The Kent State University Press likely will publish a 2010 sequel to it, but if you think you know anything at all about the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, first YOU SIMPLY must read Jim Badal’s 2000 book, In the Wake of the Butcher – Cleveland’s Torso Murders.
I met Jim when my director of photography, Dave Brodowski, and I saw him give a presentation on the case in 2002, which he tag-teamed at Cleveland’s Flats Oxbow Association with Rebecca McFarland. Becky is THE Cleveland Eliot Ness expert, and she & Jim gave a thorough rundown. I looked over at Brody and said, “that’s how we tell this story.”
Jim’s book reads like a Jim Thomsp0n roman noir – did Thompson write any other kind? – and spends no time sensationalizing the Torso Murders, unlike the newspapers of the time; the straight facts are bone-chilling enough. In the Wake of the Butcher, and Becky’s research on Eliot Ness, were the perfect foundations for The Fourteenth Victim.
It’s becoming clear that Ness flew under the radar through a perfect storm of political turbulence to rid Cleveland of the Butcher in secret. For all his trouble, Ness lost his job and much of his reputation, and was plagued by the killer till America’s renowned lawman died an early death.
Why was the Torso Killer banished en secreto? Read Jim’s sequel, Murder Hath No Tongue, and see Storytellers’ documentary, Broken Rosary – The Frank Dolezal Affair, both coming next year (we think).
It’s going to be a bumpy flight.