The Kill Jar The Kill Jar

The Kill Jar

Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit's Most Notorious Serial Killer

    • 4.0 • 26 Ratings
    • $13.99
    • $13.99

Publisher Description

Now the subject of the Discovery+ series Children of the Snow, a cold case murder investigation is cracked open by “a powerful, confident voice in the new true crime memoir genre” (James Renner, author of True Crime Addict).

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was only six years old when the murders began and even evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.

Autopsies showed that the victims had been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and Appelman, had come to believe. When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit remained haunted.

Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups, con men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case. “Always deft, often sublime, Appelman uses his investigation to draw us into his personal journey through darkness, to light and life” (Chip Johannessen, producer of Dexter).

August 14
Gallery Books
Simon & Schuster Digital Sales LLC

Customer Reviews

Pegskidj ,

The Killing Jar

Head spinning. A satisfying (his self conflicts) yet unsatisfying (the murders) read. Kept me looking back at my own life which I’ve done now for 35 years ; since my sobriety. JK

Jmknyc1981 ,

The best book on this case to date.

I grew up in southeast Michigan so this case has always haunted me. I’ve always been completely astonished at the fact this case get so little attention, most people have never heard of it. Appelman does a great job summarizing the ‘facts’ of the case as they were presented at the time, contrasting them with the facts we know now, and helping the reader draw conclusions.

Appelman also gives the most thorough introduction yet, to the extended cast of characters involved in this crime, many of them dead of suspicious suicides, some flung to the far corners of the earth in hiding, others spending their rest of their natural lives in prison.

Something terrible happened in Michigan in the 1970’s. Children were kidnapped, held captive for weeks, and then murdered. Their bodies were dumped in public places. At the same time, in sleepy suburban Detroit suburbs, upstanding citizens, members of the clergy, law enforcement, and business leaders, started falling victim to outlandish suicides, random and exceptionally violent murders, or they packed up and headed overseas for countries without extradition treaties with the United States.

Truly a fascinating story and this is the most comprehensive collection of information ever made public to date.

mr38bob ,

Straight To The Point

I really appreciate how the author keeps you connected to the story by weaving parts of his own life into it and also getting straight to the point around parts of the book that could drag on for pages. While some parts were difficult to digest (the horror of what these kids went through), he does a good job of balancing the detail of these crimes between too little and too much.

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