UPDATE: The author’s reps say that a deal is not yet done and that I have jumped the gun on this one. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Robert Kolker bestselling book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery. Published by Harper, the book takes on a still unsolved case on Long Island. Kevin McCormick is producing through his Langley Park banner with Dark Shadows producer David Kennedy. Set to write is Michael Werwie, who was awarded a Nicholl Fellowship for his script Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile.
That title is an apt description for this case, in which a murderer used the waterfront roadside on Long Island’s South Shore as the dumping ground for his murder victims, all of whom were escorts advertising on Craigslist and similar websites. It began with reports that a young woman named Shannan Gilbert was seen running through the upscale waterfront town of Oak Beach, screaming for her life before she turned up missing. When it becomes clear to Shannan’s mother, Mari Gilbert, that police weren’t trying hard to find her daughter, she raised a ruckus. A search of the wooded sandy roads in the area led to the discovery of four bodies. None of them was Gilbert, but each was a similarly pretty twentysomething escort who advertised on the web. The families demanded answers and were frustrated when evidence and potential suspects were being ignored. Eventually, Mari Gilbert’s relationship with the police chief evolved as she pressed for a recognition of the value of these troubled girls. When Gilbert’s daughter was finally located, it was a tragic ending, but it gave her mother closure. The killer is still at large. Kolker covered the case for New York Magazine. Langley Park veep Rory Koslow is overseeing the project and Werwie is repped by UTA and Evolution. UTA repped the book as well.