Publisher: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Genre: Victorian Period, History, Serial Killer.
Source: Free hardcover copy from William Morrow in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.
Link @ publisher: The Wilderness of Ruin.
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Several young boys in Boston were sorely abused in 1871. These crimes happened shortly before the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Jesse Harding Pomeroy is arrested for the abuse of the boys and is sent to a reform school. After several months he is released. In South Boston, two children are gruesomely murdered. The police believe Pomeroy is the slayer.
Before reading The Wilderness of Ruin, I'd not heard of this true story, nor had I heard of the name Jesse Pomeroy. A young adolescent who carried out horrific torture and murder is an anomaly to me. I hear of young people planning and taking part in petty crime, but hellish victimization? Further, the brutal torture of young innocent children? I felt a curiosity to try and comprehend a human that had a malevolent dark side (if possible), and I wanted to understand how the detectives solved the case.
Firstly, the author has a writing style that I'll call "multi-tasking." Montillo does not just write about the main subject, which is Jesse Pomeroy. Several topics are explored, each of them are linked, some links are loose and some strong. The other topics are: the Great Boston Fire of 1872, geography and history of Boston, criminology in the mid to late 1800s, 19th century psychology, 19th century journalism, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Herman Melville, history of the insanity plea, and the serialized published crime story. For some readers a "multi-focus" in a book is too much, for me, and because I am a "multi-tasking" reader, I loved this books approach.
Lastly, did The Wilderness of Ruin answer the following questions:
What kind of person was Pomeroy?
What made him a killer?
Yes, and it was expressed most vividly through an interesting source. The source was a writer who was approved to visit Pomeroy. This writer was an astute and discerning observer of people and life. His view of Pomeroy was not shadowed by any preconceived judgement, but an honest assessment.
|Aftermath of the Great Boston Fire of 1872.|