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In Broad Daylight Hardcover – November, 1988

4.3 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ken Rex McElroy terrorized the residents of several counties in northwestern Missouri for a score of years. He raped young girls and brutalized them after they went to live with him or even married him; he shot at least two men; he stole cattle and hogs, and burned down the houses of some who interfered with his criminal activities. Thanks to the expert efforts of his lawyer and the pro-defendant bias of state laws, he served no more than a few days in jail, the author shows. In 1981, sentenced for the shooting of a popular grocer and free on bail, he was killed by the men of Skidmore, the center of his felonies; they closed ranks against all attempts to identify those who had pulled the triggers. Written by a first-time author, this is an engrossing, credible examination of the way vigilante action can take over when the law appears to be powerless. BOMC and QPBC alternates.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"GRIPPING…excellent and disturbing…a fine and richly rewarding book."
--The Washington Post Book World
 
"FIRST-CLASS…Read and you may find yourself haunted."--Houston Chronicle
 
"A GUARANTEED PAGE-TURNER. [A] truly compelling…piece of reporting."--Rocky Mountain News Sunday Magazine
 
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (November 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006015876X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060158767
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I live within 50 miles of Skidmore, Mo. I was 12 years old when the shooting happened.I remember watching scenes from Skidmore on Channel 2 news out of St. Joseph Mo the day of the shooting.

The book tells the story quite well. If you have a picturesque mind, what you imagine as you read is how the town really looks. I have friends from Skidmore that were affected by Ken Rex one way or another and to this day if they know who did it they don't say a word.

That's what makes rural America different from the big city. Justice will be done using the civil system or your own.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this book was great, and I have a little trouble with all the reviews blasting the townspeople for taking matters into their own hands. My family lived in northwest Missouri at the the time, mere minutes from Skidmore. McElroy terrorized that town for decades and the law didn't help the people because that scum had a good attorney who was able to weasel him out of it. Everyone knew what he did- setting houses on fire if someone crossed him, raping the young girls, and slitting the throat of an elderly man. The townspeople did what the law failed to do for decades- take care of the problem. Even local law enforcement admit it a was a screw up. Of course, you can't understand if you've never had to live with it. Read the book with some perspective-put yourself in the townspeople's place
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Format: Hardcover
The book is well written, which would get it a 5 star rating from me even if it didn't examine a fundamental paradox of civilization without actually saying so.

A modern town, full of generally law-abiding citizens is forced to live with the kinds of fears law was created to protect them from. When the laws turned backward on themselves and became an instrument of the only person in the community who ignored the law completely, the law abiders all became accessories to a remedy forbidden by their own laws.

Afterward, the machinery of justice finally cranked up and spent an enormous amount of energy trying to make these reluctant lawbreakers pay for the crime of doing what the law was hired to do, and failed.

If you believe the machinery of justice is the friend to the common citizen, you don't want to read this book.

If you have a crack-house the police `can't do anything about' operating in the abandoned house down the block from you, you don't want to read this book.

If your wife or daughter is being stalked by some guy who has a history of rape or homicide, but the police can't stop him, don't read this book.

If there's a guy in your neighborhood who's been in prison for child molesting, you definitely don't want to read this book.

Probably no one should read this book.
3 Comments 119 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Open to any of many (mostly short) chapters, and you won't want to stop. If you think that heroes, terrorists, and ordinary people are interesting only on the grand scale or in the big city, this book could change your mind. The event described in the title had a fascinating build-up. The author tells this true story crisply but with an appropriate longer-term perspective and great empathy for the cast of characters.
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By A Customer on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book several years ago. I was on a bus trip to see the Ren Fest in Kansas City, KS and it was very haunting to be reading about the tiny towns I was going by. I got chills when I read that one of the witnesses ran to my hometown to avoid testifying. Growing up in the area helped me understand the mentalities of the people in the book, however I was upset that in the end justice was not really served.
2 Comments 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you've watched the news lately, you've probably heard about Skidmore. It's where the woman was killed and her baby was stolen from her womb.

But Skidmore got its notoriety in the 1980s when a man was killed in front of a group of people. "In Broad Daylight" details that story in its chilling entirety. Probably not since the West Memphis Three has there been a crime involving ordinary citizens so compelling. It lacks all the glitz and glamor of the OJ or Robert Blake cases, but I think it has so much more to say. A great study in vigilante justice.
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Format: Hardcover
McElroy should have been killed long before July 1981. Apparently, he never intimidated the right people outside of Skidmore. Should have killed his attorney too!
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Format: Hardcover
This true story of a man who terrorized a whole town for years and the ultimate justice he received. Too good to put down.
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