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The Austin American-Statesman Selects.....
BookPeople is proud to partner with the Austin American-Statesman for their monthly Statesman Selects program. Each month, BookPeople will highlight the Statesman’s top recommended read for Austin. March's pick is The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth. Hollandsworth will join us here at BookPeople Thursday, March 10 at 7PM to speak and sign his book. Pick up a copy of the Statesman on Sunday, April 10 to read their review of the book!
The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth
In the late 1800s, the city of Austin was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.
Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.
With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Texas Monthly journalist Skip Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life.
"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 murderer set 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 feeling booming Texas in the latter 19th century in a way no nonfiction account I have read has done. A jewel of a book." - S.C. Gwynne, author of Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon
ABOUT SKIP HOLLANDSWORTH
Skip Hollandsworth is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine. His work was included in the 2006 edition of Best American Crime Writing and he has won a National Magazine Award for feature writing. Hollandsworth co-wrote the acclaimed screenplay "Bernie" with director Richard Linklater. He lives in Texas with his wife.