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Takers Mad  By  cover art

Takers Mad

By: Luke Jerod Kummer
Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
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Publisher's summary

A tantalizing drama pulled from New York’s gritty past, Takers Mad guides listeners down a shadowy path to explore a true crime that haunted the Gilded Age.

As newspapers reported in the 1890s, a woman dubbed "Shakespeare" was found dead in a seedy hotel along the waterfront by Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. The chilling scene recalled for press and police alike Jack the Ripper’s victims in London. Panicked New Yorkers worked feverishly to halt that maniac’s spree from expanding across the Atlantic. The city only sighed relief after detectives abruptly arrested a traveling Algerian ex-soldier for the crime. 

In this reimagining, our narrator Flora - an aspiring pulp writer who grew up worlds away from Manhattan - arrives at the story over a decade later, after her dreams of a perfect wedding are dashed. It turns out Jacob Riis, the disapproving father of Flora’s new groom, and America’s most famous muckraker, played an unexpected role in this mystery earlier in his career. 

As Flora digs into the case, more questions about what really happened in the hotel on that monstrous night begin to reveal themselves. Did the police scapegoat the man arrested for the crime? What about the blood that detectives found? Or did authorities actually let Jack the Ripper walk free? Flora hopes if she unlocks these puzzles, it might win over her father-in-law, plus grant the entrance to New York publishing she craves.

Based on historical research and fresh findings in a real-life case that dominated headlines before the turn of the century, Takers Mad is a ruminative, atmospheric, and sometimes morbidly funny work of literary suspense that follows one of the most memorable heroines in recent crime fiction as she stalks Gotham, confronts corruption, and delves into who really murdered "Shakespeare". 

©2021 Luke Jerrod Kummer (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator

Luke Jerod Kummer’s nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Republic, The Washingtonian, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Village Voice, and other publications. His novel, The Blue Period imagines the tragic events that led a young Pablo Picasso to paint somber portraits in nocturnal shades, before Cubism turned the artist into a celebrity. Booklist called the debut "lush biographical fiction," and the story was featured in American Way, Literary Hub, The Millions, and Full Stop magazine. Takers Mad, Kummer’s Audible Original, picks up the twisting trail of a real-life murder that transfixed New York during the Gilded Age.

About the Performer

Khristine Hvam is an award-winning audiobook narrator, producer, and director. Some of her works include TV/radio commercials, video games, animated series, and most notably, more than 300 audiobook titles. Hvam has been honored with four Audio Publishers Association Audie Awards. AudioFile Magazine has awarded her seven of its Earphones Awards, as well as Best Voices of the Year 2015 and 2017. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.