Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer
Henry Holt & Company
On Sale: April 5, 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
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A sweeping narrative history of a terrifying serial
killer--America's first--who stalked Austin, Texas in 1885
In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp
of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly
cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884,
Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in
some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack
the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight
Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit
nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart
women from every race and class. At the time the concept of
a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued,
the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic
reached a fever pitch.
Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be
arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes
would expose what a newspaper described as "the most
extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And
yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London
police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin
had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.
With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Texas
Monthly journalist Skip Hollandsworth brings this
terrifying saga to life.
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