Book Review: Buried Beneath the Boarding House

Title: Buried Beneath the Boarding House: A Shocking True Story of Deception, Exploitation, and Murder

Author: Ryan Green

Narrator: Steve White



In 1988, detectives from the Sacramento Police Department were called to investigate the disappearance of a man at his last known address – a boarding house for the elderly, homeless, and mentally ill. The owner, Dorothea Puente, was an adorable old lady who cared for stray cats and the rest of society’s castaways. She had a strong standing in the community and was celebrated for her selfless charitable work.

The search revealed nothing untoward but one of the guests recalled some unusual incidents leading up to the disappearance. He shared stories about holes being dug in the garden and filled in overnight. Guests who were taken ill and vanished overnight and a number of excuses why they couldn’t be contacted. This was enough to launch a thorough investigation and on November 11, 1988, the Sacramento police department headed back to the boarding house with shovels in hand.

Were they wasting their time pursuing a charming and charitable old lady or were they closing in on a clandestine killer who exploited the most vulnerable members of society? The investigation gripped the entire nation and the answers lay buried beneath the boarding house.

Ryan Green presents a dramatic and chilling account of one of the most bizarre true crime stories in American history. Green’s riveting narrative draws the listener into the real-live horror experienced by the victims and has all the elements of a classic thriller.

Warning: This book contains descriptive accounts of abuse and violence. If you are especially sensitive to this material, it might be advisable not to listen to it.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Before there was Aileen Wuornos there was Ms. Dorothea Puentes.

A lot of serial killers start out by having terrible childhoods, and I wasn’t surprised to find out Dorothea was no different. It seemed though that a lot of her problems growing up were caused by her inability to see the world for what it was. She wanted to be what she wasn’t and did what she had to do to make that image a reality. Since this happened in a time when mental illness was taboo to talk about and the scope of mental health was different, I wonder what she could’ve been if she had her illnesses properly diagnosed and cared for.

Image was so important to Dorothea that she literally killed to maintain it.

It’s crazy to think that just about anyone can be a killer if their desires push them toward it. Dorothea didn’t murder her boarding house inhabitants for pleasure, she did it for monetary gain. Even though she looked to be nothing more than a sweet old lady with a heart of gold, she was nothing but pure evil.

This audiobook left me with a lot more thoughts than Ryan Green’s books usually do. I wonder a lot about how she maintained such order over the boarding house members, and how she got so many of them to stay quiet about what she was doing for so long.

Regardless, this is a very fascinating audiobook.

Steve White did a perfect job with the narration as always.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Published by Author Kayla Krantz

Proud author responsible for Dead by Morning and The Council, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem and some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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