Unless you would like to read a book about how a serial killer disposes of his victims I advise you not read this book. Day and night I had disturbing thoughts I could not get out of my head after reading this book. I hate to hear about how this serial killer kills and get rids of his victims. I advise unless you like this, read this book.
I enjoy that quiet time where I can sit with a very good cup of coffee and listen to a good audio book.
The story of the two characters was very good, but in some cases it was very wordy.
Sort of; I very much enjoyed the beginning, but the middle third dragged quite a bit and became repetitive, and the end left me largely unsatisfied. I kept waiting for the author to tie the two halves of the story together, but in my opinion he never did.
It felt more like two books; one about America's first documented serial killer, H.H. Holmes, and the other about the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition. The two stories took place at the same time in the same area, but none of the chief characters ever crossed paths, and the author did not thematically link them until the postscript. Even then the linkage was limited to a couple of lines, and was merely stated rather than demonstrated in the body of the book.
I feel like I would have enjoyed each story better if it had actually been split into two parts. Constantly switching back and forth between the stories took something away from each of them rather than adding to the whole.
I would, provided the book's scope were more focused. The writing itself was of a very high quality. Larson has a knack for evoking the feel of a scene and for fleshing out the personality of characters.
There were a lot of charming scenes involving Burnham in the book, and some creepy ones involving Holmes.
What would have been one of my favourite scene became my least favourite; Larson describes in detail the internal thought process of one of Holmes' victims after he traps her in his vault. He describes exactly what she is thinking about up to the moment of her death. Until that point I expected that she had escaped and written an account of her ordeal. In fact Larson completely fabricated her internal monologue, which I think is completely unacceptable in a work of non-fiction. It's not presented as "here is what she might have thought," it's presented as "here is what she thought" unequivocally.
For me this soured much of the rest of the book, as I could never be sure what Larson had based on real firsthand accounts and what he had chosen to invent for dramatic effect. Perhaps this would have been mitigated had I read the book in its printed form and could examine the end notes.
Yes I would, if it were solely about Holmes and Detective Geyer, and was directed by David Fincher.
Overall I was disappointed with the book, but others might not feel the same way. If you don't mind the stories being disjointed and want to learn more about the 1893 Chicago Fair, late 19th century American architecture, and turn of the century attitudes toward serial murderers and crime in general, then by all means pick up Devil in the White City.
Amazing historical information.
I don't have a favorite, but Scott Brick was great overall.
Must check out Erik Larson's other books!
just killing time sitting in traffic...
i found this book to be very well written and the narrator was excellent...i learned a ton of stuff i never knew about such an interesting time in our history...the way larson wove two stories together was brilliant...super book!