Author(s): Bill James; Rachel McCarthy James
BY The Time the Devil Came to Villisca, IOWA, on June 9, 1912, he'd been randomly murdering selected families for a decade and a half. A hundred years later, legendary writer Bill James and his daughter, Rachel, began finding commonalities between the Villisca murders and a series of other killings from the same era that, because they'd occurred across the country-significantly, in close proximity to a major train line-had never been connected. James set out to create a full picture of what this monster had done, and drew up a plan for how he might be identified-never really expecting the plan would work. But it did. Using twenty-first-century research tools, James and his coauthor sorted through hundreds of similar cases, compiling a list of thirty-four habits that marked them as the work of The Man from the Train. Beginning with the Villisca murders, the authors chased the story back through the years, eventually finding its origins near the end of the nineteenth century. In all, the fiend murdered over one hundred people. Innocent people were executed for crimes that the real killer had committed; they were also murdered by lynch mobs for his crimes. The Man from the Train paints a vivid, unforgettable portrait of small-town justice systems overwhelmed by bloody murders that were often exploited by opportunists. The authors' groundbreaking research will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history. Book jacket.