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The Man from the Train
The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery | Bill James, Rachel McCarthy James
Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history. Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station. When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America. Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.
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pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

It's been a long time since a book creeped me out enough to keep me up at night... and it's nonfiction! Yikes! Thankfully distant history. I have been interested in some of the cases discussed in here for a long time, and I couldn't put this down. I am also extremely impressed with the amount of research that the authors put into this, and their emphasis on understanding the impact of time and place on the crimes and investigations.

ljuliel I really liked this one, and liked how the author almost talks directly to the reader in parts. It was different, but very good. I‘ve read books on Villisca , and I think one of them mentioned there‘d been a few other axe killings around the same time frame. 4w
pigeonsandcrows @ljuliel The one by Troy Taylor, Murdered in Their Beds, talked about a lot of the “subsection“ murders that the Jameses discuss, but the addition of all the other cases they uncovered in their research was so impressive to me. I got interested in Villisca a while back, and kept thinking it had to be a stranger and he couldn't have only done something like this once. So I have been excited to see more books that connect the dots! 4w
52 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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pigeonsandcrows
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Coming to my spooky read for the fall a bit late!

veritysalter This looks interesting, I‘m stacking it📚x 1mo
45 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Pageturner2
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It has been taking me awhile to get through this book, it keeps jumping around and then veering off in a different direction.

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 💚📚💚 1mo
LauraJ Welcome! I hope you enjoy Litsy 🖤 1mo
CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 1mo
2 likes3 comments
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awishman
Pickpick

The tone and writing style of this book are different from most true crime books that I have read, sometimes the author was a bit flippant and jokey and it jarred me a little, but overall I really enjoyed this book, especially portions pertaining to the Villusca ax murders, which happened in my home state. We will never know definitatively if there was a man on the train, or who he was for sure, but the case this book makes is compelling.

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Minimalgrl
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New audio book download from King County Library.... some true crime for an afternoon walk ....
#truecrime #audiobook #litsywalker #walk

37 likes2 stack adds
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Chelsea.Poole
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Bailedbailed

Started two #audiobook titles this morning that I have been waiting on from the library for months. It was a "no" to both of them. Returned one right after the other. ? hate it when that happens! At least I figured out they were not for me right off the bat. Thanks to the reviewers on Litsy who helped me make my decisions! On to the next one!

MallenNC I tried to read The Editor but didn‘t get too far. I wanted to like it so I may try it again sometime. 4mo
cathysaid Happens to me as well. I‘ll check out a couple in a row that I don‘t like, then I‘ll start checking out other subpar books out of desperation to have one to listen to on my commute. Ten books later I usually land on one I like 😬 4mo
68 likes2 comments
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AutumnRLS
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Is it weird that my true crime and food writing ended up on the same shelf?

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k.reads
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Bailedbailed

Really wanted to like this one, but boy— I really don‘t get this author‘s storytelling technique. He‘s just listing details from various murders one after the other without really tying them together. At nearly 17 hours (😱), this book should really move more quickly. And so many weird digressions?? 🐌🐌

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Tamra
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Panpan

I‘ve never felt like an author had such disdain for readers. 😧 There was one section with a childish diatribe against readers who might believe lives in bygone eras are boring. I was listening to the audio and was momentarily confused thinking the book got switched or something it so odd. Then there was the chapter for the skeptic midway, which came off hostile & defensive, like he was expecting a lot of push back. Weird audio experience.

Tamra It also got so incredibly detailed on each and every case in the middle that I skipped 5 chapters to get to the point where he started to pull them together. It was fine doing so because he outlines them in the beginning. This could have been much shorter and thus more cohesive. (edited) 11mo
Texreader Ugh!! Thanks for an honest review!! 11mo
Tamra @Texreader this was probably a really interesting article, but fleshed out for a book it just got bogged down. The end was interesting as the authors began to explain why they tied the cases to one identified person. But, still the tone was off putting as a whole. It could just be me! 🥴 (edited) 11mo
See All 12 Comments
Crazeedi The title sounds like it'd be a great book, sad to hear it didn't live up to expectations . I hate when that happens 11mo
Tamra @Crazeedi I think the subject is fascinating! I think it‘s probably worth checking out, just feel free to skip ahead. 11mo
Kaye Oddly , I liked this book a lot. Even the way the guy tells the story. It was really different than normal true crime books. Maybe that‘s why I liked it. 😁 11mo
Tamra @kaye you are right, it was quite different than other true crime tellings, from what I can tell. I haven‘t read a lot of them. It certainly is a fascinating and scary set of murders! 😱 Gruesome and so inhuman. I kept wondering how he could have put a sheet over them before bludgeoning them and get into so many unfamiliar homes w/o being detected. I‘m glad we have a dog! 11mo
Hestapleton Yeah I had really similar feelings on this book. The tone was NOT working for me. 11mo
Crazeedi @Tamra thanks! 11mo
Crazeedi @kaye yes everyone has different tastes, that's what make life so interesting! I will check it out! 11mo
Tamra @Hestapleton ok, I‘m glad it wasn‘t just me. 😅 11mo
Tamra @Crazeedi 👍🏾 11mo
94 likes1 stack add12 comments
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Hestapleton
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Mehso-so

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately, it didn‘t work for me on a lot of levels. Check out the review on my blog for the full story! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
https://talkbookswithme.home.blog/2019/01/07/the-man-from-the-train-3-5/

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Rissa1
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Bailedbailed

I wanted to love this book. I DID NOT love this book. I usually don't bail on books, but this was due back and for 2 days I would push this aside and read everything else.

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Rissa1
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My husband is a brave man and took our children to the store, I am listening to this audiobook, and staring out the window at my light projector shining through the trees.

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Rissa1
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I just started this while I was in the shower. I don't want to stop! John Bedford Lloyd's voice is perfection for this book.🎧📖

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Loralie
Mehso-so

Wow. I wish I had one tenth of the confidence this author had. If you disagree you are wrong & he is also pretty condescending. I also think that this could have benefited from at the very least a timeline listed somewhere. The sheer number of murders got confusing. That said, it was interesting how the authors connected murderers, whether they were right or not.

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Blair_Reads
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Loving these puppy snuggles tonight with Miss Daisy. 💜

tammysue What a pretty girl! 💕 1y
65 likes1 comment
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Blair_Reads
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Evening reading complete with 🛀

Grrlbrarian Ooh give us a review when you‘re done! 1y
Monica5 Yes please do. Looks interesting. 1y
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aprilpohren
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@nelehelen oh my goodness, I LOVE everything!! How fun! Thank you so very very much for everything...it is all so perfect! The hat is adorable and so fun! I can't wait to dive into everything!!
#itstrulycriminalswap @JenlovesJT47 thank you so much for putting this swap together!!

nelehelen Yay! I‘m so glad you like everything! I thought the hat would be useful for summer. It‘s all about sun protection! 😉 1y
JenlovesJT47 Awesome!!💚💚💚 1y
41 likes2 comments
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Bookzombie
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Pickpick

Book 1 of #24in48 - I found this book fascinating. It‘s not only about a series of possibly connected murders (and some that aren‘t connected), but also about how the United States was changing during the period of time covered. I enjoyed that it often felt like the authors were having a conversation with you about the case they were building. #nonfictionchallenge2018

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Bookzombie
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Here is my #24in48 stack, plus I have two audiobooks in progress. The top two books are also in progress. I‘m sure I won‘t get to them all but I like options. I also might detour from the stack if the mood strikes. I‘m so excited to start! Just a little under 15 minutes to go! #tbr #readathon 💃🏼🎉📚⏱

vivastory Good choices! Happy readathon! 🎉🤘📚 1y
Bookzombie @vivastory Thank you! You too! 🎉📚 1y
TheLibrarian Meddling Kids is fun! 1y
61 likes3 comments
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GoldenGirl
Mehso-so

This book kept me up late learning all these poor murdered families' names. I have to say, it gets a bit boring as the author walks you thru the history of DNA and fingerprinting, but the fact that they solved the crime is amazing!

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GoldenGirl
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Man. I have had a slooowww reading month since about the end of May. I've hardly read at all this month. Still working thru book 4 of GoT and The Gunslinger. Just grabbed this one 👆 from the library, hoping it'll pull me out of my slump!

19 likes1 stack add
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TheBookkeepersApprentice
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When your friend knows just the surprise present to send you to cheer you up 😄❤️ #murderino #truecrime #currentlyreading #nonfiction #mounttbrreadathon (I‘m planning to finish this book today so I promise I will stop taking pictures of it 😄)

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TheBookkeepersApprentice
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A cozy comfy Saturday night-a great book, a peaceful-smelling candle, and warm milk with vanilla and honey in one of my favorite mugs 😊 #mounttbrreadathon

BookMaven407 Great mug! 2y
TheBookkeepersApprentice @BookMaven407 thanks! It was a present from my brother and my sister-in-law 😊 2y
mrozzz I have that saying on a hoodie!! 👌🏻 2y
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TheBookkeepersApprentice @mrozzz that is awesome! I would love to have it on a piece of clothing too! 2y
BibliophileMomma 😍 that mug. 2y
TheBookkeepersApprentice @Tiffy_Reads my amazing brother and sister-in-law surprised me with it for my birthday last year 🤗 2y
26 likes6 comments
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TheBookkeepersApprentice
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This book is just so good I can‘t stop taking pictures of it! I love James‘ wry & really intelligent take on #truecrime (seriously, if you haven‘t read Popular Crime you need to). Don‘t be put off by the fact that he is a statistician by trade, I am not a math person and I love his books. He doesn‘t throw math formulas at you or anything like that, his background allows him to bring a really unique analytical nature to the way he looks at crimes.

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TheBookkeepersApprentice
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Loving reading this on my train ride-if you love true crime, you should definitely check out Bill James! #truecrime #currentlyreading

EvieBee Is it creepy?! I do love that in true crime. (edited) 2y
TheBookkeepersApprentice @EvieBee it definitely is creepy 2y
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TheBookkeepersApprentice
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Reading The Man on the Train while on the train 😉😊🚊 So excited to finally read this, I loved James‘ Popular Crime! #truecrime #currentlyreading

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Leelee08
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Starting the year off with a little true crime.....

Mdargusch I‘m stacking! This sounds like the same person that killed in 2y
KimHM I‘m beyond excited to add this to my TBR 📚! I read his earlier compendium of true crime cases and really enjoyed it. I can‘t believe I missed this! Thanks for posting ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2y
70 likes9 stack adds2 comments
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bio_chem06
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It took me 18 months to find full time work since moving back to Ohio from Chicago, but I wouldn't say I didnt take advantage of my time. 📚🔖
#readersgonnaread #hereistofulltimeemployement #finally

rubyslippersreads 🎉📚🎉📚🎉🎉🎉 2y
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Jen2
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Pickpick

Fascinating!!!

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queerbookreader
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In today's WSJ book reviews: -The Man From the Train- by Bill and Rachel James. True Crime book basically about this string of murders along the railroad system around turn of the 20th century. The author theorized that this one murder of a family was connected to a bigger picture, thus his investigation was born. Sounds creepy af 😳 and he uses lots of stats cos he's a baseball stat guru. Yay. Suitable reading for October 👻 #truecrime

BekahB I saw this at Barnes and Noble yesterday and was so close to buying it! I'll have see if my library has it. 😀 2y
Dorianna This book is right up my alley. 2y
Bianca This is right up my alley, too. Thanks for sharing! 2y
46 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Kaye
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Pickpick

Starting with the Villisca murders in 1912, the author is convinced this was a serial killer, not a one time event without substantial reason. Once he and his daughter start investigating , they were able to link dozens more cases with this one, possibly more. There were so many odd coincidences in each of them that it's had not to believe the same guy committed most, if not all of them. Good, but tedious in spots due to the extensive detail. 4⭐️

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Kaye
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"He is looking for a house with no dog. Just isolated enough to provide a little bit of cover. A barn he can hide out from sundown to the middle of the night He is looking for a house with a woodpile in the front yard, and an axe sticking up out of the woodpile. True crime. SPOOKY. ??

Lcsmcat Looks interesting! 2y
Kaye @Lcsmcat Yes, I just started it today and almost 100 pgs in. Quite interesting. Good to find another decent true crime read. 2y
Reviewsbylola Sounds very promising. 2y
49 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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murflegirl
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Just got this from #netgalley today. Excited to tear into this!

Reviewsbylola Sounds amazing! 2y
7 likes1 stack add1 comment
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SaraBeagle
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My July TBR is mostly made up of a few ARCs, BotM, and library holds that I'm next in line for. I'm going to try to knock out a few from my B&N Classics shopping spree too 😁