I don't know why people are drawn to grisly stories about mass murderers, such as Erik Larson's book "The Devil in the White City" (H.H. Holmes during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago) and the film "The Changeling" (based on the Wineville, California "Chicken Coop Murders" in 1928). Nevertheless, many people are intrigued by these stories, wondering how any human being could commit such cold-blooded acts. Author Deborah Blum has brought to light another true story, this one about Hamilton Howard Fish, a real-life boogeyman labeled by the media as the "Gray Man" for his gentle, innocuous appearance. In the 1920s, he abducted and murdered an untold number of children in New York City, often eating their flesh afterward. Fortunately, a dedicated NYPD detective stayed on his trail for years before finding him, not an easy job with the state of crime forensics at that time.
"Angel Killer" was a fascinating account of how the Gray Man came to believe that angels were bringing him God's messages ordering him to kill the children. Equally fascinating were the efforts by his defense attorney to prove that Fish was not guilty by reason of insanity, a very difficult defense then as it is now, but even more so in an era when psychiatry was not as advanced as it is today.
Deborah Blum has done a fine job of telling the gruesome but fascinating story of the Gray Man.