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Publisher's Summary

The true story of a cold case, a compulsive liar, and five determined detectives, from the number-one New York Times best-selling author and “master journalist” (The Wall Street Journal). 

On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, ages 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, DC. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and the mystery endured.   

Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware. 

The acclaimed author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968 had been a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper at the time of the original disappearance, and covered the frantic first weeks of the story. In The Last Stone, he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? The Last Stone recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.

©2019 Mark Bowden. Recorded by arrangement with Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • D. FOXX
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • 2019-04-06

What an incredible book, I could not put it down!!

The writing was simply incredible, and the narrator - wonderful.
Having grown up in Montgomery County, and lived through this tragedy, this book gives such an insight into just how big this actually was. I would love to thank Mr Bowden for his efforts, as well as all of the law enforcement involved.
IMO- This is a must read/listen for anyone affected by the abduction and murder of these two children. My heart breaks for Mr n Mrs Lyon. The details are gut wrenching, I can’t imagine how a parent would even process this.
Just tragic.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • O. Anderson
  • Dallas, TX
  • 2019-05-13

Great narration

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I understand what some reviewers mean about the extreme repetition of story. I felt the same way but believe that was necessary to demonstrate how persistent the interrogators had to be in sifting through the inconsistent details of the story. Most ordinary people would have become frustrated and given up earlier. I thought this was a work of fiction until the end of the book when it became apparent this was real life. I preferred thinking it was fiction (to knowing people could be so deranged). As for ultimate guilt, it is unfortunate that many of the leads that were found later were not identified in time to make a more definitive case. In the end, it seems that more than a few people got away with a heinous crime.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • c
  • 2019-05-03

Redundant and tiresome read

The book addresses a specific aspect of the criminal investigation and covers 70 plus hours of interviews with a suspect. The team painstakingly unravels the suspects repeated lies one by one. While it seems that this story is comprehensive it is not compelling or engaging. The work was tiresome and repetitive and so is the book. The crime itself, abduction, rape, and murder of two little girls, is horrific the search for justice is plodding. This book is simply a boring read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kay McDonald
  • 2019-04-23

How to get an innocent man to confess

I found it painful to listen the detectives manipulated this poor guy who was happy to get lunch and company. His confession mirrored back what the detectives were telling him. they had no concrete evidence. The author did a good job of compiling the information I just feel that he came to the wrong conclusion. The innocence Project would have A heyday with this conviction.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • wjw
  • 2019-04-06

Way too drawn out

I felt this could have been less boring had they reduced the interviews by at least a dozen "I didn't do that!". I only got through chapter 4 before I couldn't take any more.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Coni C.
  • 2019-05-20

Okay

I can see the time and effort of the law enforcement team but the story was long and uneventful no clear ending other than to see there are really bad monsters in this world!

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  • WD
  • USA
  • 2019-05-15

Disturbing but it brought closure to this DC native

I was a teenager in 1974 living in DC. I never forgot the missing Lyon sisters. I have read many of Mark Bowden’s books and they are all worthwhile reads. So I screwed down my courage and listen to the book in its entirety. It is hard to take; the brutality, cruelty and perversion. The author tells it straight without embellishment or preaching. A modern In Cold Blood? Sure I can endorse that compliment.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda
  • 2019-05-12

One more try, then sending back.

This is the same trope (true story or not) over and over and over and over again.

The criminal says "I didn't do it!" The police questioners play good copy / bad copy.

I'm going to hear one more 15 minute stretch, then I'm done if it is the same thing again.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Booky Galore
  • Niverville, NY USA
  • 2019-05-04

Well-written but graphic details almost unbearable

Mark Bowden's writing is good throughout, and the mystery about the disappearance of the two Lyons girls is a seductive puzzle; it's why I bought the book. But some readers should be cautioned that the graphic details and reimagined violence are almost unbearable.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • Harleysville, PA, USA
  • 2019-04-26

Unbelieveable, shocking story - superbly told!

From the minute I started listening to this book, I was entranced and could not stop listening. I have read most of Mark Bowden's books, they are all excellent. This one was a tour de force. The narration was great! You felt like you were in the same room with the murderer and detectives. It was both fascinating and horrifying.