Third Rainbow Girl : The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia
by Eisenberg, Emma Copley







Author's Notexiii
Map of West Virginia
xv
Map of Pocahontas County
xvi
True Things1(6)
Part I Welcome Home
7(40)
Part II A Divided Heart
47(32)
Part III The Relevant Necessary People
79(48)
Part IV A Perfect Story
127(50)
Part V The Cogs Don't Meet
177(40)
Part VI Jesse in the Quiet Zone
217(36)
Part VII The Third Rainbow Girl
253(60)
Acknowledgments313(4)
Further Reading317


An investigation into the 1980 murder of two women in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, recreates the events of the tragedy, the targeting of vulnerable suspects and the history of mysterious violence that continues to overshadow the region. 60,000 first printing.





Emma Copley Eisenberg is a writer whose work has appeared in Granta, VQR, McSweeney's, Tin House, The Paris Review online, The New Republic, Salon, Slate, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Lambda Literary, and the New Economy Coalition. Her reporting has been recognized by GLAAD, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the Deadline Club and Longreads' Best Crime Reporting 2017. Eisenberg lives in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts.





*Starred Review* In the summer of 1980, the Rainbow Gathering, a festival celebrating peace and harmony, descended upon Pocahontas County, West Virginia, bringing thousands of hippies to the remote mountain community. Tragedy struck when two young women who were hitchhiking to the festival, 26 year-old Vicki Durian and 19 year-old Nancy Santomero, were found shot to death off the side of a country road. Suspicions and accusations plagued Pocahontas County for 13 years before police convicted a local man, Jacob Beard, for what became known as the Rainbow Murders. However, more questions would arise when a known serial killer confessed to the crime, resulting in an overturned conviction for Beard. Eisenberg reflects on her time working in West Virginia and how this traumatic event produced lasting effects on the entire community. The book is more than just another true crime memoir; Eisenberg has crafted a beautiful and complicated ode to West Virginia. Exquisitely written, this is a powerful commentary on society's notions of gender, violence, and rural America. Readers of literary nonfiction will devour this title in one sitting. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





A former resident of Appalachia reconsiders its unsolved "Rainbow Murders" in a genre-straddling debut that blends true crime and memoir. Eisenberg tells two interwoven stories that span three decades in heavily forested Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The first—and by far the more interesting—story centers on the unsolved 1980 murders of two young women whose bodies turned up in a clearing after they were shot while hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering. Alarming rumors quickly spread about local farmer Jacob Beard, who went to prison for the Rainbow Murders 13 years later. Then Charlie Rose and 60 Minutes II, having heard that serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin had confessed to the crimes, started poking around, and a judge granted a new trial for Beard, whom a jury found not guilty. Alleging police misconduct and malicious prosecution, Beard sued and was awarded nearly $2 million. Eisenberg learned of the murders while working for an anti-poverty program in the area after graduating from college, and she reconstructs the case with a brisk pace and a keen sensitivity to a Gord ian knot of kinship and other ties that posed challenges for the police and suspects alike. The author's compelling second story is, in effect, a memoir of her coming-of-age in Pocahontas County, involving bluegrass parties, lots of alcohol, and sex with an inapt partner. "I told him I was queer and that my most recent relationship had been with a woman," she writes. "That's cool, he said." Several themes link the true-crime and memoir sections—including how we distinguish lies from the truth—and a related set piece explores the stereotypes of Appalachians as either "noble and stalwart" mountaineers or "profligate" and "amusing" hillbillies. With access to Beard and other key figures, Eisenberg avoids both perils and offers a nuanced portrait of a crime and its decadeslong effects. A promising young author reappraises a notorious double murder—and her life. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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