The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

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Dear Bookworms,

I chose this read to satisfy my “true crime” prompt on my 2018 reading challenge. 

The late 1800’s was a time of immense progress and innovation, and nothing embodied that sense of change and growth quite like Chicago at the behest of The World’s Fair. A feat of architectural and scientific genius, it put the young architect, Daniel Burham on the map as one of the most well known architects of his time, possibly in history. While Chicago grew by leaps and bounds another, more sinister force was at work. HH Holmes, the handsome young doctor, put down roots in Chicago and used its booming population as a hunting ground to satisfy his deepest fantasies; torture, murder, and human dissection. Two men, one city, during the turn of the century making Chicago (in)famous for two very different reasons.  

I’ll just start off with the negatives here. I didn’t realize there would be SO MUCH about Burnham and the planning, building, and running of The Worlds Fair. While some parts were interesting and engaging, on the whole, it was dull, lengthy, and not so much fun to read. I had assumed the book would primarily focus on the life and crimes of HH Holmes (known as Americas first serial killer) which was a far more fascinating story in my opinion. If you are a fan of non-fiction- the Burnham story-line may be the thing for you, but for me, I could have done without. 

That being said, I gobbled up all the chapters about HH Holmes. It was a really comprehensive look into his life and day to day goings on. His level of psychopathy was chilling while at the same time fascinating. I would have much preferred the book to solely focus on his story line. 

Overall I would still consider this a good read and recommend it to all my fans of true crime and nonfiction alike. 

Until next week!




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Real-life bookworm with a taste for adventure. Coco enjoys reading as much as she enjoys good coffee. Coco is an experienced book reader, and expert book reviewer. If you need a book reviewed, you are in good hands.

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