Based on a true story, this “extremely compelling novel” delves into the mind of a murderer (Booklist).
The Avenue of the Giants follows Al Kenner as he progresses from antisocial adolescent to full-fledged serial killer in the turbulent 1960s and ’70s. A giant at over seven feet tall with an IQ higher than Einstein’s, Al was never ordinary. His life is tainted by his parents’ divorce and his mother’s abusive behavior, and it takes a chilling turn on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Al spends five years in a psychiatric hospital, and although he convinces the staff that he is of sound mind, he continues to harbor vicious impulses. He goes on to lead a double life—befriending the Santa Cruz, California police chief and contemplating marrying his daughter, all the while committing a series of brutal murders.
Delving into the mind of this complex killer, this novel by the prize-winning author of The Officers’ Ward was inspired by the real-life case of Edmund Kemper, and powerfully evokes an America torn between the pacifism of the hippie movement and the violence of Vietnam.