In her brilliant book The Skeleton Crew, Deborah Halber explains why local law enforcement often fails to investigate [John and Jane Doe] deaths … While the population of the anonymous dead receives only scant attention from the police or the media, it has given rise to a macabre subculture of Internet sleuthing. Ms. Halber chronicles with lucidity and wit how amateur investigators troll websites … and check online databases looking for matches between the reported missing and the unidentified dead.” — The Wall Street Journal

A lively study that’s part whodunit, part sociological study. . . . The result is eminently entertaining and will be devoured by armchair detectives.” — Publishers Weekly

Halber weaves together a half-dozen cold cases, and delivers brief profiles of scores of tangential characters. She’s an engaging, artful writer, which helps as the narrative threads start to get tangled.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

A fascinating look at the crossroads of information availability, serious dedication, and the spark of human intuition that no machine could replicate.” — San Francisco Book Review

An interesting, easy to read book that will inspire my fellow writers for sure, written by a true crime writer that Vance Custer would look up to.” — Sons of Spade

The book is written so compellingly, I couldn’t put it down, so be warned and realize that you may want to carve out some serious time for this one.” — Bookhound

The Skeleton Crew is a carefully crafted account of an intriguing new opportunity for arm chair sleuths. Thanks to the Internet, anyone with a computer, curiosity, patience, and a passion for justice can enter the dark world of missing persons and unsolved homicides. It’s fascinating to learn how such matches are made and heartening to witness the growing cooperation between law enforcement and ordinary citizens whose persistence can sometimes crack the code in cold cases that have languished unresolved for years. I loved it.” — Sue Grafton

In all of the cold cases I deal with, the victims are identified. …I never once thought about a case where someone stumbles upon a pile of human bones in their backyard and the victim needs to be identified. The book opened up a new world to me, someone who thought they had seen it all. I look forward to more from Deborah Halber.” — Prosecutor’s Discretion

Death be not proud: Against all odds, the web sleuths are succeeding in providing tips crucial to solving cases, some decades old, and demonstrating that the persistence and power of crowdsourcing can alter the way law enforcement has traditionally interacted with the public. The Skeleton Crew is an engrossing foray into a most curious treasure hunt.” —

It is gripping stuff.” — True Crime Reader

Kudos to Deborah Halber for the insightful, interesting The Skeleton Crew!” — Brodhead Memorial Library

This was not a ‘light’ read, but it was an easy and fascinating read for someone like me who really enjoys these true crime stories.” – Jenn’s Review Blog

Here’s a book that will tickle the fancy of amateur crime solvers everywhere.” — Cape Cod Times

True crime readers will enjoy The Skeleton Crew, following the hobbyists’ detective work which leads to real-life mysteries solved.” — Between the Covers (Baltimore County Public Library)

The book caught my interest right away. I found Halber viewed things and perhaps became acquainted with people much like a cop would classify them.” — The Boogie Man is My Friend

Halber tells the story of these fascinating web sleuths, both humanizing the searchers and the unidentified remains, some of which, like the Lady of the Dunes, remain unidentified by the book’s end, and the scientific research and clear explanations resonate with a general audience.” — Fiction Reboot | Daily Dose

[Halber] is good at bringing out the personalities of some peculiar loners and competitive cranks who are, in a strange little way, benefiting their communities.” — The Dispatch (Columbus, MS)

Deborah Halber’s absorbing look at a very odd corner of our world…” — The Seattle Times

If you like tales of discovered body parts, heads in concrete in buckets, corpses whose hands have been cut off, decomposition, decay and death, then this fascinating, riveting book is for you.” — Providence Journal

Halber writes vividly and engagingly about long-ago crimes and the modern-day detectives who breathe new life into closed cases. . . . With Halber they have found a loving home, where they are portrayed as larger than life characters and lauded as heroes.” — The Boston Globe

If you’ve ever wanted to use your Google-stalking abilities for good instead of evil … this pulpy nonfiction book will seriously inspire you.” — PureWow

Deborah Halber replaces the classic whodunit with what you might call a whosolvesit.” — Mother Jones

Halber follows stories of other volunteers through a handful of exceptional cases, most still unsolved. Many of the details are gruesome and the search for justice inconclusive, but the journey is fascinating. Mystery and true crime readers will especially enjoy this book.” — Shelf Awareness

When it comes to your Books to Read pile, The Skeleton Crew is one that shouldn’t be missing.” — The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)

As a first-time author, Halber has produced a masterpiece in the odd and sometimes macabre world of online sleuthing.” — Robert A. Waters, Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem

[Halber’s] bang-on descriptions and recondite details are riveting.” — Maclean’s

The Skeleton Crew: How a motley band of amateurs solves cold cases online.” — Laura Miller, Salon

I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books that gets under your skin. …I know of no better guide for navigating this multifaceted world than Halber’s book.” — Katherine Ramsland, Pyschology Today

As promised by its subtitle, [The Skeleton Crew] is all about ‘how amateur sleuths are solving America’s coldest cases.’ It’s about the internet and obsession and the incredible feats of crime-solving that everyday people have pulled off with a little help from Google. And it’s so great! You needn’t be into the cold case thing to find these people and stories utterly fascinating.” — Book Riot

From home-computer screens to a new national database, join The Skeleton Crew for a page-turning behind-the-scenes look at the world of Internet sleuths who give names to the men and women who have died without identity. For the first time ever, readers are brought the real-life cases of missing persons, the unidentified dead, and the network of people that gives them their names . . . proving once again what I said at the conclusion of every episode of America’s Most Wanted: ‘One person can make a difference.’” — John Walsh, host of The Hunt

This isn’t the most pleasant book to read, but not because it isn’t well written. It’s the subject matter; it brought tears to my eyes.” — Book Hog

A compelling glimpse into a little-known subculture inhabited by a colorful cast of the idiosyncratic, the quirky, and the downright weird.” — Alison Bass, author of Side Effects

Both charming and disturbing…” — Kirkus Reviews

These days, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to solve crimes like Sherlock Holmes; all you need is a computer connection and an unwavering obsession to solve the coldest, most macabre of cases. Author Deborah Halber follows these obsessives and finds out what drives their curiosity.” — Flavorwire

In this highly addictive story-within-a-story narrative, Deborah Halber skillfully exposes the complex Internet subculture of amateur sleuths. The people who obsess over the fates and identities of Jane and John Does are puzzles in themselves, which adds a fascinating layer to this captivating book. The Skeleton Crew will likely inspire many more case resolutions.” — Katherine Ramsland, author of The Devil’s Dozen and Cemetery Stories

Exploring the world of amateur sleuths, Halber proves to be the perfect guide: unflinching, perceptive, wry. I was hooked from page one.” — Allison Hoover Bartlett, bestselling author of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

An integral component of NamUs is the group of responsible, dedicated volunteers who scour case details in an effort to match long-term missing persons to unidentified decedents. In The Skeleton Crew, Deborah Halber follows the journey of some of these volunteers who have made it their mission to assist criminal justice professionals in resolving those cases.” — Arthur Eisenberg, PhD, Co-Director, UNT Center for Human Identification


Finished @DeborahHalber ‘s Skeleton Crew in one sitting.

Loving #SkeletonCrew @DeborahHalber first time in a long time, I want to stay on the plane after it has landed to keep reading!

@DeborahHalber I picked up your book today. Looks fascinating. Can’t wait to start it. Great topic!

@DeborahHalber Reading (+ loving) The Skeleton Crew. Also: now considering having my ssn tattooed somewhere on my body.

Grab @DeborahHalber’s fantastic book “The Skeleton Crew.” It’s a terrific journey.

@DeborahHalber Just finished your book. Loved it!

Getting off Twitter to go start reading THE SKELETON CREW by @DeborahHalber.


Just finished “The Skeleton Crew.” Excellent book. I’m from the Boston area and just drove out and saw Quackie’s basketball court in Snug Harbor.

Hi! I’m in Chicago and heard your interview about your book and immediately went to my local bookstore to order a copy! It sounds so fascinating! I hope your book tour includes a visit to Chicago! I can’t wait to read this! Good luck!

So excited as my preorder for Deborah Halber, author, The Skeleton Crew came in today. Reading and laughing how she describes Todd Matthews … got him to a tee!

So excited! Got my copy of Skeleton Crew from Amazon TODAY. The cover looks great.


I haven’t even finished it and I am compelled to tell you how much I’m enjoying Skeleton Crew. The only problem is that it kept me up much too late last night because I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.

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