American Demon: Book summary and reviews of American Demon by Daniel Stashower

American Demon

Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America's Jack the Ripper

by Daniel Stashower

American Demon by Daniel Stashower X
American Demon by Daniel Stashower
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  • Published Sep 2022
    352 pages
    Genre: True Crime

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Edgar winner Stashower provides the definitive look at the case of Cleveland's Torso Killer, who claimed at least 12 victims in the 1930s...The combination of a baffling unsolved crime with a nuanced portrayal of an American icon adds up to another winner for this talented author." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Rather than a simple idealization of Ness' often uncanny efficiency, we get a nuanced text about a deeply principled and exceptionally accomplished—though all-too-human—reformer. A riveting and illuminating account of an iconic figure's involvement in a notorious murder investigation." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Edgar Award-winner Stashower approaches this material with a pit bull's tenacity, and he writes with the steeliness of an old-school journalist, suiting the book's place and time…a thrillingly bedeviling true crime story interlaced with a nuanced character study--not of the criminal but of his flawed pursuer." - Shelf Awareness

"Daniel Stashower has a gift for peering into the dark, shadowy corners of American history and unearthing its most chilling and fascinating tales. American Demon is a twisting, true-life murder mystery about a serial killer who terrified a nation in the throes of the Great Depression—and his nemesis, famed lawman Eliot Ness, who was battling demons of his own. Stashower deftly fuses meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling to give this narrative history all the thrills of the best crime fiction." - Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park

"The legendary Eliot Ness on the trail of a diabolical serial killer—a Hannibal Lecter running loose at the height of the Great Depression. And it's all true. When it comes to historical crime nonfiction, Stashower is untouchable." - Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of Win

"Dan Stashower brings both the novelist's pen and the historian's eye to throw new light on one of history's most baffling cold cases." - Donna Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Fowl

This information about American Demon was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Daniel Stashower Author Biography

Daniel Stashower is an acclaimed biographer and narrative historian and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, and the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction.

He is the author of six nonfiction works including The Hour of Peril, The Boy Genius and The Mogul as well as the Edgar Award-winning Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. He is also the author of five mystery novels, the most recent of which is The Houdini Specter.

Stashower is a recipient of The Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing, and spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford. A freelance journalist since 1986, Stashower's articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian ...

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