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The Love Pirate and the Bandit's Son: Murder, Sin, and Scandal in the Shadow of Jesse James

Overview

Sparks flew when gold digger Dr. Zeo Zoe Wilkins and Jesse James, Jr.—the son of America’s most legendary outlaw—crossed paths. The result: a tale of sex, deceit, money, and murder, grippingly told by noted true-crime blogger Laura James.

The beautiful Wilkins—a scheming and oft-married osteopath—was no shrinking violet; she married and probably buried five husbands (or six, according to some reports), some decades older, and all much wealthier, than she. But she was no match ...

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Overview

Sparks flew when gold digger Dr. Zeo Zoe Wilkins and Jesse James, Jr.—the son of America’s most legendary outlaw—crossed paths. The result: a tale of sex, deceit, money, and murder, grippingly told by noted true-crime blogger Laura James.

The beautiful Wilkins—a scheming and oft-married osteopath—was no shrinking violet; she married and probably buried five husbands (or six, according to some reports), some decades older, and all much wealthier, than she. But she was no match for the nefarious Jesse Jr., whom the author argues stabbed Zeo to death in her Kansas City home in 1924. (The murder was never officially solved.) Laura James maps out the childhood, career, and marital machinations of this ravishing “love pirate” before charting the promising but invariably disappointing life of the bandit’s only son. In the book’s third section, the two indelible characters collide, with lethal consequences for Wilkins.

Ably mixing historical conjecture with forensic fact, Laura James conducts a blow-by-blow reconstruction of their tumultuous relationship, including evidence that she believes convicts Jesse James, Jr.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"This is a remarkable, rich, almost cinematically compelling story of greed. James does an excellent job...A top-flight true-crime story."--Booklist (starred review) 
 

“Laura James knows as much about historical true crime as anyone living. Her auspicious debut is a terrific treat for lovers of American true crime.” --Harold Schechter, editor of True Crime: An American Anthology

“A mesmerizing book, brilliantly researched and compellingly written, The Love Pirate is classic American crime: a toxic brew of love, lies, mystery and murder. Author Laura James serves it up with smarts and panache. I loved every word of it.”--Gregg Olsen, New York Times best-selling author of Starvation Heights

“A ruthless mixture of sex and greed ending inevitably in bloody violence, told in an engaging and intelligent narrative style. Compelling and fascinating, The Love Pirate combines astute historical speculation with contemporary forensics in an entertaining and riveting manner.” --Paula Uruburu, author of American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White—The Birth of the “It” Girl and the Crime of the Century

“Covering one of the most fascinating yet little-known murders of the Jazz Age, James makes a convincing case that the killer was the son of Jesse James. The Love Pirate is researched with a true historian’s eye for rich detail and is enlivened with flashes of dry, dark humor.”--Keven McQueen, author of Cruelly Murdered and Murder in Old Kentucky

 

“[A]n enormously riveting story,told with a bracing, fast-paced and biting narrative. The dramatic and ultimately tragic lives of these two extraordinary, flawed individuals rivals those of any fictional characters.” --Kathleen A. Cairns, author of The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402760693
  • Publisher: Union Square Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,389,243
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2009

    love piracy

    This is one of the most fascinating accounts of crime and quasi crime in turn of the century America that i have evr read.
    The main character "Dr.' Z.Z. wilkins is incredible- and it is incredible to think that she was a real person. She had an almost instinctive way of beguiling men to do the most insane things and make herself wealthy along the way.
    Fascinating read.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction!

    Truth is stranger than fiction, and never is this made so clear as it is in Laura James' absorbing new true crime book THE LOVE PIRATE AND THE BANDIT'S SON. The "Love Pirate" in question was scheming seductress Zeo Zoe Wilkins. She married often and toyed with the affections of many more men, callously forcing her way into the echelons of society in early twentieth century America. The "Bandit's Son" is Jesse James. Jr. Yeah, that one. But this Jesse James became a criminal defense attorney and joined forces with the winsome but destructive Zeo in plot after plot. At the end of it, she was ruthlessly murdered. But whodunit? Laura James thinks she knows, and with the intricate retelling of this lost story, she reveals clue by clue who the murderer might be. If this story weren't for real it would make a great novel! Kudos to Laura James for bringing this fascinating tale into the limelight where it belongs.

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    True Crime Novel as Well Researched as It is Fascinating

    Attorney Laura James has written a true-crime novel about characters who need no fictional embroidery to make them larger-than-life.

    In a no-nonsense, fast-paced style, "The Love Pirate" tells the story of a hard-living, hard-drinking beauty who rose from a childhood marked by poverty, deprivation and shame to cut a swath through the hearts, and especially the pocketbooks, of more than one man. To think I'm a native Oklahoman, yet have never before heard of Zeo Zoe, though my locale was one of the places the "Love Pirate" ravaged during the Jazz Age, more commonly known in these parts as oil boom days, when black gold fueled a new version of the Wild West.

    And who better to match Zeo's black heart than a man who was scarred as a child by witnessing the assassination of his father, the west's most famous outlaw, Jesse James?

    We may never know all the crimes of which Zeo was guilty. The only thing for sure is that she took her secrets to the grave the night she met a death as shocking as it was brutal. Who killed her? Who knows for sure? But Ms. James lays out more than enough facts for us to judge for ourselves.

    I recommend "The Love Pirate and The Bandit's Son" to mystery lovers and especially to the legion of true crime fans. It doesn't disappoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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