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American demon : Eliot Ness and the hunt for America's Jack the Ripper
2022
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Eliot Ness investigates the Cleveland Torso Murderer, who left thirteen bodies scattered across the city in the 1930s in a historical true crime story from the biographer, historian and award-winning author of The Hour of Peril. 75,000 first printing. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

"New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award-winner Daniel Stashower returns with American Demon, a historical true crime starring legendary lawman Eliot Ness"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award-winner Daniel Stashower returns with American Demon, a historical true crime starring legendary lawman Eliot Ness.

Boston had its Strangler. California had the Zodiac Killer. And in the depths of the Great Depression, Cleveland had the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.

On September 5th, 1934, a young beachcomber made a gruesome discovery on the shores of Cleveland’s Lake Erie: the lower half of a female torso, neatly severed at the waist. The victim, dubbed “The Lady of the Lake,” was only the first of a butcher’s dozen. Over the next four years, twelve more bodies would be scattered across the city. The bodies were dismembered with surgical precision and drained of blood. Some were beheaded while still alive.

Terror gripped the city. Amid the growing uproar, Cleveland’s besieged mayor turned to his newly-appointed director of public safety: Eliot Ness. Ness had come to Cleveland fresh from his headline-grabbing exploits in Chicago, where he and his band of “Untouchables” led the frontline assault on Al Capone’s bootlegging empire. Now he would confront a case that would redefine his storied career.

Award-winning author Daniel Stashower shines a fresh light on one of the most notorious puzzles in the annals of crime, and uncovers the gripping story of Ness’s hunt for a sadistic killer who was as brilliant as he was cool and composed, a mastermind who was able to hide in plain sight. American Demon reconstructs this ultimate battle of wits between a hero and a madman.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

DANIEL STASHOWER is a New York Times bestselling author, acclaimed biographer and narrative historian, and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, and the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, AARP: The Magazine, and National Geographic Traveler as well as other publications. His books include The Hour of Peril, Teller of Tales, and The Beautiful Cigar Girl. - (McMillan Palgrave)

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Booklist Reviews

Stashower, an Agatha- and Edgar-winning author of crime fiction and nonfiction (including Teller of Tales, a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle), chronicles a lesser-known episode from Eliot Ness' crime-busting career. In 1930s Cleveland, 12 people were murdered and dismembered over the course of four years. The killer was never apprehended, but that wasn't from lack of trying. Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, who had hired on as Safety Director for the city of Cleveland after his famous pursuit of Al Capone in Chicago, became the front man for the investigation into these grisly crimes. It was not an easy investigation, as Ness was impeded by a lack of evidence and by political infighting. Based on numerous sources, including Ness' own papers, this account is a gripping true-crime thriller that paints a picture of Ness that's significantly different from the version we've seen in The Untouchables: less heroic, more ordinary, more of a working cop. Stashower opens the book with a good recap of the Capone case, for readers who need some backstory. True-crime fans will want this one on their TBR lists. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

Having brought down Al Capone, Eliot Ness faced a new challenge when he was appointed director of public safety in Cleveland: stopping the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, who left behind more than a dozen cleanly severed and blood-drained torsos over the course of four years in the mid-1930s. The NewYork Times best-selling Stashower (The Hour of Peril), a winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, reveals what happened. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Library Journal Reviews

Stashower (Teller of Tales) traces Eliot Ness's career with a focus on the media-named Torso Murders, which shook the city of Cleveland. Over a course of three years, citizens discovered bundles of dismembered body parts. Twelve killings in all were ascribed to the unknown assailant, dubbed the Mad Butcher, and only two victims were positively identified. Ness was famous for his work in Al Capone's downfall. After some less prestigious work shutting down moonshine stills in the mountains, Ness landed a job that played to his strengths: Cleveland's safety director. Here he could modernize the police force, use his gang busting skills against the city's organized crime, and ferret out corruption within the ranks. Cleveland needed this, but what the city wanted was a hero who could stop the Mad Butcher. Stashower's Ness is a flawed do-gooder, frustrated by city politics, sullied by personal indiscretions, and taunted by postcards from the man he suspected was the Mad Butcher but couldn't prove. VERDICT Stashower was born in Cleveland, and his personal connection to the city breathes life into this well-researched and chilling account.—Terry Bosky

Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Last of the Good Guys 1(12)
PART I Al's Nemesis
1 The Lady in the Lake
13(8)
2 Chicago Has Fallen
21(19)
3 Jackass Hill
40(16)
4 Snorky's Last Ride
56(17)
PART II The Mad Butcher Strikes Again
5 Capone Nemesis Gets Big Job
73(14)
6 Woman Slain, Head Sought in Coal Bins
87(17)
7 "Let's Go"
104(15)
8 The Tattooed Man
119(16)
9 Lake Torso
135(17)
10 Voodoo Doctors and Chicken Freaks
152(21)
11 Steel and Bone
173(24)
12 Do You Know This Room?
197(18)
PART III Who Is This Mad Torso Killer?
13 Gaylord Sundheim
215(21)
14 Misguided Zeal -
236(17)
15 The Hot Seat
253(23)
16 There Goes Eliot Ness
276(15)
17 The American Sweeney
291(12)
Epilogue: Eliot-Am-Big-U-ous Ness 303(4)
Acknowledgments 307(2)
Notes 309(18)
Bibliography 327(4)
Index 331

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