Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Meet the author of Poisoned. Steve Shukis tells the fascinating story of Herman Billik, a mysterious Bohemian fortune teller accused (among other crimes) of slowly poisoning an entire family—a couple and their four children—with arsenic. Billik is still remembered after over a century as one of the most heartless serial killers of all time, but a closer look at his story reveals convincing evidence that the Chicago Police force arrested the wrong man and as many as nine murders remain unsolved.
Author Steve Shukis holds nothing back, detailing the horrific murders themselves and the events that followed Billik’s sentencing: last-second reprieves, legal battles carried to the Supreme Court, frenzied public rallies, and an admission that several key witnesses lied under oath. This murder case skewed political campaigns and even featured an eventual showdown between two central characters over who would be the Governor of Illinois. Poisoned is both a fascinating narrative and a serious research work that provides historical and political context, a perfect fit for students of Chicago, fans of true crime stories, and anyone who loves a good mystery.
Steve Shukis is a sixth-generation native of Chicago and a lifelong student of the city’s history, politics, and crime. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has worked on over a dozen political campaigns—for fifteen years he also worked for the city conducting legal research and training city inspectors. His interest in genealogical research led him to look deeper into Herman Billik’s story after he discovered it by chance.
Signing and reception to follow a brief talk.