Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls

Unsolved Australia book review

What is the about: A true-crime book about a selection of cases that have caught Australia’s imagination — or nightmares.

What else is this about?: It seems like a cliche, but this is a human take on those stories we’d only hear on the news. I’ll explain that in the review, Promise. In addition, there are profiles of some famous Australian investigators, psychologists and is illuminating for they don’t hold back in what their life’s work does to them.


Can you catch a killer or find a missing person?

Australia is ‘the lucky country’. But not for everyone. Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls tells thirteen stories of people whose luck ran out in the most mysterious of circumstances.

It’s a journalistic deep-dive into Australia’s dark heart by one of Australia’s premier true crime writers, Justine Ford, the acclaimed bestselling author of Unsolved Australia and The Good Cop.

Why are four people missing from a Western Australian doomsday cult? Who abducted and murdered beauty queen Bronwynne Richardson on pageant night? And why is a cooked chook important evidence in the outback disappearance of Paddy Moriarty?

Key players are interviewed, evidence laid out and suspects assessed. Never-before-published information is revealed. Can you help crack the case and solve these mysteries?

Hold tight as Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls takes you on a chilling yet inspiring true crime rollercoaster ride where the final destination is hope.

Unsolved Australia is a collection of stories of unsolved cases in Australia, ones that have captured the country’s interest. It is also a call for information as much as it is a reminder of the losses of these families, and the cops for whom these cases are their white whales — never solved.

First up, the human side to these stories — I know, I know it’s a cliche. But it’s true. I felt like I could be sitting across a table from these investigators and these families, sharing a cup of tea and listening to them talk about these cases and their losses.

Ford manages to find this balance between an intimate tone and an investigatory one, and that makes this all the better a read. I don’t enjoy true-crime books where authors insert themsleves into victims’ lives to write the book. This is about the victims and the cops, and not the author in these groups’ lives.

Something else I found interesting is the profiles on investigators within the books who share their experiences of cases, of the PTSD they suffered and often ignored and what that meant for their lives in the end. It’s confronting stuff bc on the news, they catch the bad guys through hard work and investigations.

But they’re human and they need help too — and it’s important that they understand that — and accept it.

Unsolved Australia offers insight into what the people left behind are still going through — that not knowing and what their losses have meant.

Justine Ford has written a book that is respectful and empathetic for what the investigators, victims and people left behind are still going through.


  • Jen Mullen says:

    There are true crime stories that don’t interest me, but there are others that have a hook that is much more than the crimes themselves. This one sounds like one I would like–the folks left behind to grieve, but never know what happened to their loved ones. The frustration of the police trying to solve the case. The effects on the lives of all involved. I’ll be checking on this one.

    • Verushka says:

      It’s far-reaching — I know I assumed on some level, the cops would have to move on — and they do in one sense, because they have to go to the next case, but they all have these cases that never leave them. And the longing in the families still waiting for answers…

  • Lark says:

    It’s sad to think that so many crimes go unsolved. Especially when it leaves the families not knowing what happened to their son or daughter.

  • Oh wow, this sounds like a powerful and heartbreaking read. Unsolved crimes are always hard for those involved especially the families.

    • Verushka says:

      It is — I like how the author balanced the POV of the cops and the families left behind, and made each story stronger for it. And I absolutely appreciate that it’s the cops and the families that take centre stage, and she doesn’t insert herself into their story — some true crime authors do that and it drives me nuts.

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