When I started reading Kenneth Main’s book Unsolved No More, I thought I was going to get stories of cold cases that he has resolved. The book starts as his autobiography, and I wondered if I made a good choice. I write about cold cases, so that was what I wanted. Then I hit his chapter on why cases go cold. That chapter alone should make this book required reading for law enforcement professionals. He confirmed what Victoria and I have encountered in our own cold case research for books. One word – “wow!” I actually re-read portions of that chapter twice because it resonated with me so well. I have seen the tunnel-vision of some investigators at the expense of the survivors and the victims getting resolution.
Mains knows his stuff, that much is true. His autobiography portion of the book is there for two reasons. One is to establish his credibility. Done! Two, explaining why he became drawn to the twilight world of cold cases. Done again. In fact, looking back at that portion of the book, it was masterfully done to achieve these goals. “I see what you’ve done there Detective Mains – well played…”
The absolute best portion of this book is the actual cold cases themselves that he worked on. Kenneth Mains is a law enforcement equivalent of a surgeon of cold cases…he diagnoses the issues and, working with precision, dissects the cases with consummate skill and care. There is no flowery language here, these are written with the icy calculated care of a professional.
The case stories Mains has written about are beyond gripping, they draw you in and hold you tight as he puts you in his shoes in looking at them. These are not the kind of cases you see on Discovery ID, they are more of the gritty real-world cases. Not all of them have the kind of red ribbon tied to them at the end that you might expect with a perfect resolution. I was caught off guard by some of the resolutions, and as a reader, that’s a good thing.
The true crime genre is in its infancy when it comes to the subgenre of cold cases. I highly recommend this wonderful book if you want to understand the cold case investigatory process or if you want to dive into some cases that are filled with twists, turns, and more than a few surprises. Pick up Unsolved No More, you won’t be disappointed.