Rampage is my latest short story, that is part five of a six part series from true crime author Harold Schechter.
A heinous history of America. Exploring the dark heart of US history, true-crime master Harold Schechter reveals six sensational but nearly forgotten acts of carnage and bloodlust that shocked the nation. From a diabolical Kansas family down the road from Laura Ingalls Wilder to an Elvis-inspired “rebel” to the country’s first mass shooter, these chilling criminals dominated the headlines—and nightmares—of their day.
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Have you read Rampage? Come on in and let me tell you about it!
In 1949, things like this just didn’t happen: A quiet New Jersey resident took a morning walk with a 9 mm Luger pistol. In twelve minutes he murdered thirteen neighbors…and then went back to bed.
Howard Unruh went from obscurity to infamy overnight. Even after his obsessive diaries were discovered—a catalogue of simmering rage, petty grievances, and sexual repression—the anomalous crime seemed incomprehensible. Succeeding decades would confirm that Unruh’s “Walk of Death” was just the beginning. The prototype for the modern mass murderer, he would usher in a new age of violence in America.
Rampage is part of Bloodlands, a chilling collection of short page-turning historical narratives from bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter. Spanning a century in our nation’s murderous past, Schechter resurrects nearly forgotten tales of madmen and thrill-killers that dominated the most sensational headlines of their day.
Thoughts on Rampage
If you’ve followed me through this series, then you know I have read each of these stories before bed this week. I love the length, because it is long enough for me to relax and unwind from the day, but short enough that I’m not playing the “one more chapter” game and staying up way past my bedtime.
I will forever admire people who are disciplined enough to stick to reading for a chapter or a set amount of time before stopping. That isn’t me, and I happily admit it. So stories like this before bedtime prevent me from staying up too late, or trying to stop reading when I want to finish the story.
Rampage really struck a nerve with me, because mass shootings have become the normal in my generation. I lived through a school shooting in my town, one in a theater here, and another school shooting about an hour away. Plus watching all of the others around the country as I grew up. I know it certainly changed how I approached going to school back then, and was probably the beginning of my prepping journey, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I have also read other true and similar stories to Rampage. I know it has happened in a really remote area of Alaska and featured on a true crime show as well.
So being able to sit down and read about something like this happening in 1949 was certainly interesting. That kind of thing was unheard of in those days. I can only imagine the reaction people had to an event like this in that time. These days it seems that we are often desensitized to that level of violence. I’m always fascinated to look back and see where something started and how it has evolved over time, even horrific and tragic things like a mass shooting.
Final Thoughts on Rampage
This is a series where the more I read, the more I have enjoyed it, and highly recommend it for all true crime fans, and even those looking for a good quality short read.
Harold Schechter has a talent for drawing the reader in, and delivering the story in an easy to read, unbiased, almost clinical way. His writing style makes for a really enjoyable reading experience.
Have you read Rampage or any other writing from author Harold Schechter? Are you a fan of true crime stories? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author
Harold Schechter is an American true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where his PhD director was Leslie Fiedler. He is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.
Schechter is married to poet Kimiko Hahn. He has two daughters from a previous marriage: the writer Lauren Oliver and professor of philosophy Elizabeth Schechter. His newest book, The Mad Sculptor, (about a sensational triple murder at Beekman Place in New York City in 1937) was published in February 2014.
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More From Harold Schechter
Did you enjoy my review of Rampage? Need more from Harold Schechter? Here are my favorites!
Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie
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