I bought this book believing it to be a work of fiction. It is not. However, since I am a history buff as well as a reader of thrillers, I found this story very interesting, enlightening, and gruesome. The "White City" of the 1893 Chicago fair tells it's own tale while a handsome beguiler stalks the women in a method so thoroughly intriguing it defies belief. Scott Brick, as always, adds his deft narrative touch.
The content was satisfying. An interesting play between two parallel story lines: one of the creation of the Chicago Columbia Exposition of 1893 , the other the evolution of a charismatic serial killer. The flow between the two was well constructed and worked well. The descriptions of both events were both very factual and equal in tenor. I would look elsewhere for a thrilling murder mystery. Some will no doubt will find that the depth to which either story could have been explored was sacrificed to cover the other and vice versa.
Narration was good. There were a few mispronunciations of locations that would likely only be recognized by Chicago natives. There were a couple times where it seemed the digital stream skipped.
I would recommend it more for persons with interest in Chicago history rather than those looking for a suspense novel.
Magnificent book, beautifully read. Great story, chock full of fascinating characters. Sheds light on the zeitgeist of turn-of-the-century America in ways I hadn't expected. One of my top three favorite Audible listens.
the chicago world's fair left american with some interesting iconic products, architecture, and really put chicago on the map. intertwining this with a serial murderer's rampage makes for an interesting historical tale. my hat is off to the author for painstakingly researching the subjects. well worth reading.
Larson takes his readers through the harrowing, planning, building and creation of the 1893 Chicage World's Fair. The Fairgrounds, dubbed The White City because of its so-called beauty, was believed to be impossible to construct due to adverse conditions and time constraints. However, political influence brought to bear decided location, and Fair content. Larson's meticulous research through diaries, police reports and notes, has allowed this otherwise dry litany to come alive. He has successfully drawn a parallel between good and evil intertwined with the development of the Fair. Henry Holmes, (evil) built a hotel in close proximity to the Fair and along with rooms and offices, designed a dissection table, gas chamber and crematorium in which many unsuspecting victims, many of them women, met their fate. Although I am not necessarily a fan of this type of literature, Larson has successfully created a work that held my attention and supplied me with some surprising information (famous names such as Disney connected with the Fair) that I would otherwise not have had knowledge of.
I like books where I learn something true and new. This book certainly provided that opportunity -- from the first Ferris Wheel to Columbus Day to forensics in the late 1800's to Frank Lloyd Wright's beginnings to the perspective of a landscape architect... I loved the details. I could see, smell, and hear the city. I felt the drama of the World's Fair and the horror of the murders. The book was very detailed -- but not excessively so and it was rarely redundant.
On the other hand, this was a difficult book in an auditory format. There were many characters and it would be helpful sometimes to be able to look back to remember who people were.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
This is a true, but eerie book, and I would recommend those who are afraid of the dark to leave the lights on while listening to this book. The Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 is the setting. The fair was huge and the story about the fair and the everyday items that come to life in the story. BUT, there is a subplot. One that needs the lights on for the faint of heart. This is about Dr. H. H. Holmes. It is what this man does that is the intrigue of the subplot. Fasten your seatbelts and listen to a well written story of two seemingly unrelated events.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ― Dr. Seuss
I don't understand why this book has such glowing reviews. I guess if you're an architectural aficionado it would be interesting, but I found the long descriptions of architect's dealing with such unique problems as wind velocity, soil depth, etc. to be quite boring. The serial killer was much more interesting - it was amazing what he got away with for so long and that he's not at least as famous as Jack the Ripper - but you have to wade through hours on end of the earlier stuff to get to his intermittent story. I also think I'm the only person who cannot stand Scott Brick's narration; I find him to be annoying and boring at the same time. Too bad I cannot listen to anything else he's done now since he seems to be the most prolific narrator of audio books out there. Anyway, I would say only get this book if you reeeaally like the history of architecture, are reeeaally interested in the city of Chicago, or finding obscure serial killers is a particular fascination.