The Lazarus Files: Reviews

Advance Praise for The Lazarus Files by Matthew McGough

The Lazarus Files is crime writing at its finest. Matthew McGough’s deep dive into one of the most controversial cases in Los Angeles history is expertly researched and recreated in exacting and haunting detail. I was riveted.” —Michael Connelly

The Lazarus Files chronicles one of the most fascinating homicide cases in the history of the LAPD. Matthew McGough does a herculean job of research and reporting in order to track down the many serpentine threads in this coldest of cold cases. This is a thrilling story of justice long delayed—but justice finally served.” —Miles Corwin, author of the national bestseller The Killing Season and Los Angeles Times bestseller Homicide Special

“The Lazarus Files is a thorough, comprehensive, and impressive account of the murder of Sherri Rasmussen, and how LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus got away with the crime for more than two decades. Matthew McGough has not only written a singular true crime story, but a careful and damning indictment of systemic failure, one that should reverberate for years to come.” —Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World

Pre-Publication Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) – March 21, 2019:

“In this engrossing true crime account, McGough, the author of a memoir, Bat Boy, and a former legal consultant for TV’s Law & Order, exposes a horrifying Los Angeles murder that was not solved for decades—and an even more disturbing LAPD cover-up. In 1986, 29-year-old nurse Sherri Rasmussen was killed in her home by someone who battered her face and shot her multiple times, leaving the corpse to be found by her husband, John Ruetten. Though there was an obvious suspect—Ruetten’s ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Lazarus, who had threatened Rasmussen—the investigating officers pursued the theory that burglars killed Rasmussen. McGough proposes a possible explanation for that choice: since Lazarus was an LAPD officer, some of her colleagues were less than diligent in exploring any possibility that led to her. Eventually, a cold case investigator tracked down DNA evidence from a bite mark on the victim’s arm that implicated Lazarus. By then an LAPD detective, Lazarus was arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2012. Despite that verdict, readers will be left with a sense that justice has not been done, since no one at the LAPD was held accountable for the many mistakes that enabled Lazarus to get away with murder for more than 20 years. This memorable and powerful work deserves a wide readership.”