EMMA COPLEY EISENBERG reads from her debut nonfiction book THE THIRD RAINBOW GIRL with STEPH CHA

The Third Rainbow Girl (Hachette Books)

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas--turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries.

Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.

Advance Praise for The Third Rainbow Girl:

“Brings to mind Truman Capote’s masterpiece In Cold Blood: elegantly written, perfectly paced… A major achievement.”—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

“For the indefatigable Emma Eisenberg, approaching the murders at Briery Knob is about more than who fired the gun.”—Nancy Isenberg, New York Times bestselling author of White Trash

“This is a book you won’t want to put down, one that will stay with you for a long time.”—Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Girls

“[Eisenberg’s] insights are hard won, deep, and devastating.”—Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls

“A scintillating investigation into the human psyche's astounding and sometimes chilling instinct for narrative.”—Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me

The Third Rainbow Girl succeeds on two levels: first, as a deep dive inquiry into the 1980 murders of two young women in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, and the ensuing, tangled investigation, and second, as an intimate and humane portrait of a close-knit Appalachian community, the kind of place that is often reduced by outsiders to little more than a cliché of itself. As Jimmy Breslin once wrote of the legendary New York chronicler, Damon Runyan, ‘He did what all great reporters do ...he hung out.’ A remarkable book.”—Richard Price, New York Times bestselling author of Lush Life

The Third Rainbow Girl is a riveting excavation of the secrets time, history, and place keep. In a long-buried crime, Emma Copley Eisenberg has unearthed a story that reveals America.”
—Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder & A Memoir

Emma Copley Eisenberg’s work has appeared in Granta, McSweeney's, VQR, Tin House, and The New Republic among other outlets, and has been recognized by the Millay Colony, the
Elizabeth George Foundation, Lambda Literary, and Longreads' Best Crime Reporting. She lives in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts.

Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her HomeBeware Beware, Dead Soon Enough, andYour House Will Pay, out from Ecco in 2019. She’s the noir editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles with her husband and two basset hounds.

Event date: 
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316449236
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - January 21st, 2020

Your House Will Pay: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062868855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - October 15th, 2019

Follow Her Home (Juniper Song Mysteries #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250009623
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Minotaur Books - April 16th, 2013

Dead Soon Enough: A Juniper Song Mystery (Juniper Song Mysteries #3) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250065315
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Minotaur Books - August 11th, 2015