On The Road To Villisca: The Hunt For The Midwest Axemen by Hank Brewster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I heard of the Villisca murders a few years ago and they stayed with me. I just couldn't get the facts of this case from puzzling my mind. Eight people, 6 children, murdered in their beds with only one showing signs of being woken up. This despite being in a shared room or even the same bed. How does that happen? As far as I have been able to tell, no sign of a drug being administered to prevent them waking. No struggle. No running away. No screams. It is a scary puzzle that gets scarier when you realize there were several murders that happened the same way around the same time. My heart cries for justice for these victims.
What I liked about this book was the use of the newspaper articles to tell the story. It was fascinating to read them. Newspapers told so much more back then. The coverage of the trial was amazing.
I know the author was trying to present things as they happened and in keeping with the language/spelling of the time. With so many newspaper articles and so many different cases, I think he did a good job. I learned things I didn't know. If he omitted or changed things, he stated it. I didn't agree with everything he did, but I understand his reasoning.
I don't think this is the best book out there regarding these murders but it is a book worth reading if you are interested in them. The author gives his opinion on who he believes did it. That does come out strongly towards the end. I'm not saying he is right or wrong about it; just letting you know his opinion is there.
I know the house in Villisca can be visited. It would have been interesting to know if he went there. To restore the home accurately and be able to provide tours, the current owners must have researched greatly. Perhaps, being from Villisca, they have something more to contribute. It would have been interesting to know if the author contacted them.
Would I recommend this book? Yes.
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