American Murder: Three True Crime Classics

Open Road Media
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Three riveting accounts of horrific crimes and the twisted minds behind them by an Edgar Award–winning author, in one volume.

A father’s ultimate betrayal, a savage killing spree that terrorized Los Angeles, and the brutal slaying of a rich man’s college-aged daughter. In this heart-stopping true crime collection, New York Times–bestselling author Darcy O’Brien uncovers the dark underside of the American dream.
 
Murder in Little Egypt: Dr. John Dale Cavaness selflessly attended to the needs of his small, southern Illinois community. But when Cavaness was charged with the murder of his son Sean in December 1984, a radically different portrait of the physician and surgeon emerged. Throughout the three decades he had basked in the admiration and respect of the people of Little Egypt, Cavaness was privately terrorizing his family, abusing his employees, and making disastrous financial investments. In this New York Times bestseller, as more and more grisly details come to light, so too does rural America’s heritage of blood and violence become clear.
 
The Hillside Stranglers: For weeks, the body count of sexually violated, brutally murdered young women escalated. With increasing alarm, Los Angeles newspapers headlined the deeds of a serial killer they named the Hillside Strangler. But not until January 1979, more than a year later, would the mysterious disappearance of two university students near Seattle lead police to the arrest of a security guard—the handsome, charming, fast-talking Kenny Bianchi—and the discovery that the strangler was not one man but two. The Hillside Stranglers is the disturbing portrait of a city held hostage by fear and a pair of psychopaths whose lust was as insatiable as their hate.
 
A Dark and Bloody Ground: On a sweltering evening in August 1985, three men breached Roscoe Acker’s alarm and security systems, stabbed his daughter to death, and made off with over $1.9 million in cash. The killers were part of a hillbilly gang led by Sherry Sheets Hodge, a former prison guard, and her husband, lifetime criminal Benny Hodge. The stolen money came in handy shortly afterward, when they used it to lure Kentucky’s most flamboyant lawyer, Lester Burns, into representing them. “The smell of wet, coal-laden earth, white lightning, and cocaine-driven sweat rises from these marvelously atmospheric—and compelling—pages” (Kirkus Reviews).
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About the author

Darcy O’Brien is the author of the novels A Way of Life, Like Any Other, which won the Ernest Hemingway Award for Best First Novel in 1978, and The Silver Spooner, as well as the nonfiction bestseller Two of a Kind: The Hillside Stranglers. He died in 1998.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jul 11, 2017
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Pages
1632
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ISBN
9781504047173
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Social Science / Violence in Society
True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The riveting true crime account of the Hillside Stranglers and the horrific serial killings they unleashed on 1970s Los Angeles.
 
For weeks that fall, the body count of sexually violated, brutally murdered young women escalated. With increasing alarm, Los Angeles newspapers headlined the deeds of a serial killer they named the Hillside Strangler. The city was held hostage by fear.
 
But not until January 1979, more than a year later, would the mysterious disappearance of two university students near Seattle lead police to the arrest of a security guard—the handsome, charming, fast-talking Kenny Bianchi—and the discovery that the strangler was not one man but two.
 
Compellingly, O’Brien explores the symbiotic relationship between Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono, their lust for women as insatiable as their hate, before examining the crimes they remorselessly perpetrated and the lives of the unsuspecting victims they claimed.
 
Equally riveting is O’Brien’s account of the trial—one of the longest and most controversial criminal court cases in American history—with the defense team parading, one after another, expert witnesses who had been effectively duped by Bianchi’s impersonation of a man suffering multiple personality disorder. It’s one way a man might contrive to get away with murder.
 
Like Truman Capote in In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer in The Executioner’s Song, Darcy O’Brien weds the narrative skill of an award-winning novelist with the detailed observations of an experienced investigator to unravel this chilling true-crime story.
 
New York Times Bestseller: The “fascinating” true story of John Dale Cavaness, a much-admired Illinois doctor—and the cold-blooded killer of his own son (The Washington Post).

 Fusing the narrative power of an award-winning novelist and the detailed research of an experienced investigator, author Darcy O’Brien unfolds the story of Dr. John Dale Cavaness, the southern Illinois physician and surgeon charged with the murder of his son Sean in December 1984. Outraged by the arrest of the skilled medical practitioner who selflessly attended to their needs, the people of Little Egypt, as the natives call their region, rose to his defense.
But during the subsequent trial, a radically different, disquieting portrait of Dr. Cavaness would emerge. Throughout the three decades that he enjoyed the admiration and respect of his community, Cavaness was privately terrorizing his family, abusing his employees, and making disastrous financial investments. As more and more grisly details of the Cavaness case come to stark Midwestern light in O’Brien’s chilling account, so too does the hidden gothic underside of rural America and its heritage of violence and blood.
 
“A meticulous account . . . An implicit indictment of a culture that condones and encourages violent behavior in men.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“A fascinating story, and Darcy O’Brien does a great job of structuring it for suspense.” —The Washington Post
 
“Riveting.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“A terrifying story of family violence and the community that honored the perpetrator.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Stunning material . . . Handled with justice and fastidiousness by a natural storyteller.” —Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize
An Edgar Award–winning author’s true crime account of a grisly string of killings in Kentucky—and the shocking spectacle of greed that followed.

Kentucky never deserved its Indian appellation “A Dark and Bloody Ground” more than when a small-town physician, seventy-seven-year-old Roscoe Acker, called in an emergency on a sweltering evening in August 1985. Acker’s own life hung in the balance, but it was already too late for his college-age daughter, Tammy, savagely stabbed eleven times and pinned by a kitchen knife to her bedroom floor. Three men had breached Dr. Acker’s alarm and security systems and made off with the fortune he had stashed away over his lifetime.

The killers—part of a three-man, two-woman gang of the sort not seen since the Barkers—stopped counting the moldy bills when they reached $1.9 million. The cash came in handy soon after when they were caught and needed to lure Kentucky’s most flamboyant lawyer, the celebrated and corrupt Lester Burns, into representing them. Full of colorful characters and desperate deeds, A Dark and Bloody Ground is a “first-rate” true crime chronicle from the author of Murder in Little Egypt (Kirkus Reviews).
 
“An arresting look into the troubled psyches of these criminals and into the depressed Kentucky economy that became fertile territory for narcotics dealers, theft rings and bootleggers.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“The smell of wet, coal-laden earth, white lightning, and cocaine-driven sweat arises from these marvelously atmospheric—and compelling—pages.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A fascinating portrait of the mountain way of life and thought that forged the lives of these criminals.” —Library Journal 
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