Pennsylvania, Cleveland torso murders analyzed

In his 2001 book In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders, James Jessen Badal examines the case of the serial killer who scattered body parts through the Cleveland area called Kingsbury Run. His 2010 followup, Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher, focused on the only man ever arrested for the crimes, a man who almost certainly was innocent and who was probably murdered in his jail cell.

Now, Badal takes on a lesser-known third component of the case: In Hell’s Wasteland: The Pennsylvania Torso Murders, he tells of a series of murders in the New Castle, Pa., area that are both disturbingly similar and confusingly different from the Cleveland crimes.

A group of three bodies found in October 1925 in a remote area so creepy that it was called “Murder Swamp” was attributed by some to be the result of mob wars between local bootleggers, but five decapitated corpses found in or near railroad boxcars between 1936 and 1940 — three in a single day — fueled talk that the Cleveland and Pennsylvania Butchers were one and the same; a possibility that, as Badal says, “defies all logic.”

With police reports of the era gone, Badal relies on contemporary newspaper accounts for his information, finding that Eliot Ness and the Cleveland police, though they were never able to solve the mystery, were much more advanced than the scattered jurisdictions in Pennsylvania. The book contains an intricate modern analysis of the victims.

Hell’s Wasteland (164 pages, softcover) costs $19 from Black Squirrel Books.

Barberton author delivers in Western

You can tell the good guys from the bad guys in The Jerrigo Way, another fine Western by Michael Senuta of Barberton.

The exciting story takes place in an unspecified frontier state, where 10-year-old Dusty Jerrigo has been visiting his widowed Aunt Molly. He’s on his way home to his family, accompanied by friendly young Dr. Grant Farraday, when the stagecoach is attacked by bandits who kill the driver and kidnap the two passengers, forcing them to join other captives working in a clandestine gold mine.

But Dusty’s father is a former U.S. Marshal, and his brothers are marksmen who won’t give up in their pursuit, despite a crooked sheriff and plenty of other trouble along the way.

The Jerrigo Way (154 pages, softcover) costs $14.95 from Amazon Encore. Senuta’s other books include The Vengeance Brand and Hazard, a detective novel.

Akron hairdresser’s story told

“Mr. Guido” Cornacchione has been styling hair in the Akron area for decades, and now, at 74, he wants to share his love. David Kettlewell of Akron is the author of Guido’s Love: Ways of Loving & Raising a Family That Work!, which starts as a biography and then branches out.

The biography part consists of warm anecdotes of Guido’s childhood on a farm in Fossalto, Italy, and his brief job as a cook in Brighton, England, before coming to America in 1963. Learning English with the help of the International Institute (where he also met his future wife, Vincenza), he studied to be a hairdresser.

The narrative ends with the couple’s engagement, but much more information is supplied in sections called “Life Lessons” and “La Famiglia,” in which Guido counsels on thrift, simplicity and honesty. Other family members contribute testimony of their respect and appreciation, telling treasured stories.

After the family photos, Guido throws in some hair-care tips and Italian recipes for free. Guido’s Love (316 pages, softcover) costs $18.95 from online retailers.

Events

Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 14600 State Road) — James Toman, author of Vintage Cleveland, presents a photo retrospective and talks about the city’s history, 7 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. Registration required; call 440-237-3800.

Port of Cleveland (101 Erieside Ave. Cleveland) — Bob Adamov, author of Sandustee and six previous novels in the Emerson Moore adventure series, will sign his books from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the Cleveland Tall Ships Festival. Admission charged to the festival.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers (198 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake) — Lauren Miller signs her debut teen novel Parallel, about a girl who finds herself sliding between two different versions of her life, 2 p.m. Friday.

Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — G.T. Anders signs his science fiction novel A Chair Between the Rails, Book I in an announced trilogy (Book II, The Tower of Babel, has already been released), 7 p.m. Friday.

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights) — Author Alley, about 50 authors who will sign from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday in the alley behind the store. See www.loganberrybooks.com/authoralley-2013.html.

— Barbara McIntyre

Special to the Beacon Journal

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com.