December 14 2017

Book Review: The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

I found this book quite by accident while searching online for an audiobook to listen to on my phone using the OverDrive app. I find that I get many more books read this way because I can take advantage of driving times and other times when I could never read a traditional paper book or even an ebook such as when I am packing my lunch, cleaning the kitchen, or even making a meal. I was a little disinclined to listen to it because it was so long, but let me tell you it goes by so fast. Since I listened to most of the book at either 1.6 or 1.8 speed, it likely cut the time to listen to it down significantly.

As someone who has long enjoyed watching shows like Numb3rs, CSI, Criminal Minds and Cold Case shows this was right up my alley. I really enjoyed how the authors explained that the technology at the time did not help them to catch the guy. In fact, the lack of technology made it appallingly easy for him to get away with murdering loads of people. The murders covered in this book took place between 1898 and 1912. Fingerprints were just becoming important and communication between the various law enforcement departments was practically non-existent. Blood was only able to be matched by type, so not terribly helpful. I really appreciated that the authors explained to me, as the reader, why certain things were done or not done. Toward the end of the book, when they finally explain how they found out who did it and how they were sure it was the right person, I felt completely comfortable with their explanation and found it believable. It was fascinating hearing how they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in the country over one hundred years after the fact. This means they solved numerous cold cases in the process of all their research. Unfortunately, his reach was even deadlier than he might have realized because a few innocent people were punished and put to death for crimes they didn’t commit and a few more were lynched and died because they were thought guilty of crimes “The Man from the Train” committed.

Reading this book did make me appreciate just how far crime-solving technology has come in the last hundred years or so and help me to understand that something like this would most likely not be able to go on for so long in this day and age.

It amazed me how thoroughly they were able to research crimes from over one hundred years ago. They explained things so well I understood the logic behind where they looked and why they kept looking for more crimes before the ones they were finding. I would love to see this book turned into a movie, mini-series, or TV series.

If you are looking for a good book to read or listen to, I highly recommend choosing The Man from the Train.

The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
Bill James – Author
Rachel McCarthy James – Author
John Bedford Lloyd – Narrator
Release date: September 19, 2017

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The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery