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  • The Man from the Train

  • The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
  • By: Bill James, Rachel McCarthy James
  • Narrated by: John Bedford Lloyd
  • Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 456
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 425

Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Amy L Bruce on 10-04-17

Interesting Story Mangled by the Author

1 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-17

I was intrigued by the premise of this book having seen a documentary on the tragic murders in Vallisca, Iowa that occurred in 1912. This really could have been an interesting story. However, the author's smug, ham-handed handling left me more irritated than enlightened.

The author is simply not a good writer. His attempts at humor come off as snarky at best and horribly insensitive at worst. Yes, the crimes discussed in the book occurred a very, very long time ago, but the victims were still human beings. Turning their deaths into bad puns that appear to have been leftover from a failed Vaudville act is just in poor taste.

What I found most irritating though, was the author's frequent use of the breaking the the fourth wall trope. Directly addressing the reader/listener without flatlining the story is difficult. Since he just isn't clever enough to pull it off, he comes off as condesceding and snarky. It's like having to listen to an unfunny, creepy, bachelor uncle on Thanksgiving who doesn't realize his jokes stink.

Since so much of the book consists of...I will tell you this- show you that, this is why everyone else missed... the author appears to thinks he's the smartest guy in the room but his conclusions are quite a stretch and his solution to the crimes falls flat.

I agree with another reviewer that the author's handling of the racial issues of the time (and ours) also fails.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful