Parnia Hp/ Staff reporter

Reading The Devil in the White City feels like a bait and switch. 

The Devil in the White City reads like two books in one. One is Chicago at its finest while the other event is Chicago at its worst. Though juxtaposition of the two events is eye-catching, not enough is known about H.H. Holmes. Most what is “known” is rumors and hype. This is in contrast to the well documented accounts of the other side of the story. The drama can feel disconnected at certain points and more focus is the architects’ POV. 

Erik Larson spares no expense to details. He also has a way of bringing pre-20th century Chicago to life. Larson captures even the minutest detail in the book. Expect pages and pages of characters disputing over the tiniest of details of how the fair should be. The boo even has a well- documented appendix and bibliography section that presents all Larson’s sources. 

If Chicago, architecture, and the 1893 would fair interest you, this book is for you. If you want a serial killer drama, expect disappointment. 

3/5. Though I did learn a lot of how significant the 1893 World Fair was in American history, I was expecting more excitement than what I got. The book lures us by the promise of an exciting biography of serial killer H.H. Holmes but lets us down where it counts.