MURDER ON THE RAILS: The True Story of the Detective Who Unlocked the Shocking Secrets of the Boxcar Serial Killer

William G. Palmini, Author, Tanya Chalupa, Author . New Horizon $23.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-88282-243-3

Retired California police detective Palmini's account of the career murderer Robert Silveria Jr., dubbed the Boxcar Serial Killer, is long on splatter and short on insight. Palmini himself is like a figure from a David Lynch movie—a veteran cop who received a government grant to "do Elvis impersonations to promote traffic safety among California teens and their families" through a group called Elvis and the Lawmen. After a Vietnam vet is brutally slaughtered in a transient camp near Albany, Calif., Palmini's investigation leads him to the vicious underworld community of the Freight Train Riders of America, a little-known national criminal association. His unofficial network of law enforcement contacts probing similar unsolved killings leads him to Silveria, a drug-addicted drifter whose body count may have reached triple digits and who eventually confesses to the Albany murder. Unfortunately, the narrative is less than compelling and helps demonstrate by contrast the skill of writers such as Ann Rule, who more successfully evoke both the lives that have been taken and the inner demons motivating America's long parade of serial killers. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-88282-270-9
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-88282-446-8
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