After the murder of Thomas Mulcahy, Foreman and Hanson contacted the NYPD . . . The NYPD, Hanson told The Advocate, was unresponsive and did not convey a sense of urgency about solving these crimes.p. 93, Last Call
After Anthony Marrero’s body was found . . . They again contacted the NYPD. The absence of response, Hanson told the reporter, was ‘indicative of their response to gay-related pickup crimes–too little, too late.’p. 93, Last Call
Release date: March 9, 2021
Genre: True-crime, non-fiction
Publisher: Celadon Books/Macmillan
𝙩𝙬: homicide, homophobia, hate crimes, extreme graphic violence, assault, date rape. Please contact me for clarifications.
The first whole account of the not-so-well-known yet notorious serial murderer known as the Last Call Killer. Elon Green gives his readers an immensely detailed account of the killer’s crimes from the first attributed to his last, leading us through his horrific acts as they’re uncovered–with the victims recovered–post-mortem. Green also takes the time to delve into New York and New Jersey’s LGBTQ culture, treatment (including by law enforcement), and how those actions spoke volumes towards the general attitude towards the LGBTQ community in the wake of the AIDS epidemic.
Let me just say that as a true crime fan, this book did all the things for me: gave me all the facts (more than I could have ever expected), allowed me the opportunity to analyze evidence as it was being uncovered at the time, and create my own “profile” of the type of person I believed would commit these types of crimes. What I hadn’t expected and what has “stuck” with me the most since reading and completing this novel: the inexcusable beliefs and violence committed against the gay community by its own citizens and the purposeful inaction from those in positions of power and in charge of public peace.
Elon Green gave voice to the incredibly tragic crimes that left the LGBTQ community of New York reeling during another incredibly tragic period in time–the AIDS epidemic. To say there was much going on during the early 90s is truly an understatement. Combine an unknown serial killer preying upon gay men, the AIDS epidemic, and the general attitude from New Yorkers (in particular focus as this was the epicenter for the Last Call Killer’s crimes) with those tasked to protect its inhabitants–the cops, and you get a glimpse of what gay and bisexual men we’re living with: unimaginable undue hardship with no end in sight.
What I was impressed with was Green’s ability to weave this novel together and tell a story (a damn good one at that) when not much was known (and still isn’t as our killer refuses to tell what actually happened. Despite this hindrance, Green used his superior investigative abilities to collect all available information in order to give the most accurate account of the crimes. As a result, Green imparts us with this incredibly detailed account of 90s New York as it’s being terrorized by a predatory serial killer who targeted the gay community quite comfortably and freely.
Elon Green has a new lifelong fan and follower here. I cannot wait to see what he’s going to write about next as he’s proven with Last Call that no challenge is too great for his writing abilities. He told a story that needed to be told but was riddled with obstacles, obstructions, and hurdles, giving a voice to those this world sorely lost.
Victims (in order of occurrence)
- Frederic Spencer, roommate, 1973 (officially acquitted of all charges)
- ‘Sandy Harrow’ in Last Call – name not released publicly (charged with and acquitted of assault, unlawful imprisonment), 1988
- Peter Anderson, 1991
- Thomas Mulcahy, 1992 (convicted of murder)
- Anthony “Eddie” Marrero, 1993 (convicted of murder)
- Michael Sakara, 1993
Learn More About the Case
While these are a few headlines, there are many, many more. This is in no way an exhaustive list.
The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.
The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.
He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.
Nor will he be his last.
The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.
This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.
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About the Author
Elon Green has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Columbia Journalism Review, and appears in Sarah Weinman’s forthcoming anthology of true crime. He has been an editor at Longform for nearly a decade. -Celadon Books
Last Call is Elon Green’s first novel.
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads. Thank you to Elon Green and Celadon Books for the galley in exchange for my honest review.