profiling pioneer and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mindhunter
A chilling investigation into the unsolved “boy in the woods” murder; journalist Jim Cosgrove chronicles his decades-long struggle to uncover the truth of a family friend’s disappearance and death — perfect for fans of I'll be Gone in the Dark and Memorial Drive.

For nine years, South Carolina officials struggled to identify “the boy in the woods,” a young man whose body had been discovered just south of Myrtle Beach in a fishing village called Murrells Inlet.
Meanwhile, 1,200 miles away in Kansas City, Missouri, Frank McGonigle's family searched for him at Grateful Dead concerts and in the face of every long-haired hitchhiker they passed. Consumed by guilt for how they'd treated him, Frank's eight siblings slowly came to understand that — like Jerry Garcia sang — he's gone and nothin's gonna bring him back.
Frank McGonigle was finally found — and identified as “the boy in the woods.”
Four years later, the case still unsolved, Jim Cosgrove, a McGonigle family friend and investigative journalist, picked up the trail of Frank’s cold case and began uncovering connections to a ruthless local crime boss and blunders by the threadbare sheriff’s department.
When his research began to stall, a chance meeting with the soft-hearted, straight-talking “energy reader” Carol Williams provided a metaphysical spark that reignited Jim's resolve. Although his work as a journalist trained him to be skeptical, Cosgrove found himself starting to become a believer when Carol provided details about Frank’s murder that turned out to be freakishly accurate.
In 2019, Cosgrove returned to Murrells Inlet with one of Frank’s brothers to dredge up some old leads and settle Frank’s case once and for all…
“Riveting... a personal and highly original work of true-crime storytelling.”  — John Douglas, former FBI criminal profiling pioneer and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mindhunter

Advance Praise

“Thoroughly riveting and ultimately redeeming examination of an American mystery. Like a great profiler, Cosgrove reveals both the darkness and light in his subjects." — John Douglas, FBI criminal profiling pioneer and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mindhunter

“Both a true-life murder mystery and a family saga, Ripple is, at the same time, a lament for the universal human condition. Through sensitive prose and self-revealing introspection, Jim Cosgrove chronicles his decades-long quest to uncover the truth of a family friend’s disappearance and death and, in the process, has produced a moving and revealing chronicle of the challenge in truly knowing what is in another person's heart.” — Mark Olshaker, documentary filmmaker, novelist and co-author of Mindhunter and The Killer’s Shadow

“Thoroughly riveting and ultimately redeeming examination of an American mystery. Like a great profiler, Cosgrove reveals both the darkness and light in his subjects." — John Douglas, FBI criminal...

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ISBN 9781586423247
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Average rating from 31 members

Featured Reviews

Such an emotional roller coaster. This true crime will stay with you for a long time. Very well written it tells you of a crime that happened a long time ago and how new insight opens the case up again to reveal interesting aspects of the case.

It was really well written and if you enjoy reading true crime, then you must read this book!!

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This was a fairly quick read about a fascinating case from back in the 1980s. It was well handled by the author with much sensitivity to the family of the victim, as the author was a family friend who grew up in that same area. Even the paranormal aspect of this case was believably expressed, which I found quite compelling. A well written true crime book that’s not your typical formula. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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I mainly picked this up for the book cover but god DANG this was such a fun ride! It was great curling up in my bed while doing online school and just getting sucked into the characters’ world and their relationships

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Wow! What an emotional rollercoaster this was.
I am so grateful that Jim Cosgrove shared this story with the world.
It is an emotive, haunting, compelling, tragic, stoical and almost unbelievable story, and I felt as though I was along with Jim for the entire journey.
The writing is exceptionally good.
An easy 4 plus star rating from me, I don’t think anything will top how good this book is for a long while.

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Jim Cosgrove’s book Ripple is a thoughtfully written and detailed account of the life and tragic death of Frank McGonigle. The author grew up in the same Kansas community as Frank, knew his family, and ultimately became involved in helping to uncover information about his murder.

Jim has documented this true crime narrative in a way that makes the reader feel like they are accompanying him on his journey of discovery. His attention to detail and wonderfully evocative descriptions of people, places and the emotional aspects of his odyssey are engaging and often poignant. The fortuitous meeting and relationship with Carol an energy reader is a fascinating and thought-provoking aspect of the story. Jim Cosgrove shares many personal insights while navigating his investigation of Frank’s story and imparts many deep and penetrating pearls of wisdom in concluding his book. Over the course of the many years it took to investigate and write the book, the author’s personal attitudes and mindset about the events and people surrounding Frank McGonigle’s life and death matured, and his reflections offer a sensitive and compassionate view applied to that experience and life in general. I found this a particularly strong, unexpected, and satisfying outcome.

Ripple is a captivating and worthwhile read and I would highly recommend it to others.

Thank you to NetGalley and Steerforth Press for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Jim Cosgrove’s book Ripple is about a personal journey he took to better understand the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and murder of a family friend from his childhood. The author’s personal account and interviews with family members and potential witnesses give the reader a touching and intimate look at a family’s grief and how their loss changed their dynamic. Rather than a book dramatizing the thoughts and actions of a killer, Jim Cosgrove’s connection with the family and his quest to find the truth is respectful and easy to follow. The author goes into this search as a regular person, he doesn’t have special privileges or access to lawyers, but he uses his investigative skills to track down available information and living witnesses to piece together an account of what happened in the best way anyone could if they took the time that he did. The author’s open-mindedness to spirituality gives this story a unique twist to other true crime type novels and as a Dead fan could relate to the victim, a few parts gave me goose bumps. I recommend.

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Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.

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Journalist Jim Cosgrove takes us on the journey with him as he investigates an unsolved case from the 1980s. When Frank Mcgonigle left his family’s home, he was never heard from again. Cosgrove took a personal interest since he knew the family and as he delves deeper into Frank’s disappearance, his friendship with the family grows. I thought this book was very respectfully written, not only to the victim and his family but also the suspects. Cosgrove was able to somehow show both the light and darkness in all of these people, showing how complex human beings can be, while taking the reader on a long and winding road to get to the truth. The first part of the book was a little slow, as the groundwork was laid, but once the second part started I couldn’t put this book down. Even the paranormal/psychic aspect that helped solve this case was fascinating and touching. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but I do love a good true crime story. This book reminded me quite a bit of a true crime show that my husband and I love called “Mindhunter” - I could just see it unfolding in a similar way. Thanks to Netgalley, Jim Cosgrove and Penguin Randomhouse for the copy to review. This book releases April 5, 2022 and my review will also be posted to my Instagram blog books_by_the_bottle shortly.

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I enjoyed this story, it was well written, had good narrative and good pacing and the characters were well developed and relatable. I read this quickly and would definitely recommend it

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This is one of the best true crime books I've read. The author, Jim Cosgrove (known to many families across the globe as children's entertainer "Mr Stinky Feet"), handles this murder case with sensitivity and respect. You get right in the trenches with him as he interviews Frank McGonigle's family members, friends, and others in Frank's circle. Cosgrove shares dreams and anecdotes, including his interactions with "energy reader" Carol Williams, that are weirdly uncanny. I really appreciated how peaceful and hauntingly beautiful the conclusion of this book is. I recommend this one to any true crime aficionado, especially those interested in Kansas City crime.

Many thanks to Netgalley for my e-arc.

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Omg what a epic book! New to me authors and I for sure will share this with others! I would love to read more by this author and give this way more than five stars here! Excellent!

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3.5 stars

I believe a family never gets over the loss of a child or a sibling. It is a tragedy that effects them for the rest of their lives.

For the McGonigle family, the disappearance of their twenty six year old son, Frank, left them heartsick and always wondering. They spent years searching for Frank a die hard Grateful Dead lover to the point of even going to concerts hoping to find him. They continually wondered what drove their shy sensitive son to leave without a good bye. The large Catholic family questioned themselves over the years. They were a loud boisterous lot so the fact that Frank often felt out of it might be the cause of his unhappiness, but to not know was a torment that drove the family continually.

For journalist Jim Cosgrove, a friend of the family as well, it was a lifelong search for Frank and who the killer might be which went on for many years only to be resumed twenty-five years later. It drove him and was always there at the back of his mind.

For some residents of Murrells Inlet., they continued wondering who was that boy found shot dead in the woods. It would be nine years until the answer to that question was solved.

This was an interesting true story of family thrown into turmoil, questioning themselves, searching the faces of every one who resembled Frank, hoping for the best. It was also a story of a determined storyteller, even assisted by a woman, Carol Williams, who is able to perceive and see things that others can't.

It is a story of persistence of not letting go when something drives you always.

Thank you to Jim Cosgrove, Steerforth, and NetGalley for a copy of this story due out April 5, 2022

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True Crime and Nonfiction are not my norm at all, but something about this title got my attention so I checked it out. It was quite an interesting read, but it was a bit of a slow start that was hard for me to get into at first until I switched my focus/perspective and the narrative changed then it got more engaging for me.
Some of what's different with having read this story is that I'm used to reading fantasy and other fiction and always saying this was such a great story and I loved it, but it's hard to say that about this one. The reason it's hard to say that about this is because it's true crime and real life. I don't think a boy in the woods being murdered and having to solve the mystery of his death and how it affects his family and others are great the same way fiction is great. I don't love reading about murder and the pain and unresolved situations, but I do love that this mystery was solved with this particular boy's death.
This is well-written and keeps you interested and invested to discover the answers along with the investigative journalist. I found it intriguing to read about how the solution to the mystery unfolded and what it revealed about the people and the family members as they went through talking about it and figuring things out. It is a sad and hard thing to read about those that have a hard time in life and find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and lose their life for it. There are a few different aspects shown and talked about about how they approach things when investigating this boy, Frank's murder, first with the normal approaches and then with the unique with the psychic and those involved sharing their spiritual and other types of experiences relating to Frank and his death when they felt like they were being lead to answers or having some sort of communication sent to them by him from the other side. The investigation and journey to find answers take on a life of its own and when they find the answers they're right where they thought they were but others had been trying to hide the answers from view. The thing is even though they find the answers and solve the murder/death of Frank, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and unknowns. In the end, there's always more than one victim in these kinds of situations and it's a hard thing to have to deal with and face, but Frank's family had a good outlook on things and the experience of talking through things helped them all to break down some walls and find ways to talk and work on becoming closer to one another in their family.
If you're a fan of true crime and figuring out mysteries and what makes others tick or the like then make sure to take a look at this one and read it. Thanks to NetGalley and Steerforth Press for letting me read and review this enlightening story. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review of Ripple by Jim Cosgrove

I am obsessed with true crime so I knew I had to have this one when my friend Elvina mentioned it was on NetGalley. I really enjoyed it and it was a quick read. It wasn’t heavy on the crime aspect but really discussed the victim as well as his family and the author’s personal quest to find out the truth. It also focuses a lot on the geographic area of Murrell’s Inlet/Georgetown county SC. It tells the story of the last there, the residents and the culture. Overall I found it really interesting and a good read.

Quick synopsis: A journalist turned author Jim makes it his mission to investigate and write about the disappearance and murder of a family friend named Frank in 1982. They were from Kansas City but Frank was murdered in SC and no one knows why. He finds much resistance from the locals more than 10
years later when trying to find out the truth regarding the crime.

Big thank you to @netgalley for the copy of this one. I can’t wait to discuss it with my @theyearofnetgalley crew!

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As a fan of true crime investigations, I found this book super interesting and surprised that I hadn’t heard of it previously. I appreciated the journalist’s connection to the family and how he felt that this was a story that needed to be told.

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I really enjoy reading true crime, this book is absolutely brilliant! The research is thoroughly done, the story is told with sensitivity and the author is respectful to Frank’s family.
I would recommend that lovers of true crime read this book!

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to read this wonderful book, thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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A compelling true crime story reuniting a murdered young man with the family that he was missing from 10 years after his death. I was engaged from beginning to end and the entire story was very interesting, and this is from someone who is not normally interested in true crime stories.

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