The Man from the Train

Discovering America's Most Elusive Serial Killer

The Man from the Train

An Edgar Award finalist for Best Fact Crime, this “impressive…open-eyed investigative inquiry wrapped within a cultural history of rural America” (The Wall Street Journal) shows legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applying his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Some of these cases—like the infamous Villisca, Iowa, murders—received national attention. But most incidents went almost unnoticed outside the communities in which they occurred. Few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station. When celebrated true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal and uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

“A suspenseful historical account” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history. “A beautifully written and extraordinarily researched narrative…This is no pure whodunit, but rather a how-many-did-he-do” (Buffalo News).
  • Scribner | 
  • 480 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476796260 | 
  • October 2018
List Price $18.00 (price may vary by retailer)
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day

Teaching Resources

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Read an Excerpt

Hear an Excerpt

Join our Mailing List

Get our latest book recommendations, author news and sweepstakes right to your inbox

More Books from this Author

Popular Crime
The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame

About the Authors

Bill James
Photo by Crystal Image Photography, Lawrence, Kansas

Bill James

Bill James made his mark in the 1970s and 1980s with his Baseball Abstracts. He has been tearing down preconceived notions about America’s national pastime ever since. He is currently the Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, as well as the author of The Man from the Train. James lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife, Susan McCarthy, and three children.

BECOME A FAN

Rachel McCarthy James

Rachel McCarthy James lives in Lawrence, KS with her husband Jason. She studied creative writing at Hollins University, and her work has previously been featured in publications including Bitch, Broadly, and The New Inquiry. The Man from the Train is her first book.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US