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Harold Schechter, who delivers "must reading for true crime buffs" (Ann Rule), unravels one of the most gruesome and historically significant cases of American serial murder in Bestial. Violent crime was on the rise in the Jazz Age, and gangland carnage made flashy headlines. But few could conceive of who -- or what -- orchestrated the acts of barbaric murder and unimaginable defilement that commenced in San Francisco in the winter of 1926. The savagery of Earle Leonard Nelson -- a hulking creature dubbed "the Gorilla Man" -- shocked a nation weaned on the fictional nightmares of Edgar Allan Poe and distant legends of the Whitechapel murders. A child of unnatural obsessions and an aberrant sex drive, he grew to become a social outcast whose perverse behavior erupted in a sixteen-month spree of butchery that would not be equaled until decades later, by the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer.