(Orange, Texas)

January 27, 2013

Book review: The Knackerman

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — A knacker is a person in the trade of rendering animals that have died on farms or are unfit for human consumption, such as horses that can no longer work, according to This leads to the slang expression "knackered" meaning very tired, or "ready for the knacker’s yard", where old horses are slaughtered and the by-products are sent for rendering. A knacker's yard or knackery is different from a slaughterhouse, where animals are slaughtered for human consumption.

‘The Knackerman: A tale of the Whitechapel Ripper’ is a novel based on one of the suspects, James Maybrick, in the Jack the Ripper case written by H.R. Underwood of Texas, adds an interesting twist to the events..

The book was the result of ten years of research which is evident as one reads.

The case was closed by Scotland Yard in 1892 without the killer being named. Over the years many persons have been pondered as suspects in research papers, television shows and movies.

One is transported through time into the mind of a cold-blooded killer.

Meticulous planning leading up to the slaughter of the women ‘Jack’ selected is done in such a way as one is able to see the slow downward spiral decline of the man as he sinks deeper into the depths into the mind of a serial killer.

Reasons are given and explained as possible explanations for the sudden start and abrupt end to the murderous spree. The account is given in minute details of the suspects surroundings leading one to understand the carefulness of the killers planning in order to evade capture.

While one expects the scenes of the crimes unfold, it is interesting to get a glimpse into the possible day-to-day life of the man. The possibility of a person who commits such horrific crimes, having a personal life with family and friends, escapes ones mind until reading this book.

The book is a work of fiction that will fascinate those with an interest in the case.

The Knackerman, A Tale of the Whitechapel Ripper, 385 pages, was released Sept. 1, 2012 by Trafford Publishing.