What the book is supposed to be about: H.H. Holmes as per the cover and publisher's description. Clearly, Larson did not have enough information about Holmes for a stand-alone book, so readers are fooled into buying this.
Only after careful review
As it really is: 90% excruciating minutia about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with tidbits interspersed about Holmes. If I wanted to know every boring detail about the Fair, I could have looked up dissertations through my school's library. The publisher purposefully wrote a enticing descriptor, knowing full well that readers would buy the book expecting a story about Holmes. That is NOT the focus of this book, yet the clever Vintage editor realizes that readers will wade through it anyway. Not appreciated. At all.
This book tells two stories: that of the World's Fair in Chicago and that of a serial killer named H.H. Holmes. While listening to the story of Holmes I was riveted. The Chicago story too is interesting, but I found my mind wandering and I rarely felt a desire to go back and listen to what I missed. Perhaps it would read differently if I read it rather than listened to it. The reader does an excellent job. His deep voice feels appropriate for a Lovecraft horror story, and it is appropriate for a real life serial killer story as well. I do understand that Larsen wants to make a point about evil lurking behind progress, but I still would have liked to see a little more Holmes and a little less architecture.
This book is absolutely excellent, I have the book in hardcopy but with a 9-to-5 I hadn't found the time to read it, all the more reason to buy this audiobook. This is my first time buying a audiobook and I'm very glad I did. The story will keep you entranced throughout, cover to cover.
Honestly the only reason this doesn't get five stars across the board is because the density of information in this book is overwhelming for an audio book at times. There is no ability to skim some of the in depth historical recitations that create a wonderful scene for the story, but aren't as compelling as some of the personal storylines that drive you through the book. Still, it's a really well performed and adeptly written.
I really was disappointing by this book, the story was so much more about the building of the fair than of HH Holmes. I think it would make a good movie, because you could more easily see both story lines and how they tied to together.
Ok I can see how this book would appeal to history buffs. I was more interested in the serial killer story but the majority of the story was spent discussing the building of the world's fair.
Interesting in its own right but not for me. With that being said the research this book took is apparent. The narration was well done.
The book seemed to be two different stories. I see what the author was trying to do, but the flow never really developed. Still, there were lots of good historical nuggets.
My first nonfiction book in quite some time, very interesting account of the worlds fair, but unfortunately not enough info exists about the 'devil' in the white city to really flush out that story enough to be intriguing. More like a story about the worlds fair than anything else.