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Publisher's Summary

In the early 1870s, local children begin disappearing from the working-class neighborhoods of Boston. Several return home bloody and bruised after being tortured while others never come back. With the city on edge, authorities believe the abductions are the handiwork of a psychopath until they discover that their killer - 14-year-old Jesse Pomeroy - is barely older than his victims. The criminal investigation that follows sparks a debate among the world's most revered medical minds and will have a decades-long impact on the judicial system and medical consciousness.

The Wilderness of Ruin is a riveting tale of gruesome murder and depravity. At its heart is a great American city divided by class - a chasm that widens in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1872. Roseanne Montillo brings Gilded Age Boston to glorious life - from the genteel cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill to the squalid, overcrowded tenements of Southie.

©2015 Roseanne Montillo (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A chillingly drawn, expertly researched slice of grim Boston history." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3 out of 5 stars
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    9
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    10
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    15
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    10
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    5

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    9
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    12
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    17
  • 2 Stars
    5
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    2

Story

  • 3 out of 5 stars
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    8
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    7
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    14
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A jumbled, muddled mess

Too many irrelevant characters. Too much unnecessary detail. Poorly constructed chronology. There was simply no need for over half of the book. Why the author thought it necessary to tell Melville's lIfe story (or believed it was relevant to the main character) is beyond me. Presumably, it was to show a) Melville believed that whiteness could represent evil, and b) Melville struggled with mental illness. If that was the reason, though, surely it could have been accomplished in a briefer fashion? Regardless, the reliance on Melville turned this into an incoherent mess about a number of unconnected Bostonians rather than an interesting biography of a troubled, psychopathic youth.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not much about Jessie Pomeroy

Lots of historical information about Boston, the fire, current events and Herman Melville. Not really a true crime story. Disappointing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Don't Waste A Credit

Would you try another book from Roseanne Montillo and/or Emily Woo Zeller?

Maybe, but I would read the reviews before trying another book by this author.

Has The Wilderness of Ruin turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, I have read other books in this genre that were very good.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found her louder than necessary when quoting dialog or newspaper headlines. Not sure why she felt it necessary to try to deepen her voice when making these announcements, women don't generally do deeper voices very well.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Wilderness of Ruin?

Would, at a minimum,cut all of the Melville nonsense. The story line was hard to follow. I thought it was going to be mostly, if not all, about the young serial killer and the effort it took to bring him to justice. Not so. I am still trying to figure out what the message in all of the various stories is, nothing seems related.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Squirrel!!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

i have no idea...the performance was fine. Ms. Zeller did a great job...it's the book.

What could Roseanne Montillo have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Stick to the subject...essentially you are writitng a story of a young boy's life and all of the side events of the Boston fires and the hops and skips.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Took a long turn detour in the middle

This book though offering a glimpse into the life and times of late 19th century Boston went off the rails in the middle.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Poorly written...

The story was reportedly about a young man in the 1800s who was one of the first serial killers.

Unfortunately the story itself has very little to do with him. It has a lot of strange offshoots and sidetracks including a very long one about Herman Melville and his mental state.

I gave it overall a two star because when the story DID discuss the name sake of the book (which wasn’t often) it was somewhat interesting but overall it was very poorly written. This is a little disconcerting considering of the author is supposedly some kind of English or writing professor.

The reading of the book was also subpar in my opinion.

Save your money for something better.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

very convoluted

This book was so confusing in how the author went off on these long tangents about authors that had nothing to do with the main character.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

zzzzzzzzz don't waste your $ or credit

the narration was horid! imagine the "time lady" we would call as kids narrating!