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Book Review: MURDER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Ellen J. Green

Updated: Mar 23


It only took Howard Unruh twelve minutes to kill thirteen people in 1949. And although his name is not well-known, he has the distinction of being the perpetrator of America's first recorded mass shooting. On a cloudless morning on September 6th, Unruh unleashed terror and panic on an unsuspecting neighborhood n Camden, New Jersey. Why did he do it? Could someone have stopped him? These are all questions that have been asked again and again.

In MURDER IN THE NIEGHBORHOOD, Ellen J. Green documents the events leading up to the first recorded mass shooting in America. The author take an unique approach by telling the story through the eyes of a twelve-year-old survivor named Raymond Havens. This true crime book was well-researched and the background about all involved was amazingly deep.

Despite the atrocity, Green manages to put a human face on someone who, at the time, was considered an inhuman monster. She delves into the circumstances leading up to the killing and its aftermath with delicacy and tact through her masterful writing.

MURDER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is true crime at its best, but may be difficult to get through for some readers. The book offers some interesting insight into the psychology behind Unruh's killing spree, and his motive and descent into violence can disturbing for some. However, this book is truly a page-turner and well worth a read.


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