Robert Kolker is an American journalist and author. As an author he is best known for writing Lost Girls, a bestselling true crime book, and Hidden Valley Road, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club.

Kolker grew up in Maryland and went on to attend Wilde Lake High School before heading off to college. He graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1991 and then went to work as a journalist. His work has appeared in multiple mainstream publications including New York Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, and Wired. He wrote a story for New York Magazine in 2004 about a public-school embezzlement scandal that was adapted into the feature film, Bad Education.

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery (2013)Description / Buy at
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family (2020)Description / Buy at

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Lost Girls is the true crime tale of the Long Island Serial Killer and five women who saw their lives converge in the case. The story begins with Shannan Gilbert running for her life, screaming in an oceanfront community. She ends up going missing, but nobody pays much attention to her disappearance. Seven months later, four bodies are discovered – evenly spaced and wrapped in burlap, but none of them are Shannan. The four women all went missing over the past few years and they all shared characteristics with Shannan: petite, in their twenties, and working as escorts who advertised on Craigslist and Backapge.

Kolker is also the author of Hidden Valley Road. This book is the story of a midcentury family with twelve children, half of which were diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the time, everyone wondered how could this happen to just one family? The answer is stranger than fiction as what took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story is a history of schizophrenia and their DNA is still studied today.

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