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Retro Reading: Closing Time: The True Story of the Goodbar Murder by Lacey Fosburgh


In the digital age (thanks to various dating apps and websites) casual hookups are commonplac, yet they can still be dangerous.

Back in the days of Yore, most people met in bars near closing time and afterward life went on and chances are the couple never saw one another. Possibly the biggest dilemma was the guilt felt the next morning.

Whether casual hookup work(ed) there are two people who are “married” for eternity and their actions are infamous. It’s something I’m sure neither wanted.

On New Year’s Day, 1973, Katherine Cleary decided to go to her favorite bar and later met Joe Willie Simpson. Their tryst would end in murder, along with a bestselling book and movie known as Looking for Mr. Goodbar.

After being assigned the story, journalist Lacey Fosburgh became obsessed with the story and delved further into the lives of both Cleary and Simpson. What she found was that both were two peas in a pod, lonely and on various paths of self destruction.

By day, Cleary was a teacher for deaf students and Simpson was a petty thief and street hustler, who always had big plans.

Both were running from life and looking for self fulfillment in all the wrong places.

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While the author uses facts through interviews (in some cases she does take creative licensing when the facts could be this or that scenario and she does clarify what she thinks happened) and gives an honest portrayal of both.

This is a fascinating fast read and one that is hard to put down. You can’t help but become immersed in their lives and feel sympathy for all involved.

Haunting and riveting, this is one book that will stay with you for a long time.

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