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Finding Susan

Finding Susan

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Molly Hurley Moran


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
280 pages, 5 x 8.25, 35 illustrations


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About the Book

A woman’s heartrending search for her sister

Advancing with the suspense and deft reportage of the true-crime genre and fueled by the poignancy of a literary memoir, Finding Susan is Molly Hurley Moran’s pointed exploration of the disappearance of her sister and her family’s descent into the surreal world of psychics and detectives they once dismissed as the stuff of Lifetime movies.

Susan Hurley Harrison disappeared from upscale Ruxton, Maryland on August 5, 1994. Her body was discovered in the woods of northern Maryland two years later and her death was ruled a homicide. Although Susan’s case drew substantial media attention—including a spot on Unsolved Mysteries—no one, to date, has ever been charged with her murder. In piecing together a mosaic of Susan’s final years, Moran grew to believe her sister was a victim of domestic violence.

An academic by trade, Moran employs a scholar’s precision and razor-sharp feminist analysis in this valiant effort to come to terms with Susan’s life and death and to understand her sister in a way she did not when she was alive. “Finding” Susan refers to both the search for Susan's body and the search for the formative forces of her life.

Mirroring elements of high-profile cases from Laci Peterson to Nicole Brown Simpson, Finding Susan is one woman’s chronicle of loss and remembrance that arrestingly details the helplessness experienced by families of missing persons and calls critical attention to our alarming blindness to domestic abuse. Including appendixes of domestic violence resources, Finding Susan serves as a guide for concerned family members and friends of at-risk women to help identify the warning signs of domestic abuse. Thirty-six illustrations are a powerful complement to the volume.


Molly Hurley Moran,a professor of writing in the Division of Academic Enhancement at the University of Georgia, is the author of Margaret Drabble: Existing Within Structures and Penelope Lively, as well as numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. She resides in Athens, Georgia, with her husband.


“Susan Harrison’s story is, regrettably, a universal one and we ignore this at our peril. Molly Moran’s candid memoir serves to remind us that anyone’s sister, mother, or daughter can make the kind of choices that end in tragedy. It is a painful story, but an essential one for those who want to understand the intractable nature of domestic violence. Yes, Susan’s life mattered and her death matters, too.”—Laura Lippman, author of Every Secret Thing

Finding Susan reads like a classic novel, both in its import and its ability to capture the reader, propelling her or him forward to discover the truth. Like NativeSon by Richard Wright, which reveals a story about the nature of racism and fear, this work tells the truth about women, violence, and alcoholism. Moran’s book may be as critically important as Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe or The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.”—Rebecca S. Katz, Morehead State University

Finding Susan is a completely enthralling book and I read it in two late-night sessions. A sister's wrenching memories of domestic violence and the baffling disappearance and murder of a woman who seemed to have everything will probably make you cry, and, I hope, want to take action against the battering of women. This is an important book and beautifully written.”—Ann Rule, author of Every Breath You Take

“I found Molly Moran’s account of her sister’s tragedy both thoughtful and moving; the book is a significant commentary on the nature of domestic violence.”
—Penelope Lively, author of Moon Tiger, Winner of the Booker Prize