It's December 1884 and the body of a woman is found mutilated
in an alley. The city of Austin is shocked and unable to find
the killer. Over the next year over seven people are found
murdered, many more are attacked in their homes and the city
is left in fear. There were no blood splatter experts,
forensic experts or even finger print analysis, much less
profilers. No one had even heard of a serial killer.
Speculation ran wild many people were arrested and
interrogated, some even put on trial, but no one ever
convicted. THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN is the story of the murders
that have been ignored by history and the search for a killer.
Skip Hollandsworth by his own admission became obsessed with
the story of the killer and it shows in the amount of time and
research that he put into THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN.
Knowing the ability of today's police it is almost sad to hear
how the police conducted the investigation. They didn't even
know what a serial killer was, they walked all over crime
scenes and collecting evidence was a joke. It is so reassuring
to know that criminal investigations have progressed so far
over the years, but then again so have the criminals.
Skip Hollandsworth has written a historically stunning story
with THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN about murders forgotten and a
killer that was never caught.
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.