OverviewFrom 1910 to 1919, New Orleans suffered at the hands of its very own Jack the Ripper–style killer. The story has been the subject of websites, short stories, novels, a graphic novel, and most recently the FX television series American Horror Story. But the full story of gruesome murders, sympathetic victims, accused innocents, public panic, the New Orleans Mafia, and a mysterious killer has never been written. Until now. The Axeman repeatedly broke into the homes of Italian grocers in the dead of night, leaving his victims in a pool of blood. Iorlando Jordano, an innocent Italian grocer, and his teenaged son Frank were wrongly accused of one of those murders; corrupt officials convicted them with coerced testimony. Miriam C. Davis here expertly tells the story of the search for the Axeman and of the eventual exoneration of the innocent Jordanos. She proves that the person mostly widely suspected of being the Axeman was not the killer. She also shows what few have suspected—that the Axeman continued killing after leaving New Orleans in 1919.Only thirty years after Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of Whitechapel, the Axeman of New Orleans held an American city hostage. This book tells that story.
Reviews"Fantastically detailed, thoroughly documented, frightening and fascinating. Ms. Davis's account of the Axeman is likely to be the final word on the subject." —Keven McQueen, author of Gothic and Strange True Tales of the South
"Tackling one of the most perplexing serial killer cases in the annals of American homicide, Miriam Davis has produced an exemplary work of historical true crime. Exhaustively researched, crisply written, and as briskly paced as any fictional thriller, it is sure to stand as the definitive work on the subject. —Harold Schechter, author of The Serial Killer Files
"No American murders are stranger or more mysterious than those committed by the Axeman of New Orleans. And none are more desperately in need of the attentions of a first-rate writer and historian. Thankfully, Miriam Davis is both those things. Her account is original, revelatory—and also very exciting." —Mike Dash, author of The First Family and Satan's Circus
"A riveting story of a serial-killer investigation in a time long before modern-day investigative techniques, or even the term 'serial killer,' was invented." —Booklist, starred review
"Miriam Davis leaves no stone unturned in her study of a classic unsolved serial muder case, pursuing leads where no researcher has gone before and revealing previously unreported crimes, victims, and suspects. Those who think they 'know it all' about the Axeman are in for a thrilling surprise." —Michael Newton, author of The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers
"A superb read for those who love historical true crime writing, New Orleans history, and real-life tales of serial killers." —Library Journal
"That's how it reads: a page-turner of violence and skillful research." —The New Orleans Advocate
Author BiographyMiriam C. Davis has a PhD in history and is the author of Dame Kathleen Kenyon, a biography of the most important female archeologist of the twentieth century. She lectures for Smithsonian Journeys and lives in Montgomery, Alabama.