In this haunting true crime tale, John Heidenry brings to life the 1953 kidnapping and murder of Bobby Greenlease by two grifters with bone-chilling precision. Bobby’s killers, Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Heady, met in the seedy underbelly of the Missouri crime world. Hall lost a $200,000 inheritance and ended up in the State pen for holding up taxicabs. Heady—whom he met on his release—was the former wife of wealthy livestock breeder now turned prostitute. Bobby, the son of a wealthy automobile dealer, was but six-years-old when he turned up dead in a geranium patch right after a $600,000 ransom was paid. With the ransom in hand, Hall panicked and set off a chain of events that ended when mobster Joe Costello arranged to steal half the ransom. It was never recovered. After their arrest and quick conviction, Hall and Heady died manacled side by side in a rare double execution in the Missouri gas chamber.
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"A tough, gripping chiller of a book, written straightforwardly yet cloaked with the trappings of pulp fiction. This hard-boiled crime story bears a resemblance to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Clean, cool, even clinical in its efforts to fathom a tale of unconscionable destruction."--Janet Maslin’s “Top Ten Books of the Year”, The New York Times
"This true crime caper by Heidenry of a 1953 Kansas child kidnapping gone bad carries a solid punch....Heidenry neatly tells this harrowing tale and its impact on all involved."--Publishers Weekly
"Heidenry delivers a lean, mean account of an infamous 1953 kidnapping and murder....Harsh, chilling, lurid and gripping."--Kirkus Reviews
Books of The Times - John Heidenry?s ?Zero at the Bone? Examines 1953 Kidnapping - Review - NYTimes.comThis tough, gripping chiller of a true-crime story, about the 1953 kidnapping and murder of a Missouri boy, isn’t a book about good people gone bad; it’s about evil.- The New York Times
Book Review: ‘Zero at the Bone’ - WSJ.comJohn Heidenry revisits the infamous 1953 kidnapping of Bobby Greenlease, the young son of a wealthy Kansas City auto dealer. George H. Gurley reviews.- The Wall Street Journal
The Daily Beast Recommends - The Daily BeastThis week: a chilling true-life murder mystery, a moving tale of a musician after the Holocaust, and a love letter to New York City.- The Daily Beast
JOHN HEIDENRY is a contributing editor to The Week, founding editor of St. Louis Magazine, and author of several books, including The Gashouse Gang and What Wild Ecstasy. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.