The true story of a series of bold killings which took place in a shadowy American ex-pat community in Panama--a tale of greed, political history, and murder.
Release Date: July 12th, 2016
Arc Received By: Henry Holt and Co. via Goodreads Giveaways
Author: Nick Foster
Author: Nick Foster
Should start of my saying that I received an Advanced Reader Copy of The Jolly Roger Social Club from its publisher Henry Holt and Co through Goodreads.com.
True Crime is one of my favorite genres to pick up and read, especially when it's a case I know very a little about. Which was what originally drew me toward The Jolly Roger Social Club. Despite being in college, and even studying Criminology at the time, I have no memory of this case unfolding. No mention in any of my classes or on the news that was always playing in our department common area. So when I was informed I'd won a copy I was excited to jump in.
I have to say I really enjoyed this book, but it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. It's not just the story of "Wild Bill" Cortez and his victims. It's also about the history of Panama, which lead to heavy distrust between the locals and the expats. A rift that would help "Wild Bill" hide his crimes until he "chose the wrong girl".
Nick Foster did an extreme amount of research Jolly Roger, and it really shows throughout the book. This case couldn't have been an easy one to research and fact check on. While the evidence his damning against William Holbert, no one but him really knows what happens. A story despite telling multiple times as changed with every telling, but Nick Foster did a wonderful job of untangling the web to recreate a timeline of the events. And, possibly what happened. He painted a gruesome picture of greed and betrayel, and I found I couldn't pick the book down the farther into I got.
I needed to know how William "Wild Bill" Holber was caught.
Even more he painted the picture of the history of country that would be the stage for these crimes, and once I read that I realized why Holbert was able to get away with his crimes for so long. Panama is beautiful country, but it most definitely has dark side. I have to say outside of the building of the Panama Canal, I know little about the country itself. However, it was also these chapters I had the hardest time with at first.
Out of the blue after the history of Panama just started. I ended one chapter about the Holberts only to now being reading about the history of the country they had escaped to. Needless to say I was beyond confused. Why where we getting this story inside of another story? I have to be honest, this was one of the points I put the book down for a bit. Eventually my interest one out and I picked it back and read on. These sections were just as well written, just an intriguing, and well researched as the rest of the book. But, why were they there?
Turns out the head a point of setting the scene for why it was so easy for these crimes to be committed, and one of the men in the history of this country would play a small role later in "Wild Bill's" life.
All-in-all, The Jolly Roger Social Club was a well written and researched book. I'm thankful to have received an early release of this book, and it has inspired me to do a bit of research on my own into this case. It really is a heartbreaking story with no real reason behind the crimes committed except for greed.
I recommend this book to anyone enjoys the True Crime genre, Criminal Minds, or any sort of crime TV. It's almost a surreal sort of thing that happened in Boca del Toro.
Buy or Burrow: I'd say pick this one up at your local library!