Hell’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of the Benders, a Serial Killer Family on the American Frontier

Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 9:16 hrs. ISBN 9780593553152. $20. CRIME
This captivating historical true crime story from former bookseller and historian Jonusas features the Benders, America’s first family of serial killers. Appearing to be simple pioneers trying to work the land, the Benders came under investigation for murder when travelers heading west began mysteriously disappearing in 1870s Kansas. Locals and travelers alike were stunned by how a nice, seemingly normal family could lure victims to their deaths and then bury their bodies on the family homestead. Jonusas weaves together the mundane facts of pioneer life with the gruesome details of the murders, which were so horrific that notorious serial killers H. H. Holmes and Belle Gunness earned comparisons to the Bender family.
VERDICT Lee Osorio provides a simple, unbiased narration that contrasts with the horrific nature of the family’s crimes.
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