H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil uncovers not only the true story of Holmes but also how the legend evolved. It uses hundreds of primary sources that have never been studied before. This includes letters, articles, legal documents, and records that have been tucked away in archives for more than 100 years.

While H. H. Holmes is now as famous as he was in 1895, a thorough analysis of modern materials clarifies how much of the story as we know it came from reports who were far from the action, an incredibly unqualified new police chief, and lies from Holmes himself.

This book is a tale of an outlaw. It covers Holmes’s own story with new insights. The author, Adam Selzer, has uncovered stunning new data about Holmes. He combines turn-of-the-century America, the crazy group of characters who were in and around the famous “castle” building, and the killer’s own background. This book is the first fully accurate account of what truly happened in Holmes’s horror castle.

H. H. Holmes, with its exhaustive research and careful detail, is an irreplaceable partner to the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese movie about Holmes’s murder spree based on Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City.

This was such a fascinating novel of the notorious H H Holmes.

The author relied on thousands of hours of research to bring the true story of Holmes, rather than following the most common tales and myths.

I greatly enjoyed listening to the huge amount of knowledge and history within this novel, but I found myself slightly bored at times when the author got into a long rant about something that, to me, did not need to be as detailed. This is not even much of a complaint, I greatly enjoy true-crime, and I love the details within this book, but over 17 hours in the cruel mind of Holmes was a bit much for me.

I thought I knew the story of HH Holmes, but I soon learned that I had unknowingly bought into the huge hype of the almost supernatural mythology of the ‘Murder Castle’ in Chicago.

I am so happy that I randomly decided to pick up this Audible book hoping for more information of “America’s First Serial Killer’.

The author did a great job bringing Holmes to life, slugging through the huge media hype and legend. He brought so much horrific truth to this novel, that it almost makes the media sensationalism a bit trite.

I do plan on reading Larson’s Devil in the White City to get a good look at all angles of the Holmes tale, but this novel is definitely going to prove the most comprehensive.

This begs the question; how many more stories that have become part of our National mythology are far removed from what really happened? How many other stories are buried under retellings based on hazy memories? How often is the most sensationalised version of a story simply accepted and repeated even by reputable historians because better sources haven’t been readily available?

Adam Selzer began his career writing humorous young adult novels, but soon began a side career researching and writing about the stranger side of history, rescuing long-lost stories from microfilm reels and tracing urban legends to their sources. He is a tour guide in Chicago and New York, hosts the Cemetery Mixtape podcast, and appears frequently on TV and the radio.

See him online at adamchicago.com

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