The Devil in the White City is two stories expertly weaved together. The first story is the tale of the Devil - H.H. Holmes, a con artist and one of America’s first serial killers. Holmes had quite the twisted story - insurance fraud, unethical medical experiments, bigamy, and murder are just a short list of the nefarious things that later made him infamous. The second revolves around the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
2018 has come and gone and I look back and see that I read 20 books over the past year! I don’t typically read at that clip, so don’t expect that to continue in the coming years. I think the high number is due to high quality. Most years I put down more books than I finish. 2018 was different. I read some really, really good books this year! Here’s my top 5.
In The Consuming Fire, Scalzi builds on a fun, fast, political story of an empire nearing ruin. If you haven’t, I recommend reading The Collapsing Empire first. Not only does this story pick up just moments after the first book but I feel that neither of these work well as stand-alone novels. These are stories that are working towards something much bigger, which is how I feel more series should be written.
I’ll be honest, if I didn’t know the broad strokes of this story before reading this book, I’d think it was purely fiction. The way Bilton writes this, it reads like he was right there documenting everything as it happened. American Kingpin is one of very few books that I absolutely could not put down. While I find the subject matter interesting, the way Bilton unfolds this story is the most amazing part.
Airframe has non-stop action and intrigue from the beginning. I could not put this book down until it was over. Crichton does a great job of laying out the airline industry - manufacturers, operators, FAA, and everything in between - in a way that is awfully close to reality. I’ve worked in the airline industry for 6+ years so there could be a bit of bias creeping in when I say even the “data dumps” were interesting, but those few times are the only places where this story could be considering anything less than break-neck.