Portrait of a Monster

Joran van der Sloot, a Murder in Peru, and the Natalee Holloway Mystery

Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson

St. Martin's Press

From a pair of New York Times bestselling authors with unparalleled access comes an in-depth account of the manhunt for Joran van der Sloot, one of the most reviled accused criminals in the world


In May 2005, Natalee Holloway disappeared from a high school trip to Aruba. Five years to the day later, twenty-one-year-old Stephany Flores was reported missing in Lima, Peru. Implicated in both crimes was one young man: Joran van der Sloot.

A twenty-three-year-old Dutchman, Van der Sloot has become the subject of intense scrutiny by the media and the public in the years since 2005. He was arrested and detained by Aruban authorities in connection with the Holloway disappearance, only to be released after questioning. In 2008, during a Dutch sting operation, he admitted to being present for Holloway’s death---but later recanted his statement.

In 2010, on the five-year anniversary of her disappearance, a young business student in Peru named Stephany Flores disappeared, only to be found dead three days later in a hotel room---registered to Van der Sloot. He was arrested for the murder and confessed, but he later claimed he was coerced.

This is the first book to offer a probing look at the man tied to two of the most sensational cases of the decade. It draws from:

• Interviews with members of the families of Joran, Stephany, and Natalee

• Never-before-seen photographs of the crime scene in Peru, fingerprint files, hotel records, and more

• Internal communications between Interpol, the FBI, Aruban officials, and officials in Chile and Peru

• Never-before-seen police files from Chile, Peru, and Aruba


Portrait of a Monster offers an unflinching look into the workings of an international manhunt and a chilling portrait of an alleged killer.


Read an Excerpt

MAY 30, 2010 LIMA, PERU
Ricardo Flores was an early riser, even on Sundays. Cracking open the door to his daughter’s bedroom, he saw that she hadn’t come home from her night out with friends. Her bed was still made and arranged with the stuffed teddy bears she loved and collected.

The fifty-eight-year-old remembered his youth when kids still had curfews. These days, the parties continued well past dawn. He only had a few ground rules with Stephany but checking in was one of them. She hadn’t even left a message about her whereabou


Praise for Portrait of a Monster

“This well-detailed book is disturbing and haunting in its revelations of a self-centered cad with a dark side.”--Publishers Weekly

“Journalists Pulitzer and Thompson zero in on Joran van der Sloot, a wealthy young man suspected of killing two young women within five years to the day of each other… This true-crime account delivers excellent and gripping reporting of the crimes and the manhunt.”--Booklist

“A thorough, journalistic recounting of two crimes, five years apart, linked by the same alleged perpetrator…A worthwhile read for true-crime fans and followers of the case.”--Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson

  • LISA PULITZER is a former correspondent for The New York Times. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books, including the bestselling Stolen Innocence. COLE THOMPSON is the co-author with Catherine Crier of A Deadly Game, a #1 New York Times bestseller about Laci and Scott Peterson.

  • Lisa Pulitzer Douglas Love





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Portrait of a Monster

    Joran van der Sloot, a Murder in Peru, and the Natalee Holloway Mystery

    Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson



    St. Martin's Press