True crime from the roaring 20s based on the murder of four men involved in a brazen daylight bank robbery in Colorado.
The case hinges on a single fingerprint found on a murdered doctor
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Four bandits, gunplay, two murders, a car chase, and a shoot out with police - and that is just the first chapter! This book is filled with everything that Hollywood dreams of for blockbuster movies - good vs. bad, drama, murder, and a thrilling cross-country chase. The author, N.T. Betz, expertly tells the story of the Fleagle Gang, not only through his own words, but also through the words of the reporters, posse members, police, and others who experienced this crime spree. Mr. Betz's research is in-depth and complete. He even included the influences the Fleagles had on culture (i.e. Evil-Eye Fleegle and the Beagle Boys). In addition to the fascinating look into the actions of four criminals and the courts of the late 1920's, this story marks several landmarks in forensics and law enforcement techniques - including the first time a single fingerprint was used to identify an individual and the first transportation of a suspect by airplane. A must read for history and true crime buffs alike!
Reviewer: Rick 'Mad Dog' Mattix (Iowa) Jake and Ralph Fleagle and their gang were among the most successful outlaws of the 1920s, in terms of both profit and evading identification, until a bloody bank robbery in 1928 and a telltale fingerprint that unmasked them. In 1930, Jake Fleagle rivaled Fred 'Killer' Burke as America's most wanted fugitive and rewards for his capture far exceeded those offered later for John Dillinger, today regarded as the premier bandit of the Depression era. Largely forgotten today, the crime put Lamar, Colorado and Garden City, Kansas on the map and rocketed Jake Fleagle into the national headlines. Slight vestiges of his immortality remain still in the 'Evil Eye Fleegle' character created by Al Capp and the treasure hunters seeking Jake's alleged hoard of buried bank loot in the vicinity of Branson and Hollister, Missouri. The massive coverage given here to all aspects of the Lamar bank job, the investigation, and the tracking down of the killer gang may be a bit overwhelming to the casual reader but this carefully researched account is an essential for crime historians.
Reviewer: M. Koch 'Mike' (Oklahoma) - Mr. Betz tells the story of the Fleagle gang in a creative writing style, with the use of various reporters of the time period, which made the book very readable and flow well. Betz also goes into the various law enforecment techniques of the time period and various changes in forensic science used to solve crimes and prosecute criminals. This is one book to read if you like the gangsters period of the 1920s. I higly recommend it. Mike Koch, Author of 'The Kimes Gang.'