In 2013 Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old student who checked into a seedy ominous hotel in Los Angeles, a hotel with a history of violence, suicides and death, and she never checked out. What followed was probably the most bizarre investigation, one in which Elisa Lam in her death has been elevated to cult-like status.
After Elisa went missing and police were notified there was a search of the hotel. They could not find her. It was as if she had just up and vanished. A week later when tenants and guests began to complain about the odor and color of the tap water in their sinks, and someone went onto the roof to look into the water tanks, they discovered to their horror Elisa’s naked body floating with her clothes beside her. And this is truly when the mystery begins and still remains unsolved. How did she get there?
The book, Gone at Midnight chronicles Elisa Lam’s movements as best as can be done both by eyewitness and social media posts, the history of the Cecil Hotel, where she stayed and was found dead, a hotel where not one, but two serial killers stayed, an odd video which was mysteriously posted of Elisa in an elevator at the hotel which may be her last movements just before her disappearance (a video which you can see on YouTube) and if you are going to read the book I suggest you view; many conspiracy theories, law enforcement suppression of evidence and lastly how mental illness may have played a role.
Up to today, although the coroner finally ruled the death accidental, only after he first ruled it as inconclusive, there are more questions than answers as to what happened to Elisa and how she ended up in a water tank on a roof even though the roof had been searched by police and dog sniffers a week prior to finding her.
Author Jake Anderson became obsessed with the case (and still is) after seeing the initial elevator video which shows Elisa’s odd behavior. Was she being followed or was she having some sort of manic episode? Anderson then found out the tape seems to have time missing from it. Why? He then began looking at Lam’s on-line social media presence which was abundant. And stopped abruptly two days before her death.
He seems to find evidence of police/corporate conspiracy at the Cecil Hotel as well as evidence supression. With no official from the police department or the hotel willing to talk to him about anything, Anderson begins looking on the internet at website conspiracy sites and finds a plethora of information, some real and some outlandish. He then must sift through the reality versus the imagined.
Gone at Midnight, although a true story, reads like a psychological horror novel. Anderson meticulously takes the reader through the evidence, or lack of, the witnesses, some whom have disappeared, and the emotional mental journey Elisa Lam seemed to be on at the time of her death.
Will there ever be any type of resolution as to what really happened to Elisa Lam? If Jake Anderson has his way there most certainly will.
Thank you to #NetGalley #Citadel #JakeAnderson #GoneAtMidnight for the advanced copy.