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The Man with the Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders [Paperback]

Jack Olsen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (19 Dec 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743212835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743212830
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 550,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN HIS CANARY-YELLOW HOUSE on shady Twenty-seventh Street in The Heights, a worn-out section of Houston, Fred Hilligiest got up long before the sun. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are a fool to miss out on this! 20 Feb 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been looking for this book for a few years and was over the moon to find it once again available. I was even more over the moon to find it one of the best crime books I have ever read. It is everything you want from a true crime book. It is so beautifully written you feel as if you are in Texas. Such indepth and detailed descriptions of the town, the people, the police and attitudes takes you there (but absolutely DO NOT bore you). There is not an ounce of pulp fiction about this book and the crimes are mentioned with respect and sympathy to ALL the victims. There is sufficient information on the perpetrators backgrounds without being biased, leaving you to form your own opinion. All in all a wonderfully formatted and written piece on possibly the most heinous yet ignored crimes of the last century. Don't hesitate any more. Stop reading this right now and order that book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed 3 May 2010
The style of this book is incredibly grating and very americanised. The subject matter is very interesting although disturbing.
It tells the story of the Houston Mass Murders beginning with the disappearance of each boy and the events unfold. Jack Olsen's writing style annoyed me personally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book 5 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was brilliant, it told the story from the victims, their families, the neighbourhood and the perpetrators.It was a well written book and the words flowed easily. I read it in two days. I have read something on this case before but not to this extent. I really liked the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Olsen - The Man with the Candy 3 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been trying for a very long time to get a book with an account of the Dean Corll murders. I love Jack Olsen's way of writing. I read the book in a day - could not put it down.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written page-turner about one of America's most evil murderers 23 Feb 2006
By Get What We Give - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jack Olsen has crafted a well-written non-fiction book about the heart rending loss of almost 30 pre-teen and teen-aged boys from one of Houston's suburbs and their subsequent torture and murder at the hands of one of America's most evil human monsters.

The book was written about the time of the murders: in the 1970's. This fact makes it all the more engaging since the reader is given a unique view of what Houston was like at the time of the murders: 1971 through 1974.

So many true crime books of this nature seem to be thrown together in a very hasty manner in an effort to cash in on the interest that occurs at the time of and just after such serial killers operate. They tell us just the facts that can be gleaned from news sources and court documents. The books are cold and the reader never really relates to the very real human loss that occured. Mr. Olsen's book is not that type of book.

We get a bit of history on not only Houston but the suburb where the murderers - Dean Corll and Elmer Wayne Henley - procured just about all of their victims. Most true crime writers don't really interview families of victims and create a "real" book. Olsen has done this.

Reading about a murderer's motis operandi and reading about the horrors of murders themselves is something that just about all the hack true crime writers give us. Olsen's presentation is different - more like Capote's with In Cold Blood. He makes the crimes real and personal because he introduces us to each of the boys' families and loved ones. We learn about the boys as real people, not just names and victim numbers.

This isn't a book about a murderer and his protege as it could have been. This is a book about the loss of life delivered unto a decent hard-working community just outside of Houston. As many of the families of the victims of Dean Corll and Elmer Wayne Henley have said over the years - Corll and Henley are remembered but their victims have been forgotten. Olsen makes up for this disparity.

Certainly you get the gory details, but since you've first learned about the victims and their unique lives, you feel more connected to them.

If I had one complaint, it would be that there is not one picture of the boys who were murdered (the cover has three, but they are unidentified). There isn't a need for post mortem photos or even pictures of the murderers, but it would be more emotionally engaging had there been pictures of the boys themselves. However, due to the finances of the families of some of the boys, it is entirely possible that there simply were no photos of the boys as they looked at the time of their death.

Although one of the most heinous of serial killings to ever take place in the U.S., as with most things, time allows people to forget...These boys should not be forgotten...Read this book and remember them.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE OF THE CANDY MAN 20 Feb 2002
By BeatleBangs1964 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dean Corll, a gay rapist and predator was responsible for the deaths of between 20-30 boys in the Houston area (a Houston neighborhood called "The Heights" was his major hunting grounds) during the early 1970s.
Corll, a worker in a candy factory used candy and promises of fishing trips to lure adolescent boys into his shop. Once he gained access to the boys, he chained them to a piece of plywood and subjected them to sundry atrocities before killing them. He prided himself on being a traveling mortician; he buried most of the boys in a shed nowhere near his property. Others were buried in secluded spots.
Corll's sick, twisted career is believed to have started in 1970 with the disappearance and subsequent deaths of Jerry and Donald Waldrup. Between 1970-1973 some 25 boys were discovered to have been killed by Corll. Two young men, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. and David Brooks were used to procure the boys for Corll. The depraved candy man even bought David a car for his efforts.
Matters came to a head when Henley allegedly shot Corll to death during the summer of 1973. He claimed he shot the man in self defense. He and Brooks are currently serving time for their involvement with the candy man.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Tedious 8 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jack Olsen is an experienced writer, and this book reflects it, however it is not nearly as well done as many I have read, including a few of his. He offers exhaustive research into the Houston area and Police Force, far more than necessary to set the stage. Extremely distracting was his need to convey dialect by spelling words phonectically as pronounced by the average Houstoner instead of simply using a few idioms and phrasing to make the dialogue realistic. After awhile, it became painful to wade through any lenthy conversation. I also found the book difficult to follow, lacking continuity and direction.
On the other hand, the subject matter is quite astounding and he has researched it well. For that reason, I would recommend it to those who would not be terribly put off by the problems I've described. He is a good writer, I just think he could have done better.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but..................... 12 Sep 2003
By JMB - Published on Amazon.com
This is probably the most accurate version of the Dean Corll story I've ever read, only I think the author made a mistake by not including pictures. If there were some crime-scene photos and pictures of the killers and victims, the book would have been 100% better. The Dean Corll case is one of the scariest, most horrible cases of serial murder ever purpetrated and I find it amazing that, with all the forensic/murder shows on TV these days, NOBODY has ever devoted one program covering the Dean Corll/Wayne Henly case.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit thin for Olsen, but a good read. 9 Aug 2005
By rangerfield - Published on Amazon.com
The Dean Corll case was so horrific that entities as diverse as the Vatican and the Soviet Union felt compelled to comment on it. Corll was a Houston based candy maker who, along with a pair of teenage accomplises murdered nearly 30 boys (and probably many more) in a depressed Houston neighborhood known, ironically, as the Heights. Olsen makes it clear that Corll operated as long as he did due to a mixture of cultural breakdown, official indifference/incompotence, and the foolish behavior of the teens and boys themselves. Not as epic in length as Olsen's best books, but many of his later themes are prevalent here: the relentless search for missing children by pained parents who, sometimes, drift off into a fantasy world in which they avoid the awful truth; the economic misery and hardship that breeds criminals and victims, and the toll that a psychopath takes from those around him, his victims and their families, and those close to him. Yes, like other reviewers have pointed out, the Texas drawl gets tiring ("hail fire" for "hell fire" and so one), but it is hardly a fatal flaw. If nothing else it is a book that harkens back to when a "true crime" book wasn't a poorly writen and researched hack job by a journalism school drop out.
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