Oprah Winfrey recently announced Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker is her latest 2020 Oprah’s Book Club Selection. The book, published in April 2020, tells the story of the Galvins, a Colorado family who find six of their 12 children diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“This is a riveting true story of an American family that reads like a medical detective journey,” Winfrey said of her 84th book club pick. The New York Times calls the book “a feat of empathy and narrative journalism.”
What else did Robert Kolker write?
Though it may be some readers’ first time hearing Robert Kolker’s name, Hidden Valley Road is certainly not the author’s first book. Kolker experienced previous acclaim and success with his 2013 book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery. The book has landed a spot on numerous best-of lists, including Time‘s best true-crime books of all time, Slate‘s best nonfiction books of the past 25 years, and Publishers Weekly‘s top 10 books of 2013. The film was ultimately turned into a Netflix feature film starring Amy Ryan and Gabriel Byrne. The film was just released last month and currently has a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s not the first time Kolker has had investigative reporting turned into a film: A 2004 story in New York magazine ultimately became the film Bad Education, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and stars Hugh Jackman and Alison Janney. More of Kolker’s investigative stories are available on his website.
What is Lost Girls about?
Lost Girls recounts the real-life hunt to find a still-at-large serial killer on Long Island who preys on women who work as Craigslist and Backpage escorts. “Through extensive interviews with the victims’ families and friends, Kolker creates compassionate portraits of the murdered young women, and uncovers the forces that drove them from their respective home towns into risky, but lucrative, careers as prostitutes in a digital age,” praises The New Yorker. Kirkus Reviews calls Lost Girls “an important examination of the socioeconomic and cultural forces that can shape a woman’s entry into prostitution.”