Thursday, August 14, 2014

Recommended Read: Poisoned by Steve Shukis

Chicago PoisonerChicago Poisoner by Steve Shukis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you read a biographical tale, you run the risk of being bored out of your mind by the various facts and figures and numerous page notes. Not so with this amazing read about a man who was accused of poisoning almost an entire family!

I loved that in the beginning, you were receiving certain information that made it seem probable and despicable, but by the middle and end you found yourself doubting everything!

There were twists and turns, incredible characters, and a glimpse at a period of time in Chicago where corruption held its place in society.

Even if you don't usually read non-fiction, you should definitely check this one out!

View all my reviews


  1. Firstly, I must give you a little back ground on myself and my reason for this review of the book “Posined “ by Steve Shukis.
    I am the great grandson of Herman Billik, the main character in this book. My mother was the daughter of Herman Billik Jr.. Up until four years ago, my branch of this family knew nothing about our mothers paternal side of the family history. Once I retired, six years ago, I started doing research of our family tree. Information from family members was never passed on and therefore was non-existent. In my searches, the name Herman Billik came up but after seeing that he was labeled a serial killer I ignored the information (that couldn't happen in my family), I came to a dead end and gave up my search. A few years later I resumed the search and came up the with the same results but because of information more readily available on the internet I was able to establish that indeed Herman Billik, the serial killer was my great grandfather. I found hundreds of newspaper stories about Herman and his family covering eleven years from 1906 to 1917, all of which basically proclaimed, at that time, that Herman Billik as a one of the worst serial killers in the history of this country. This new information left me with many more questions and so few answers.
    All things changed in April of this year. While performing another family search, I came across an announcement for a September release of a new book titled “Posioned” by Steve Shukis. For me this was “Utopia”, this could be every researcher's dream to have someone write a book about their ancestors.
    The books author, Steve Shukis, was able to convey a side of this story that the newspapers from that period did not tell. I have read over a hundred articles, from all over the world that only told the parts of the story that would sell their newspapers and that story was that Herman Billik was a serial killer and a monster of the worst kind. The author tells a side of this story that was not told in newspapers but through actual court documents, proceedings and inquiry's. He told of the corrupt Chicago police and legal systems and of the people whom were on a crusade to save Herman Billik. He took me to the Bohemian community in Chicago where they lived, the streets where they walked, the places where they worked, the homes they lived in and the Chicago court system and the jails they went through. He was able to place me there, at those times to feel the feeling that my family must have felt.

    Herman Billik was no Angel but was he a serial killer? I think not!!

    The descendents of Herman Billik thanks Steve Shukis for dedication to the truth and writing this book, a story that should have been told many years ago.

  2. Wow thank you for stopping by and sharing your insight! I'm truly flattered that a family member found my little blog and shared such an interesting perspective. :) It's always amazing when you find out things from your ancestry.