Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.
With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.
Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.
Autopsies showed the victims to have been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and J. Reuben Appelman, had come to believe.
When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit and its environs remained haunted. The killer had, presumably, not been caught.
Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of J. Reuben Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups of evidence, con-men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
J. Reuben Appelman is a screenwriter, author in multiple genres, and two-time State of Idaho Literature Fellow, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. His film industry work includes the feature documentaries, Playground and Jens Pulver | Driven, as well as several produced screenplays. His investigative writing and research, focused on issues of commercial sexual exploitation, child endangerment, and criminality and law enforcement, have earned him an ongoing spot as special lecturer on the issue of Human Trafficking for the Honor’s College at Boise State University. He works as a private investigator.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Give this book a chance! Our book club had the privilege of Skyping with the author. While reading the book, it took some turns that I didn't quite understand how it came into play, but after chatting with the author, it made a lot more sense on where he was coming from and his state of mind while writing this book. Even though I have been a MI resident my whole life, I didn't know about the case. The author does a very good job at unveiling truths and information to shed new light on this unsolved mystery. Looking forward to the docuseries and his upcoming podcast!
Again, I made it to page 15 before deciding I don't want this in my head. A book that should be about 4 child killings in the 1970s should exclude a grown man's kink with pain. As he begins to describe this feelings about self - harm, after describing the way the four children were killed and found it began to feel a bit like porn. I almost feel as if I need brain bleach.
This is a true crime story about four children who were abducted and murdered in Detroit in the 70’s. This book is meticulously written and the author has certainly done his research. Although a chilling story, I enjoyed reading about the evidence and suspects and was disappointed that this case still hasn’t been resolved. Than being said, it took me a long time before I became used to the writers style. Because the writer mixes in a lot of imagery and metaphoric inuendos, it was confusing at first and I found the writing to be a bit obtuse. I found the case fascinating but was distracted by the intermittent addition of the authors tragic life story a little distracting. Self-described as a trip down the rabbit hole, I did feel like the author was in a slow spiral to a very dark place reminiscent of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This is a memoir and a deep look into the murders and possible suspects but I feel like the author was writing two separate books and they shouldn’t have been combined. I enjoyed reading about the criminal investigation but reading about the authors childhood home-life, his almost abduction, his failed marriage, his unfortunate friendships, etc., was very depressing and should have been edited out in my opinion. I received a complementary ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.