The mystifying unsolved murders of two female backpackers in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park--and the revelation of other disturbing acts of violence toward women in U.S. national parks--is the obsessive focus of Trailed by journalist Kathryn Miles (Quakeland). In the early summer of 1996, two expert backcountry leaders in their 20s, Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, were in love and doing what they enjoyed most when a sadistic killer found their off-trail campsite adjacent to the Appalachian Trail. Despite a massive joint investigation by the FBI and National Park Service, the case remained unsolved for years.
In 2002, Miles was a professor at the Maine wilderness college Lollie had attended when the first capital case under the new post-9/11 federal hate crime legislation was announced against Darrell David Rice for their murders. When the case was dropped two years later, Miles became consumed by it and the many unanswered questions left in its wake. Was an innocent man's life ruined? Were other unsolved murders committed by the same individual who escaped justice? Miles pulls apart these disparate but interlocking threads in a haunting piece of journalistic reportage that includes the author's own struggles with the grim realities of her research: "Writing this book has taken every toll I feared it would." In Trailed, Miles brings Winans and Williams (and other female victims of backcountry violence) into tender human focus, while shining a light on deficient law enforcement practices that don't fully serve the people they are designed to protect. --Peggy Kurkowski, book reviewer and copywriter in Denver