The writer is in pure reportorial style. His sentences are short. His pace is sometimes plodding. He tells the story. Simply. While there's nothing inherently wrong in this, it's almost as if he's 'writing down' to his audience. We do get a full picture of both the crimes and the chase to hunt down the nut case who kills & abuses & steals on his spree. I found it hard to work up much sympathy for him and was frankly relieved that he ends his own life. The best part of the book for me was the fact that the author is able to render dialogue in a believable way and give one some sense of his interviews. I'd term it average because of the lack of interesting crime - but better than average because of careful research.
A good but distrubing book. True crime is worse than TV. Recommended for adults.
From Publishers Weekly
This oblique but absorbing narrative about violence and loss proceeds to a powerful, resonant conclusion. New Yorker writer Wilkinson ( Big Sugar ) artfully incorporates much reporting as he explores, in six subtly written sections , the 1986 murder in an unidentified Indiana town of probation officer Tom Gahl by an "incorrigibly violent" ex-convict, 40-year-old Mike Jackson. He first describes, in great detail, the shooting and Jackson's subsequent rampage as he escaped. He then turns to the widow, Nancy Gahl, and captures the onset of grief. He flashes back to profile Jackson, a "too fragile" boy who became a too angry man. Then he portrays the increasingly frustrating 11-day manhunt for Jackson in the Missouri town of Wright City, which was virtually haunted by the killer's specter. After describing Jackson's suicide as the FBI closed in, Wilkinson returns to limn the growth, over several years, of the Gahls' two young sons and Nancy's life as a widow. He likens her relentless memories to "part of a turning wheel that brought each to the surface for a time, then submerged it."