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Book Club Kits: Last Call

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary


A "terrific, harrowing, true-crime account of an elusive serial killer who preyed upon gay men in the 1990s."
-The New York Times (Editor's Pick)

"In this astonishing and powerful work of nonfiction, Green meticulously reports on a series of baffling and brutal crimes targeting gay men. It is an investigation filled with twists and turns, but this is much more than a compelling true crime story. Green has shed light on those whose lives for too long have been forgotten, and rescued an important part of American history."
-David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.-PUBLISHER

Discussion Questions

  1. What was something you searched online while reading the book because you wanted to know more or look a detail up?

  1. Has anyone watched a documentary on the case? If yes, how was the book different? If not, what would you like to see in a documentary on the case?

  1. Officials have not definitively identified a primary crime scene, according to the book. What are your theories?

  1. Anthony Marrero was a sex worker when he was murdered. Another New York City serial killer, Joel Rifkin, also specifically targeted sex workers. What are possible ways -- whether it be through laws, social changes, or so on -- to help protect this vulnerable population?

  1. What moments, scenes, or quotes from the book stuck out to you the most?

  1. The book focuses much more on the victims than the identity of the killer, which is rare in true crime media. How did this impact your experience with the book? 

  1. What did you think of Rogers' eventual convictions and sentencing? Was it fair?

  1. The case, due to where bodies were found, crosses into different jurisdictions. Although more comprehensive technology and databases exist today, what are some techniques or ways you think could help authorities notice cases are possibly connected?

  1. Have you heard of Fred Spencer’s death in connection to Rogers before the book? 

  1. Rick Unterberg—the piano player—passed away during the pandemic, but his memory of Townhouse, the time in New York amid the AIDS epidemic, and who he met while working at the bar is described in great detail. He says quote: “I sort of equate it to 9/11. It’s so long in the past that it’s now in the history books. And this new generation wasn’t here for it.” What are ways to keep the stories of the victims from being forgotten in history?

About the Author

Elon Green has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, and appears in Unspeakable Acts, Sarah Weinman’s anthology of true crime. Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York was his first book and won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.

Aside from his fiction writing his works, he has been a columnist for several prestigious publications over the years. He has written columns for The Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.

He has also written short stories for a true crime anthology. Lastly, he has spent more than ten years working at Longform as an editor.