I haven’t slept well the past few nights because I stayed up pass my bedtime to read and finish The Lazarus Files, by the non-fiction writer, Mathew McGough, out on April 30th. I simply couldn’t bring myself to put the book down. Occasionally I would let out ‘Oh My Gosh – did they really,’ or ‘the poor thing,’ most often I rumbled along the lines ‘do your job LAPD.’ My husband would throw me a cautionary look ‘what’s wrong?’ but it would be left unanswered. I was knee deep in a murder investigation.
On Monday, February 24, 1986, Sherri Rasmussen, an impressive young woman with a bright future and a recent newlywed was gruesomely killed in the condo she shared with her husband. Sherri had the world in the palm of her hand, but evil couldn’t stand to see her happy. She had been shot three times in the chest, she had sustained a head injury and a nasty bite mark too, when detectives arrived on the scene, after her husband came home from work and discovered her lifeless body, they quickly concluded that Sherri had fought mighty with her killer, unfortunately, it wasn’t a battle she won. On that day, no one could have predicted that it would take thirty years for Sherri’s killer to be found.
But if killing an innocent person who was beloved by so many wasn’t devastating enough, here is where Sherri’s story turns darker, convulsive, conspiratory. Sherri’s family suspected John’s ex-girlfriend to have had something to do with Sherri’s death, who weeks before had shared with her parents that she felt watched. Stephanie Lazarus, the ex, even showed up at Sherri’s work and threatened her. Stephanie by all accounts had a motive to kill Sherri. Then how come LAPD detectives refused to pursue Stephanie Lazarus as a suspect? They refused to investigate her for thirty years. The caveat, Stephanie Lazarus was an LAPD police officer, who was well-liked and respected by the brass.
It will take the bravery and tenaciousness of a few detectives within the department to reexamine a case gone cold and Mathew McGough was our eyes and ears. He began writing the book in June 2009 and diligently kept up researching and writing the Lazarus Files for the next nine years. The book, a true crime, is the product of a meticulous mind, who left no stone unturned. He spoke with a roster of names to piece it all together.
By the time I reached the final pages of the Lazarus Files, I felt breathless. The book is out April 30th and it’s riveting.