I was intrigued by The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth. The idea that Jack the Ripper could have begun his nefarious work years earlier in Austin, Texas was something I had to read about.

Is this as good as others in the genre like Devil in the White City? No. Is it a great read about a very unknown piece of history (Texas history in particular?) The fact that the “Midnight Assassin” chose primarily black servant girls is likely the reason you have not heard of this murderer.

Yes. Hollandsworth does a great job of taking you back to the early days of Austin, Texas. His information about the transformation from days of being a nice few square miles in Central Texas to changing the city name from Waterloo to Austin and eventually stealing the title of State Capital of Texas from Houston, was worth the read.

The book tends to cover a lot of things that could/should have been edited out for pacing reasons but I am glad they were left in. It is these “asides” and background that brings the book to life. If you have a little ADHD, it won’t bother you at all.

by Chris Doelle