Review: The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Well, this review is overdue.

I picked up The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – wow mouthful much – by Erik Larson sometime in October because one of its subjects, the famed serial killer H.H. Holmes.

I figured, what better way to spend the spooky month of October than learning about Holmes and his world in 1893 Chicago.

Fast forward almost a month later and I am finally getting around to publishing this bad boy.

Was The Devil in the White City worth the wait? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

The Book

IMG_0254.JPGIt’s 1893, the Chicago World’s Fair, and Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, soon to be one of America’s first documented serial killers, are about to venture on very different paths.

Burnham, tasked with the impossible, has to create the famed ‘White City’ in a short period of time, while morning the loss of his business partner, and dealing with construction problem after construction problem.

Holmes is busy with his own construction on what would later be deemed the ‘Murder Castle.’ Luring victim after victim in order to satiate his appetite for murder and mayhem, can anyone survive the clutches of the charming doctor?

The Review

I listened to this book on audiobook, which probably made me stick out the entire thing, given that it was narrated by none other than Fitzgerald Grant, or Tony Goldwyn for all you non-Scandal fans out there.

*Side note: if you’ve never watched Scandal, do yourself a favour and binge it on Netflix before the new season comes out!*

IMG_0255.JPGGoldwyn had an ability to present the research done by Larson without making it seem overly dry for those who don’t think themselves as amateur history buffs.

If I am being perfectly honest, which, when am I not, I was more interested in the H. H. Holmes chapters more so than the Daniel Burnham ones.

Perhaps it’s because I picked this as my first ‘Halloween’-esk novel of the October season, or it might be the fact that I know very little about the man dubbed one of America’s ‘first serial killers’ but I found myself sometimes drifting out of the book whenever it came to the architecture of ‘The White City’ or any fair related problems.

The only time I really connected with Burnham is when it was revealed that his last connection to the fair, Francis Millet, had perished aboard the Titanic.

To me it made him seem more grounded in events I understood, but I did also find how hard it was for him to get the fair up and running interesting.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

VintageAmazon | Barnes & NobleIndigo


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