Thursday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m.
Award-winning crime reporter Christine Pelisek discusses her remarkable new book,The Grim Sleeper: The Lost Women of South Central, the landmark South Central serial -murder story she broke in 2008, with writer – and former deputy editor of the LA Weekly, the paper which published her cover story – Joe Donnelly. As much about the lesser regard for certain women’s lives as it is an impassioned feat of reporting, this is an important book and discussion. Talk, reading, and signing.
Christine Pelisek — petite, blonde, Canadian — seems the least likely reporter to have broken the story on the longest running serial killer west of the Mississippi. But in 2008 she did just that with her cover story for LA Weekly, shedding light on a suspected killer of women in South Central Los Angeles who had been active since the 1980s. Dubbing him “The Grim Sleeper” for his possible long break between murders, Christine was the only one who put the pieces together after the L.A. coroner reluctantly handed her a list of thirty-eight possibly linked homicides in 2006. Lonnie Franklin Jr. was a husband, a father, and neighborhood fixture. The victims were all women; some were prostitutes or drug addicts. The Grim Sleeper captures a singular case but also tells a bigger story: about urban homicide investigations in areas beset by poverty and gang violence; about how a serial killer could continue his macabre work for so long in part due to society’s lack of concern for his victims; and about the power and tenacity of those who refused to let the case go cold.
“This upsetting account of a Los Angeles serial killer, written with passion by Christine Pelisek, an investigative crime reporter who spent 10 years working the case, blurts out a hard truth that no one wants to acknowledge . . . [She] tries to restore dignity to some of the victims by drawing sympathetic and carefully detailed life histories for each and every one of them.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
Christine Pelisek is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been covering crime for almost fifteen years. She got her big break at LA Weekly and has since covered national stories for The Daily Beast, 20/20, and is now the crime reporter for People. She’s been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, Ottawa Sun and has been interviewed as a crime expert by CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Headline News and the Nancy Grace Show. She lives in Los Angeles.
Joe Donnelly is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer. His short story, “Bonus Baby”, was selected for the prestigious O. Henry Prize Stories 2016 collection, as one of the 20 best short stories of the year. In his past life he was the deputy editor of the LA Weekly and the co-founder/editor of Slake: Los Angeles. Donnelly is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Whittier College.