Review: H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil

Review: H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil

Earlier this year the History Channel featured a much-hyped and rather gruesome series called American Ripper. The series speculated that H. H. Holmes, whom some have dubbed “America’s first serial killer” (which isn’t true, by the way), was also Jack the Ripper. If you’ve watched my blog, you might have seen my candid review of the flawed TV series. After watching the series, I recalled my delight in reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (one of my favorite authors, by the way). Soon I noticed Adam Selzer’s book (Adam was featured as a consultant in American Ripper), and after reading snippets, I decided to purchase it for my Kindle. What a great read! If you’ve read The Devil in the White City, you’ll find this book to be not only supplemental but even more comprehensive in exploring Holmes and his history and character. Selzer often plumbs the depths…

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Is Rushing Creativity Ever the Right Choice?

Wednesday was one of those days. I had a comprehensive copyedit of a 120,000-plus-word novel due by 8:00 p.m. With evening prayer meeting scheduled, I knew I had even less time than usual. By 3:00 p.m., I was doing a reread of the last fifty pages on my Kindle, just double-checking my work. By suppertime at 5:15, I was still at it—and feeling pressured and getting hot and bothered. Ask my family. I literally devoured my wife’s wonderful salmon pie, flew upstairs to get dressed for church, and dashed back to my basement office to wrap up the last few details and e-mail the file . . .  just ten minutes before we had to leave for church. And on top of that, I was in charge of leading worship. Gasp! Quality Suffers Yes, I met my deadline. Barely. But by cutting it so close, I wasn’t a happy camper. Why?…

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Book Review: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Several years ago, I discovered Erik Larson’s engrossing book Eric’s Storm about the 1900 hurricane in Galveston, Texas. When I read his The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (which weds the 1893 World’s Fair and serial killer H.H. Holmes). I was hooked. So it was with great expectations that I recently read his latest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. Once again, Larson didn’t disappoint. Since college, where I minored in history, I’ve always loved books that wed history with suspense. Perhaps that’s why history has always played a major role in the suspense novels I like to write. If you think history is boring, you’ve never read Larson, who is a master at writing engrossing historical suspense. What adds to the intrigue is that his novels are true. Every line of dialogue in his…

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