It just seems kind of icky to do reviews on true crime books. Despite that, my inner CSI detective forces me to read a couple every year. I must also admit that I like how it made my parents nervous when I started reading them as a teen and how people don't sit next to me on the bus when I read one now.
I have lived in south Texas most of my life and despite an interest in true crime stories, never knew about the information Hollandsworth reveals in this book. In the 1880s a man killed 5 women in the Austin area and no one heard a sound. There were few witnesses and fewer clues. No one has ever discovered his identity. The police could do little more than round up the known criminals (and yes there was a lot of racial profiling in the process) but these actions brought them no closer to the killer.
Hollandsworth is a little heavy on description at times, almost as if he was more concerned with word count than actual telling of the story. This fact however does not detract from the telling. It is well researched and includes numerous photos. The murders ruined political careers and spurred Austin to purchase giant arc lamps from Detroit so that no part of the city would be dark at night.
There are some who apparently try to connect these crimes to H. H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper, but aside from their victim selection the methods were very different.
I particularly enjoyed all of the history of south Texas that was entwined with the story itself. It taught me that there's still a lot for me to learn about the city I live in.