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Gitchie Girl

Gitchie Girl
Phil Hamman, Sandy Hamman
Electio Publishing, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
A terrified voice cried out in the night.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

The sound of snapping twigs closed in on the five teenagers enjoying an evening around a glowing campfire at Gitchie Manitou State Park. The night of music and laughter had taken a dark turn. Evil loomed just beyond the tree line, and before the night was over, one of the Midwest's most horrific mass murders had left its bloodstains spewed across the campsite. One managed to survive and would come to be known as the "Gitchie Girl." Harrowing memories of the terrifying crime sent her spiraling out of control, and she grasped at every avenue to rebuild her life. Can one man, a rescue dog, and a glimmer of faith salvage a broken soul? This true story will touch your heart and leave you cheering that good can prevail over the depravity of mankind.

Through extensive research, interviews, and personal insight, the authors bring a riveting look at the heinous crime that shook the Midwest in the early 1970s. Written from rare, inside interviews with the lone survivor, who broke nearly four decades of silence, this shocking yet moving story will not soon be forgotten.


This is a local, infamous story - one I was not familiar with. I knew that something terrible happened in Gitchie Manitou, but beyond homicide, I didn’t know much. People in our area have been interested in the book for a while now, and I finally got around to reading it. I was skeptical of how it would read, since it didn’t have a big publisher associated with it, but I liked the third person point of view. It made the true crime book read like a fiction novel. Furthermore, it was edited better than I thought it would be. There was only one spot that felt like it didn’t belong in the section it was in. The only thing that could have been done better was the ending. I felt like I knew enough about what happened to Sandy during the crime and the trial, but I didn’t feel like there was any closure regarding the aftermath. It showed her happy, but I didn’t feel like it wrapped up well. Maybe explaining why she decided to come forward now would have helped.

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