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The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by [Hollandsworth, Skip]
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The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 220 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Before Jack the Ripper mutilated prostitutes in the dark corners of London in the late 19th-century, Austin, TX, was besieged by a vicious killer whose victims were African American servants. He cut up women with an axe to the head and left them bloody in their beds. Husbands of the first three victims were arrested in succession, even though they had alibis and swore their innocence. Racism delayed justice for a year. Black men became so terrified of the police that they rubbed their feet and legs with asafoetida, a natural paste slaves had used when running away from their masters to throw off bloodhounds. Nicknamed "the midnight assassin," the murderer left an eyewitness, a nine-year-old boy who thought the man who killed his mother—the first victim—was white, but no one listened. Then on New Year's Eve, in 1885, two prominent white women were hacked to death within an hour of each other, and a wider search was undertaken. This is a painstakingly researched book written by a Texas native that examines prejudices, which still keep justice at bay. VERDICT This work introduces students to a grisly piece of American history and models footnote and bibliographic research. A must-have.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY

Review

“Skip Hollandsworth knows his way around a crime scene…Fans of Erik Larson’s 2003 hit, The Devil in the White City…will find similar pleasures here. This is true crime of high quality. . . Mr. Hollandsworth handles gruesome details with a smart, restrained touch…Chilling."The New York Times

"Gripping and atmospheric...This true crime page-turner is a balanced and insightful examination of one of the most stirring serial killing sprees in American history, and certainly one of the least well-known."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Readers who loved The Devil in the White City now have the pleasure of reading The Midnight Assassin. It paints a compelling portrait of a culture at a turning point – that is, the capitol of Texas at the end of the 19th Century, when the barbarism of the frontier was giving way to the savagery of urban life.”―Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author The Looming Towerand Thirteen Days in September

“As a magazine journalist, Skip Hollandsworth has forged a reputation as one of the best storytellers in the country. The Midnight Assassin takes his singular narrative skills to a thrilling new level. Reading this book is like cracking open a time capsule and breathing the air of a vanished era. In Hollandsworth's hands, one of the ghastliest and most inscrutable crimes in American history becomes hair-raisingly immediate, and the mystery at its center grows ever more mysterious with every page.”―Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

"Skip Hollandsworth has achieved a literary miracle with The Midnight Assassin. With haunting granularity, Hollandsworth breathes vivid life into a forgotten, century-old tale of the hunt for America's first diabolical serial murdererset in, of all places, the quaint but upwardly mobile town of Austin, Texas. To read The Midnight Assassin is to experience the lost innocence of a 19th-century capital city set on edge by the unseen monster in its midst."―Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine and author of Dead Certain

"Skip Hollandsworth, one of the great true-crime writers of our era, has brought his remarkable talent to bear on one of the most fascinating untold criminal stories in American history. The Midnight Assassin captures a time, a place, and a feelingbooming Texas in the latter 19th centuryin a way no nonfiction account I have read has done. A jewel of a book."―S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell

“Skip Hollandsworth has a bloodhound's nose for a great tale. With The Midnight Assassin, he's found the perfect subject for his many talents. Through scrupulous research and a finely tuned sense of the gothic, Hollandsworth has brought this Texas-sized true-crime story, more than a century old, to vivid, chilling life on the page.”―Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound On His Trail and In the Kingdom of Ice

"As the state of Texas's best-known magazine writer, Skip Hollandsworth is not just a Lone Star treasure, but a national treasure. In this, his first book, he uncovers the amazing untold story of America's first serial killer, a phantom who stalked the streets of Austin in 1885, three years before Jack the Ripper. Whether you love true crime, history or Texana, The Midnight Assassin is bursting at the seams with everything you want in a great book; a spellbinding mix of mystery, horror and historical detective work. It's the book Hollandsworth was born to write.''―Bryan Burrough, Vanity Fair special correspondent and author of Barbarians at the Gate, Days of Rage and The Big Rich


Product details

  • File Size: 6354 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (April 5, 2016)
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B015WAWL2M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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