"[Lost Girls's] sense of mastery carries over into Mr. Kolker’s lean but ductile prose. Reading this true-crime book, you’re reminded of the observation that easy reading is hard writing."
- Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"It’s the empty freakishness of the serial killer that makes him superficially fascinating, the stuff that so much bad pulp fiction and so many trashy documentaries are made of. It takes a rarer, more humane and imaginative writer to show the dented magnificence and universal sorrow within ordinary lives, and make you realize how much more they are worth."
- Laura Miller, Salon
His magazine journalism most often takes the form of gripping, humane narratives. Among his subjects: perhaps the most unbelievable survival story to come out of World War II; the most audacious embezzlement scandal in the history of American public education; the comedy stars who created and starred in This Is Spinal Tap and somehow never saw a dime’s profit from it; the scientists who developed the revolutionary gene-editing process known as CRISPR and then went to battle over the credit; the slow, sad decline of the New York City subway system; the police detective who brought down perhaps the world’s largest online child-exploitation ring; the defiant Ukrainian oligarch in the crosshairs of the investigators probing Donald Trump; the tenacious data miner who has built a tool to find serial killers and close countless ancient cold cases (if police are willing to use it); the “Subway Superman” grappling with sudden fame; a young academic star rising up from the inner city, only to be gunned down in her old neighborhood; the secret history of how the FBI finally tracked down the fugitive abortion-doctor assassin James Kopp; and the FBI Osama bin Laden expert killed in the World Trade Center attacks. His 2006 investigation into sexual abuse in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community helped bring an abuser to justice and was nominated for a National Magazine Award. His exploration of an eighteen-year murder-exoneration case and the police tactics that can lead to false confessions received the Harry Frank Guggenheim 2011 Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Other articles of note include the police shooting of Sean Bell, a close look at New York’s homelessness epidemic, and New York’s cover stories about airport safety and security, cheating at Stuyvesant High School, and Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s Miracle on the Hudson.
For a selective archive of Robert Kolker’s stories, click here.
For information about Lost Girls, click here.
You can contact Robert Kolker directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.