Author: Ron Franscell (Editor)
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
A 12-year-old boy cowers in his closet while a lunatic killer slaughters his family . . . a nursing student unwittingly opens her home to the serial killer on her front porch . . . an 11-year-old girl drifts alone at sea on a flimsy cork raft for almost four days after a mass murderer kills her vacationing family aboard a chartered yacht . . . a brave firefighter suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of a racist sniper almost nine stories above the ground . . .
And, astonishingly, they all survived.
From Howard Unruh’s 1949 shooting rampage through a quiet New Jersey neighborhood to Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee’s reign of terror in 2002, the corpses piled up and few lived to tell the horror.
Now, award-winning journalist Ron Franscell explores the wounded hearts and minds of the ordinary people these monsters couldn’t kill. His mesmerizing accounts crackle with gritty details that put the reader in the midst of the carnage—and offer a front-row seat on the complex, painful process of surviving the rest of their haunted lives.
In intimate, gripping prose, Franscell takes the reader on a pulse-pounding dash through the murky intersection of pure evil and the potency of the human spirit. This journey into the darkest corners of the American crime-scape is a penetrating work of literary journalism by a writer hailed as one of the most powerful new voices in true crime.
Delivered from Evil was the kind of book that I couldn’t put down once I started it — but I had to. I would read a story or two and then feel this nagging sensation of utter disgust and I would think, “Why on Earth am I reading this?!”. It was much like reading a horror book with the intense creepy factor, pounding heart, and the wanting to know what happened next. Except these horror stories really happened. Many times it was just too intense.
I was really kind of hoping for something more, though. Each story was written the same, yet had random phrases thrown in that seemed out of context for the author. They seemed as if the author/editor was trying a little too hard implementing youth slang. It would have been nice had the stories been actually written by the survivors so the reader could really feel what the survivors were feeling and gauge each personality– especially after the attack and how they are feeling, now, that many years have passed. While Franscell did discuss what happened to the survivors afterwards, I felt that it was such a small portion of the story while it should have been the main focus. I was expecting more about recovery and not as much about the play by play of the attack(s).
I think the word “survived” made me think that it would be more about recovering from tragic events, but it was really about 75% event and 25% about the victims. Though, I do appreciate what this author was attempting to do. So many times when we hear about serial killers we know their names but we quickly forget the names of their victims. Not often do we even hear about victims that have survived such monstrous events so it was nice to hear (even briefly) what happened thereafter and how they are doing today.
If you enjoy true crime books and/or tv then you will most likely find this book incredibly interesting. However, if you are looking for a more psychological/recovery aspect then I would look elsewhere.