Book Review: The Grim Sleeper

THE GRIM SLEEPER | Christine Pelisek
04.27.2018 | Counterpoint, LLC.
Rating: 4/5 stars


In 2006, Christine Pelisek broke the story of a serial killer who went unchecked in Los Angeles for decades, killing the most vulnerable women in one South Central neighborhood. Two years later the killer was dubbed “The Grim Sleeper” due to his long break between murders. The killer targeted a community ravaged by crime and drugs, leaving behind a trail of bodies – all women of color, all murdered in a similar fashion, and all left in alleys. The story of the Grim Sleeper tells of more than just murder. It tells of a neighborhood forgotten, a neighborhood impacted by poverty and gang violence, a neighborhood cops wrote off as a lost cause. This is also the story of a group of families unwilling to let the person who stole their loved ones from them get away.

THE GRIM SLEEPER is a mixture of true crime and an examination of a drug epidemic taking over one South Central neighborhood in Los Angeles. The story unravels by allowing the reader to meet each victim. Pelisek provides diligent insight into the victims of our killer and how they ended up in his cross hairs. It was fascinating and heartbreaking to get to know these women who lost their lives far too early. I always appreciate when true crime stories choose to focus on honoring the victims over glorifying a killer.


Each victim’s story is eerily familiar and a reflection on the area that they live in. This South Central neighborhood has been brushed aside by society due largely to poverty, drugs, and violence. This neighborhood is home to a large BIPOC community and it became very clear early on that this influenced the response from cops. Countless times I thought to myself, “If this was a white woman, the media would be involved”. Instead the victims of the Grim Sleeper were all BIPOC women and brushed aside by law enforcement because of the paths their lives took. A difference in skin color let a killer go free for decades. A bias against those who become involved in the sex trafficking industry led to unfair treatment of murder victims. Years later we still see the same issues running rampant throughout the country.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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