• American Demon

  • Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America's Jack the Ripper
  • By: Daniel Stashower
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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American Demon  By  cover art

American Demon

By: Daniel Stashower
Narrated by: Will Damron
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award-winner Daniel Stashower returns with American Demon, a historical true crime starring legendary lawman Eliot Ness.

Boston had its Strangler. California had the Zodiac Killer. And in the depths of the Great Depression, Cleveland had the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.

On September 5th, 1934, a young beachcomber made a gruesome discovery on the shores of Cleveland’s Lake Erie: the lower half of a female torso, neatly severed at the waist. The victim, dubbed “The Lady of the Lake,” was only the first of a butcher’s dozen. Over the next four years, twelve more bodies would be scattered across the city. The bodies were dismembered with surgical precision and drained of blood. Some were beheaded while still alive. 

Terror gripped the city. Amid the growing uproar, Cleveland’s besieged mayor turned to his newly-appointed director of public safety: Eliot Ness. Ness had come to Cleveland fresh from his headline-grabbing exploits in Chicago, where he and his band of “Untouchables” led the frontline assault on Al Capone’s bootlegging empire. Now he would confront a case that would redefine his storied career.

Award-winning author Daniel Stashower shines a fresh light on one of the most notorious puzzles in the annals of crime, and uncovers the gripping story of Ness’s hunt for a sadistic killer who was as brilliant as he was cool and composed, a mastermind who was able to hide in plain sight. American Demon reconstructs this ultimate battle of wits between a hero and a madman.

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

©2022 Daniel Stashower (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about American Demon

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Not what I expected at all

I expected a book about a serial killer; What I got was a book that took fully half to get to the subject. If I wanted a book about the untouchables and Al Capone I would have bought one. That wasn’t the case and I’m not thrilled.

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a good look at a scary time in Cleveland

i was surprised to learn that Eliot Ness spent so much time in Cleveland and i have lived here my whole life. There is an interesting twist to the Torso Murders. All in all, a good true crimes worl

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Neither here nor there...

I'm not exactly sure what the author was trying to accomplish with this book. But judging by the cover art reminiscent of Erik Larson, I imagine he was trying to emulate that author by weaving together stories to make an interesting narrative. In this case, it just falls short. It's part Eliot Ness expose, part Cleveland true crime mystery, as advertised. The problem is there is very little to holding it all together. Ness had his moment in Chicago, and the hype of a book and TV show, and Cleveland apparently had a serial killer at the time Ness was a top bureaucrat. Other than one particular incident, there is very little weaving possible. It may have made for a more compelling story if certain aspect could have been more deeply explored, but it's clear (by the author's own admission) there really is no definitive evidence one way or the other regarding Ness' role in the criminal investigation. Not entirely a waste of time, but certainly time that could have been better spent.

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Not Bad

It was ok mixed with Nesses personal life a little more then the murders but a descent listen

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Truthfinder and Elliot Ness

The research is presented in a thoughtful way that re-creates the time of this crime. Eliot Ness did some things for Cleveland that deserve a statue in the town Square. Eliot Ness had a personal life that was definitely worth the long discussion. The FBI building in Washington DC should have J Edgar Hoover’s name removed. He seems to have a lingering effect on the FBI to this day.

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Different than expected

Fascinating read re Elliott Ness, but left wondering about the murder, who was he?