Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Poisoned: Chicago 1907, A Corrupt System, An Accused Killer, and The Crusade to Save Him


Today's post is on Poisoned: Chicago 1907, A Corrupt System, An Accused Killer, and The Crusade to Save Him by Steve Shukis. It is 334 pages long with notes, etc. and it s published by Title Town Publishing. The cover has defendant on it looking into the camera. The intended reader is someone who likes true crime, history, and good writing. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- A gripping tale of murder, sorcery, and criminal justice in turn-of-the-century Chicago, Poisoned is the fascinating true story (1907) of a mysterious Bohemian fortune teller charged with murdering a half-dozen people by slowly poisoning them with arsenic. Poisoned details the horrific murders, and the incredible events that followed Herman Billik's conviction: last second reprieves; legal battles carried all the way to the Supreme Court; frenzied mass demonstrations; corpses secretly exhumed in the middle of the night; and the revelation that key witnesses lied under oath. The case affected political campaigns, involved a Chicago Mayor, and featured an eventual showdown in the race for Governor of Illinois between two of the story's central figures. Indeed, if it were not true, no one would ever believe it.

Review- This book is the reason we have police reform. The police are so dirty that almost hang an innocent man five times. At it is Billik spends nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  With court transcripts that add so much to the account and that makes it worse. The writing in this book is very strong. Shukis does good research and he does not pull any punches. He takes you from the day the police where called in all the way to the end of those involves lives. Shukis gives an interesting overview of the events without telling the reader what to think. In the beginning of the book I thought that maybe Bullik had done it, at the middle I did not think that Billik was guilty but I did not know who I thought was and by the end of the book I had a very different idea about the whole case. Shukis does a great job and I look forward to reading whatever he does next.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.