A terrible litany of crimes. Both Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole committed some absolutely terrible crimes, murder, mutilation, rape, necrophilia all part and parcel of a day's work for both men. From birth Henry Lee Lucas suffered the the most horrendous childhood that I have ever read about. Beaten and locked in the chicken coop from the age of 18 months he suffered terrible injuries inflicted by the one person who should have protected him, his mother, indeed one such beating landed him in hospital for a few weeks. How he managed to survive to adulthood will never be known and perhaps it's a shame he did. Henry wasn't stupid by any means and perhaps as a result of his mother's awful physical and mental abuse he learnt how to charm and manipulate others to such a degree that whilst in jail he was able to access police and forensic reports relating to murders that enabled him to learn how to murder and remove all evidence thereby evading suspicion and capture. He had already learnt how to capture small animals to satisfy his sexual needs and then dispose of them. His and his family's reputation were widely known round and about his home town area. To his credit, Henry did try and get his life back on the straight and narrow and was doing reasonably well that is, until his mother showed up and proceeded to mete out a terrible beating sufficient to knock him out and then continued the beating when he came too at which point Henry killed her. Whether intentionally or not, she was still dead and in some ways I can't help feeling that it was about time she answered for her own crimes not only against Henry but all those in her family.
Ottis Toole unfortunately was another, born with low intelligence to a mother unable to control him and a father who abandoned him. Ottis became a pawn for his grandmother's devil cult. He slept in abandoned houses and then liked to burn them down. He was homosexual in the days when that earned you a severe beating from other males and the police. He dressed in women's clothes and survived by prostituting himself that is until he met Henry. Ottis was a quick learner and Henry was a good teacher and together they ranged across the country robbing, raping and murdering and although Henry preferred women if none were available Ottis would do.
Once caught however, by confessing they both found the attention they had always craved. The Texas Rangers, desperate to clear up a large backlog of unsolved murders were only too happy to pin them on Henry and or Ottis and they neither checked either man's story or did any actual investigations to verify their claims. In fact they actively coached them by allowing them to read the police and forensic reports and then gleefully take down a confession. In short the Police acted like the Keystone cops and it was all brought undone by a journalist who undertook to do the work the police should have done.
In Henry Lee Lucas's defence I'm inclined to say that his mother made him what he became. Ottis I think would have always struggled to make it in the real world and had he not met Henry Lee Lucas he would have been caught much, much earlier. Once again Ryan Green has conducted extensive research into both men's lives and especially that of Henry Lee Lucas. Ryan's writing is clear and concise providing in depth evaluations of both men's childhood and the lives they went on to lead. As a member of this Authors ARC circle I received an advance copy of the book and this is my honest opinion on its contents.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This book grabbed my attention right from the start. Written in turn from the characters' point of view and from a subjective point of view, this book became more and more compelling, the further that I read. I really appreciated the interesting detail with which this book was written.
The author provides a keen insight into what makes a killer. Both Henry and Ottis have each had abusive and troubled childhoods. But when they meet up and connect, a strong bond is forged, which cannot be broken. It is this bond which leads to their killing sprees. The descriptions of the rapes, bashings, and murders that these two men commit together and apart, are quite graphic, horrifying yet realistic.
Yet Henry and Ottis prove to be all too human.
Once they are caught and jailed, the tale does not end there. I suggest you read on to find out more.
I thoroughly recommend this book for all lovers of true crime. Lovers of crime fiction will also find this book thrilling.