The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer

Skip Hollandsworth. Holt, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9767-2
Fans of Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City will relish this gripping and atmospheric account of a horrific series of murders in late 19th-century Texas that are largely obscure today, despite their fantastical elements and similarities to the Jack the Ripper butcheries. Texas Monthly editor Hollandsworth provides the definitive account of the killings that began on New Year’s Eve 1884, when someone attacked African-American cook Mollie Smith, stabbing her repeatedly and nearly splitting her head in two. With a novelist’s eye for detail, the author brings the reader inside the reign of terror that gripped Austin, Tex., as the killer “crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class.” Hollandsworth successfully conveys the horror of the crimes, the baffling lack of an obvious motive, the so-called Midnight Assassin’s almost supernatural ability to strike twice in less than an hour, and the ineffective official responses to the murders. This true crime page-turner is a balanced and insightful examination of one of the most stirring serial killing sprees in American history, and certainly one of the least well-known. Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015
Release date: 04/19/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-6178-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-6177-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4272-8049-7
Ebook - 978-0-8050-9768-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-11849-3
Hardcover - 978-1-4104-9186-2
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