Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

The Last Stone

A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation

by Mark Bowden

From “master of narrative journalism” (New York Times) and #1 bestselling author Mark Bowden, comes a gripping true crime story about the disappearance of two girls in 1975, and the extraordinary effort—40 years later—to bring their kidnapper to justice

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 352
  • Publication Date April 02, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4730-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date April 02, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4731-8
  • US List Price $27.00

About the Book

On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon, age 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and 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.

As a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, Mark Bowden 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.

Praise for The Last Stone:

“Bowden delivers a narrative nonfiction masterpiece in this account of fiercely dedicated police detectives working to close a cold case… This is an intelligent page-turner likely to appeal even to readers who normally avoid true crime.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Riveting… A keen synthesis of an intricate, decadeslong investigation, a stomach-churning unsolved crime, and a solid grasp of time, place, and character results in what is sure to be another bestseller for Bowden.” Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Mark Bowden:

“A Woodward that outdoes even Woodward.” Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker

“Amazing . . . One of the most intense, visceral reading experiences imaginable. . . . The individual stories are woven together in such a compelling and expert fashion, the narrative flows so seamlessly, that it’s hard to imagine that this is not fiction.” Philadelphia Inquirer on Black Hawk Down

“The reader can visualize the action, smell the dust and sweat and the reek of explosives, and even enter into the exultation, fear, rage, pain, confusion, and exhaustion of the combatants. . . . Because he was able to interview survivors on both sides relatively soon after the action, Bowden’s story has a vitality and freshness usually lacking in accounts of combat.” —New York Review of Books on Black Hawk Down

“A compelling, almost Shakespearean tale.” Los Angeles Times on Killing Pablo

“Bowden has emerged as one of our best writers of muscular nonfiction.” —Edward P. Smith, Denver Post

“Mark Bowden is the reigning champion of narrative non-fiction.” —Alex Massie, Scotland on Sunday (UK)

“Heart-stopping, and heart-breaking.” —New York Times Book Review on Guests of the Ayatollah

“Bowden is consistently curious about the anonymous, often invisible operators who power modern warfare–drone operators, intelligence agents, special forces teams . . . Bowden tells a good story.” —Michael Schulson, Salon on The Three Battles of Wanat

Bookseller praise for The Last Stone:

“I’m a big fan of Law & Order, so I was intrigued by the case documented in great detail here. What happened and who really made the two sisters disappear? At times I wanted to have this case all wrapped up like they do on my favorite show but as I read what the detectives went through to pull the truth out of someone who made a living of lying to everyone (including himself), I gained a new perspective on what it really takes to solve a crime.” —Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore

“Brace yourself. This is real. 1975. Katherine and Sheila Lyons (10 and 12 years old) were abducted from a mall in suburban DC. Fast forward 40 years. Lloyd Lee Welch, an incarcerated child molester, is somehow linked with the sisters’ disappearance. The 40-year mystery is painstakingly unraveled in nearly 3 years of interrogations, conversations, and confrontations. The dialogue is that of Welch and the detectives determined to reveal the past and path of a monster. A monster both cunning and incredibly naive. And ultimately, incapable of empathy or regret. Welch’s story changed by the day, by the hour, and sometimes mid-sentence. Equally appalling is the morally corrupt family and clan which was bound to create at least one murderer. Drugs, incest, rape, and violence were the norm. They were hell-bent on satisfying their own needs and protecting each other’s hide. There are so many layers to this story. So many implications and terrible lessons. I simply could not look away.” —Robin Templin, Watermark Books