On May 18, 1927, the deadliest school murder in American history unfolded in Michigan when a politician and farmer angry about school taxes detonated a set of rigged explosives with the sole purpose of destroying a primary school and everyone in it—setting the stage for a century of mass violence to come.
It's not an easy book to read—the details of the terrorist act are, as you might expect, extremely horrifying—but it's a fascinating look at one of the most unspeakable events in American history ... Schechter has managed to do a wonderful job researching the subject, drawing from newspaper reports, books and public records, and he synthesizes them beautifully, creating a tight narrative that's hard to put down. Schechter's writing is matter-of-fact and unshowy; while he includes the gruesome details of the bombing's aftermath, he does so with sensitivity—the book is never lurid or exploitative. And while the picture he paints of Kehoe is evocative, he's careful not to speculate about aspects of Kehoe that we don't, and can't, know ... a fascinating book by an author who shows real mastery of the true-crime genre.
Exhaustively researched and told in an unflinching narrative...bringing a crime from almost 100 years ago into sharp modern-day detail ... Far from focusing exclusively on the crime itself and the sadist who committed it, Schechter also brings the reader heart-warming stories of heroes and survivors in a beautiful and honourable way. Without realising it, tears were rolling down my face as I finished reading the final sentence.
Readers may wish for more detail on Kehoe's own psychology and thoughts; nevertheless, the minute-by-minute account of the event and the firsthand reports create a strong sense of place and time and bring this chilling story to life ... A vivid narrative that's sure to please those interested in historical true crime tales.