Portrait of a Monster by Lisa Pulitzer, Cole Thompson

“Natalee’s story had all the ingredients the media savored when looking for a sensational news event. A beautiful blonde; a smart, college-bound high school senior; an upscale, upstanding citizen vanishes in an exotic Caribbean paradise…. Natalee was a sister, a friend, a classmate, a fellow American, a collective daughter vanishing in the prime of her life.” --Page 118

My Review and Thoughts:

This is a case I have been following since the start. I remember when the breaking news report of a missing Alabama school girl on vacation with her senior class broke into my TV program I was watching back in 2005. Natalee Holloway became a house hold name and the mysterious young and handsome playboy Joran became somewhat of the mythical boogeyman.

“Standing six feet four, with a pale complexion, angular features, and piercing brown eyes, the twenty-two-year-old cut a striking image…. Joran Andreas Petrus van der Sloot was born August 6th, 1987.…Chain smoking, unshaven, and quiet, the brown-haired guest in Room 309 was a night owl and a loner.” --Page 2

This was a case and still is a case of many made-up stories of how this young girl vanished off the face of the earth. After much legal mumbo jumbo Joran who being held in an Aruba holding cell was let go and forever became the one who seemed to get away. No evidence convicts him, yet the public and law system, believes he did kill Natalee Holloway. He went free and then another truly haunting and tragic crime occurred by this young downward spiraling man. Another woman goes missing and ends up being found murdered in Joran’s motel room. This time the evidence seemed a closed case, the camera does not lie, two entered the room and only one came out.

“But the Dutchman’s charm was almost hypnotic.” --Page 27

This is a fascinating and truly offal story. Two women, murdered, one young man, the devil in sheep’s clothing haunting the world and his prey. The new modern Ted Bundy. Slick, handsome, the jock playboy next door. I believe he is a serial killer and there are many more victims then we know about. This is an amazing researched and well-developed book of knowledge on this case.

“His impassive brown eyes could be so utterly sincere that it was almost impossible to believe he was not telling the truth.” --Page 30

“Joran had an insatiable sexual appetite and was often out on the prowl.” --Page 31

This book is a massive research tool, there is a lot of information on all the aspects of the cases. You need to look no further than this book. It’s an unfolding of what seems like a never-ending story of secrets, lies, mystery, blood and most of all murder.

What is amazing about this book is it gives you all the inside scoop. The leading up moments and the hidden moments not talked about before the ordeals. The news only focuses on the incident after it happens, this book gives you detailed information on who each person was and how they are involved. You get to know the past, along with the present incident.

“He seemed like a normal teenager, one of them.” ---Page 36

The only real flaw I have with the book is it repeats a lot of the Natalee Holloway mystery and disappearance which is fine if you don’t know the situation, but if you know the ordeal like I do it tends to be a little repeat action because there are countless other media, books, papers and articles on the subject. I show no disrespect to Holloway’s family because what happened is heart breaking, and Natalee deserves to be remembered, and a lesson should be learned from the incident, but the subject has been hammered into the minds of the public repeatedly to the point you blur it out, and so with this book the repeating of the same thing that everyone or at least most everyone knows can be a little yawning, yet still is great to get that recap reality of the whole story.

The main highpoint to the book is the murder case and information of Stephany Flores which is the latest mystery involved in the Joran Van der Sloot Saga. This gives you all the info, from the murder depiction and the reactions of the family. This book stands out as being a truly great crime piece of pure knowledge, and research that any person wanting to know everything about Joran van der Sloot, and his criminal actions needs to look no further than this tour-de-force of excellent reporting.

The brutal nature of how Stephany was murdered is detailed as the autopsy is discussed. The sadistic reality of this act by Joran upon this innocent woman is truly an eye-opening experience. To learn the pain and suffering she must have went through is heart breaking to lay there and slowly die in unimaginable pain is downright evil.

One can only speculate the rage and pain and horror he showed to Natalee that fateful night in 2005. I have always wondered about one reality to the Natalee ordeal and that is Joran stated he left his shoes behind on the beach, which his shoes have never been seen again, even after a hundred-thousand-dollar reward was offered for any evidence found. This was about going under the theory, that he did leave his shoes, and that someone else took them, because they thought someone had just left them.

I personally believe that Joran kicked Natalee to death in a fit of rage. Kicking her face and head with his shoed feet, and that is why he had to get rid of the shoes because they contained his crime. I believe she refused his sexual advances, no one refuses Joran, and Joran always gets what he wants. He raped her, and then in rage and panic, he murdered her. I believe he called his friends, and in a panic after trying to figure out what to do, they called Joran dad’s Paulas, and he helped them cover up the crime. I believe this is a case that will never be solved unless Joran for once in his life comes forward, and really tells the truth and pinpoints where Natalee’s body is, but until that day it will be just another unsolved mystery. 


This is a great book to read, I highly recommend it. This is a thought provoking and well researched and developed book. It is one that truly stands out as being a perfect crime book that answers all the questions during and after the ordeals involving Joran. This truly is a Portrait of a Monster.