MixedThe Wall Street JournalIn precise, fascinating and occasionally credulity-straining detail, the authors recount how Oldfield’s multiagency investigation ultimately arrested 14 members of the Black Hand in six cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania ... Mr. Oldfield and Ms. Bruce have a weakness for narrative-slowing digressions (\'The origins and importance of the United States Post Office date back to the American Revolution\') and a tendency to describe century-old events with modern clichés about \'game-changing\' decisions, getting \'lawyered up\' and \'passive-aggressive\' workplace behavior. But this book is most valuable as a great-grandson’s account of a historically significant relative whom he knew only from family legend...[.]
Bill James & Rachel McCarthy James
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalIn the new book, the Jameses give tick-tock accounts of each homicidal rampage—sending the reader across the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and the South and even to eastern Canada—in an attempt to determine whether the guilty party was in fact The Man From the Train … It is not easy to read about these murders—among the dead is a day-old infant—and the authors sometimes stray from good taste. Despite insisting that they will not describe The Man From the Train with a ‘cutesy nickname’—’Billy the Ax Man,’ for instance—the Jameses can’t refrain from their own occasional cutesiness … Despite these occasional lapses in judgment, this is an impressive work, an open-eyed investigative inquiry wrapped within a cultural history of rural America at the turn of the 20th century...In its peculiar way, the book winds up being a celebration of the forgotten corners of America, a paean to the poor folks who lived out by the railroad tracks.