All That Is Wicked: A Gilded-Age Story of Murder and the Race To Decode the Criminal Mind

Books on Tape. Oct. 2022. 9:01 hrs. ISBN 9780593630198. $76. CRIME
Edward Rulloff was thought by many to be a genius. A jack-of-all-trades (language, law, medicine), he was intent on being the master of one—murder. True-crime writer Dawson (American Sherlock) focuses her extensive investigative skills on the serial murderer who evaded and exasperated Gilded Age America. Rulloff’s supposedly immense intellect was impossible for many to reconcile with his criminal tendencies, and the psychopath was able to beguile politicians, the press, and even the police. Narrated by the author, the audiobook’s straightforward scholarly delivery lacks the scintillating air of many true-crime tomes. Dawson’s narrative delves into multiple timelines and cites information from innumerable experts and witnesses. Combined with the even tone and expeditious pace, the profuse detail yields a listening experience that is more academic than engrossing, which might limit this audiobook’s appeal.
VERDICT This audio is for listeners seeking a candid and complex historical biography that is alarming and alluring, though the depth may be daunting to the casual true-crime crowd. Recommended for fans of Erik Larson and Dean Jobb.
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