I have less than zero interest in serial killers, but Bill James, the cranky Kansan baseball analyst, was the J.K. Rowling of my sports-nerd youth, and if that’s what he turns his mind to, I’ll follow. And I’m glad I did. Taking the shards of small-town reporting available to them, he and his intrepid daughter, Rachel, pieced together evidence that a century ago an axe murderer rode the nation’s rails and killed hundred or so people from Florida to Washington State. They even name him at the end, which is impressive, but at least as interesting (to them too, I think) is the portrait of small-town life and crime-solving (or not-solving) they paint in passing, including a three-chapter digression on a bizarre con-man detective in Iowa that’s worth the price of the book all by itself.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA