The Hot One

  • by Carolyn Murnick
  • Narrated by Hillary Huber
  • 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A gripping memoir of friendship with a tragic twist - two childhood best friends diverge as young adults, one woman is brutally murdered and the other is determined to uncover the truth about her wild and seductive friend.
As girls growing up in rural New Jersey in the late 1980s, Ashley and Carolyn had everything in common: two outsiders who loved spending afternoons exploring the woods. Only when the girls attended different high schools did they begin to grow apart. While Carolyn struggled to fit in, Ashley quickly became a hot girl: popular, extroverted, and sexually precocious.
After high school, Carolyn entered college in New York City and Ashley ended up in Los Angeles, where she quit school to work as a stripper and an escort, dating actors and older men, and experimenting with drugs. The last time Ashley visited New York, Carolyn was shocked by how the two friends had grown apart. One year later, Ashley was stabbed to death at age twenty-two in her Hollywood home.
The man who may have murdered Ashley - an alleged serial killer - now faces trial in Los Angeles. Carolyn Murnick traveled across the country to cover the case and learn more about her magnetic and tragic friend. Part coming-of-age story, part true-crime mystery, The Hot One is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama of a trial and the poignancy of searching for the truth about a friend's truly horrifying murder.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Smart One

This is definitely NOT just a true crime tale, more of a memoir about female friendship and grief. If you're looking for a gripping whodunit, this isn't exactly it. But, if you want to give it a chance, it's worth it. I found the perspectives on long (stemming from childhood) female friendship incredibly accurate; she put things into words that I've felt but never expressed. Her grieving process and the way she handles her best friend's murder remind me a little of Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking". I teared up a few times, as things hit close to home. And though I would've enjoyed more details about the murder case and the suspect's subsequent prosecution, if you head into this not expecting too much of that, it is still enjoyable.

I received a free copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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- Amazon Customer

I'm surprised more people don't like this

I read a review of this on Refinery29, which is what enticed me to purchase it. I think that they summed it up well, so I've included parts of their write up below:

"The Hot One follows this trend and yet manages to subvert the genre and typical narrative arc of true crime — violence, then investigation, then conviction — by exploring the long-term implications of the way violent crime reshapes memories. It also leaves the reader without an easy resolution, as the book is upfront about the fact that Ellerin’s accused killer is still awaiting trial and has yet to be convicted. The book is often explicit about the horrific details of Ellerin’s murder, but these details aren’t what propel the narrative. For this reason it feels different from some of the other more formulaic projects currently making up the true crime zeitgeist.
In the The Hot One, Murnick explores the idea that, as women, we shouldn’t need to be “the hot one” or “the smart one”. By telling the story of a lost friend, she successfully argues that the perception and judgements that relegate women to one box or the other are harmful and all too common. This is a book about murder — it is a central fact of the story — and in that way it’s part of the true-crime phenomenon. But The Hot One is also an elegy to female friendship and the ways it shapes us, even as we grow older and grow apart. Most women, even those who have not lost someone to violent crime, will relate."
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- Jane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-02-2017
  • Publisher: Novel Audio