So, The Midnight Assassin is not at all something I would normally have read or even heard about. I’m not really on top of my historical crime novels anymore. (Although I willingly admit to having read a ton of them in the past.)
But my mom’s book club read it and she gave me her copy when she was done with it. AND IT’S GREAT. I mean, it would be better if it had a definitive conclusion (like, say if they caught the guy before he maybe went on to be Jack the Ripper or whatever). But still, it’s super interesting and very well written.
One of my favorite aspects of it was that it was also a narrative of the history of Austin. In the background of these grizzly, seemingly random murders, the place I currently live is growing from a small town into a real city. The pictures of things like the Driscoll hotel right after they finished building it standing alone on a 6th Street that is not yet crawling with drunk college kids, and the UT campus surrounded by green space and “overflowing with 230 students” were almost impossible to believe considering how big the city is now and almost as interesting to read about as the murders themselves or the historical racism that definitely contributed to them never being solved.
Also, if you’re a fan of the Texas Monthly’s long form journalism, this is basically just an extra long article. Skip Hollandsworth has written some of my favorite Texas Monthly pieces – all of those are great reads if you have a free hour or so before anyone expects you to do anything. If you have actual stuff humans expect you to do in the world, here’s an overview Texas Monthly did of Skip Hollandsworth and the super weird stuff he likes to write about that’s a much more reasonable length.