Harold Schechter is a historian: he takes old files and yellowed newspaper clippings, and brings their stories to life. Deviant
is about everyone's favorite ghoul, Ed Gein--whose crimes inspired the writers of Psycho
, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, and The Silence of the Lambs
. Schechter deftly evokes the small-town 1950s Wisconsin setting--not pretty farms and cheese factories, but infertile soil and a bleak, hardscrabble existence. The details of Gein's "death house" are perhaps well known by now, but the murderer's quietly crazy, almost gentle personality comes forth in this book as never before. As Gary Kadet wrote, in The Boston Book Review
, "Schechter is a dogged researcher [who backs up] every bizarre detail and curious twist in this and his other books ... More importantly, he nimbly avoids miring his writing and our reading with minutiae or researched overstatement, which means that although he can occasionally be dry, he is never boring."
Also recommended: Schechter's books about Albert Fish (Deranged
) and Herman Mudgett a.k.a. Dr. H. H. Holmes (Depraved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Top-drawer true crime." -- "Booklist"