Sunday, May 28, 2017

World, Chase Me Down

Years before the famous Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932, there was a famous kidnapping case in Omaha, Nebraska.  Pat Crowe and an accomplice kidnapped the sixteen year old son of the man at the head of the meat industry in Nebraska, Edward Cudahy, in 1900.  Edward Cudahy, Jr. was returned home unharmed after the payment of the first successful ransom attempt in the United States.

Crowe had worked for Cudahy but been fired.  He attempted to open and run a butcher shop but that had also been forced closed by Cudahy.  After the crime, Crowe was quickly identified and soon became the most wanted man in America.  Harried from city to town to the open spaces, he was never able to stay in one place for long.  Even when he went overseas, the first thing he saw was a wanted poster with his name on it.  During his flight, he robbed banks and trains, at first with his accomplice.  That man was killed out West and after that Crowe traveled alone.

Years later, he walked into a police station and gave himself up.  His trial was a sensation.  His lawyer portrayed Crowe as a modern-day Robin Hood and Cudahy as a man determined to retain his wealth and power by ruthlessly stealing money from his workers and doing everything he could to destroy any competition.  Crowe was set free by a jury that was influenced by this tactic and the massive support Crowe enjoyed with the public.

Andrew Hilleman, in this debut novel, follows the life and crimes of Pat Crowe and his travels throughout the world after his crime.  Crowe was one of the most famous criminals of his time yet almost no one knows about him today.  This is a work of fiction built around the facts of the crime and what is known of Crowe's life and displays a sympathetic portrayal of the man that does gloss over his subsequent life of crime.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction.

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