College Girl, Missing

College Girl, Missing by Shawn Cohen

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for College Girl, Missing:

That’s it. My kid is not going to college.

Quick synopsis:

The story of the disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Speirer in 2011.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

I’ve been very drunk at Indiana University before. So, there’s that.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

California has the most missing persons by state in 2024. Rhode Island has the least.

My Take on College Girl, Missing:

College Girl, Missing by Shawn Cohen tells the story of Lauren Spierer, who in 2011 disappeared after a night of partying with friends. Cohen tells the entire story almost completely linearly and very effectively provides the reader what they need to know without excessive details. For a true crime tome, this is very succinct, in a good way.

The mileage you will get out of this book will depend upon the following question. How much do you remember about Lauren’s case? I do not remember hearing about it at all. This was entirely new to me, and I found it to be very engaging. Cohen also adds in some color such as how many reporters are pushed towards stories with affluent victims and his own scandal and subsequent firing. Since it was all new to me, this all felt very fresh.

If you remember this story and followed it at all, then you may not get nearly as much out of it. I’d say about 75% of the case can be gleaned from a few articles written on it and while Cohen certainly tried, he could not uncover anything substantial since the case went cold years ago. His attempts and limited success reaching out to the main players while writing the book left me underwhelmed.

So do you like true crime stories and don’t remember this one? Definitely grab it. If you followed this story back in the day, then it may still be worth it but don’t expect too many surprises.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Sourcebooks.)


An engrossing read. Buy it here!

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