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Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness (Nemesis: The Eliot Ness Mysteries #1)

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  255 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
In his bestselling legal thrillers, William Bernhardt has explored the dark side of contemporary politics, power, and the law. Now Bernhardt turns back the clock to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, in the fall of 1935. Based on true events and new discoveries about Eliot Ness, Nemesis is a brilliantly told story featuring this legendary lawman's fateful duel with a terrifyingl ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published December 24th 2008)
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Teechbiz
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Honestly, before I read the book I knew very little about Eliot Ness except for he had something to do with the Untouchables. Years ago I remember hearing something about the Torso Murders. Now that I've read this book I feel that the case was solved but it was covered up for political expediency. I realize this was fiction, but you can tell the author did his homework. While I was reading I would google various things about Ness and the murders. Wow! Worth reading
Mmmhhmm
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dkeslin
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Based on true fact, Eliot Ness of Al Capone fame, tracks the first serial killer in Cleveland in the fall of 1935. A chilling, fast rread full of excitement.
Peggy
Jun 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
I listened to this audiobook. I guess I expected more than this book could deliver. I admit, I know nothing about Eliot Ness, so I didn't know he was such a loser. I remember Robert Stack from my childhood TV days, but this Eliot Ness is so tone-deaf and arrogant it was hard for me to take. He is fresh off his Capone catching glory days in Chicago. Ness has moved to Cleveland to clean up the corruption in the police department, implement new traffic safety laws, and form a boys club for the Depr ...more
Marsha
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an engaging historical mystery. Eliot Ness has put away Capone and now is the safety director of Cleveland, Ohio. He just wants to make the city safe...ridding it of drugs and gambling and adding street lights, boys clubs, etc. Ness never meant to become embroiled in tracking a sadistic serial killer.
In the afterword, you learn that this story was based on facts which makes it even more intriguing.
Jay Arcy
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a super slow start. I tried reading the first few pages so many times. Then skipped to chapter two. When it became more interesting, I went back to the prologue (or was that chapter 1) and I've enjoyed it since.

Made me stay up late at night. Engaging (except the first few chapters!)
Rick Ludwig
I'm a Bill Bernhardt fan, as anyone who has read my previous reviews of his Ben Kincaid series can tell you. But this book is a special kind of jewel. It stands alone and draws you into to a story that is mostly or almost totally real, depending on how you want to take it. Like Eliot Ness, the book does its job with dedication and skill, and cares little about where the trail will ultimately lead. Ness is drawn as a persistent, but flawed character who is only truly alive when he is stretching a ...more
Sherry
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Somewhat of a cross between historical fiction and fact, Nemesis is based upon actual events from the 30's and information that came to light years later surrounding a case that Eliot Ness was involved with in the years that followed his Chicago success in putting away Al Capone.

The story was interesting and intriguing and was a fairly easy read. Most interesting to me were the little historical tidbits, such as Ness working so hard to install traffic signals that reduced the death rate from 400
...more
Ice
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: serial-killers
I was really disappointed in this book. After all, lots of things (for me) to like: Depression setting, in Cleveland, no less, a serial killer, and a wonderful, if flawed, hero.
So what's wrong here? I've never read Bernhardt, but he manages to make the business of serial killing, well, boring.
Except for Eliot Ness's speeches to the press, and the public, the dialog is uninspired. And the suspected murderer? Just a stick figure, not the bogey-man who's been suspected of also perping the Black Dah
...more
L.M. Elm
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I would agree with some other reviewers I felt disappointed with this book too. While the dialogue is as rapid fire as blasts from a Tommy gun, just using that as the sole method of chatacterization isn't enough. There were too many instances where it took three or four paragraphs to figure who was speaking. At one point I thought is the author trying to write a screne play or emmulate Hemmingway? The ending felt rushed and Ness' character's felt wishy-washy and didn't really fit with how he rea ...more
Mary
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Cleveland, Ohio, in the fall of 1935. Based on true events and new discoveries about Eliot Ness, Nemesis features the legendary lawman’s fateful duel with a terrifyingly new kind of criminal: America’s first serial killer. One by one, bodies are found, each one decapitated and uniquely dissected with a doctor’s skill and a madman’s bent. The police are baffled, the population is terrorized, and newspaper headlines blare about the so-called “Torso Killer.”

From the first primitive use of forensic
...more
Rachel
May 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-b-shelf
A historically based Depression-era serial killer mystery. I actually liked this a little more than I thought I would--it seemed well researched, the gruesome parts were few & far between and easily skipped over, and the author portrayed the difficulty of doing good in a highly public political office well--I got frustrated for the main character, frustrated AT him, and at the same time understood where he was coming from.

That said. ...it was ok. The writing was unnoticeable (could be a vir
...more
William Blake
Apr 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Certainly good enough to transcend my initial mental picture of Ness (looking very much like Kevin Costner) as the Capone-busting Untouchable. It's an unquestionably entertaining read, though not a very well-written one. But one does not pick up a thriller to spend time enthralled at the linguistically lovely turns of phrase . . . one picks them up for the gory thrills, and this book about a famous crimefighter having to reconsider the customary methodology for catching a murderer in the light o ...more
Monica
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! Very much. It combines some fact with a lot of fiction and the result is ideal crime fiction from the 1930s. I really only put this book down because life was messing up my reading time. I went in knowing really nothing about Eliot Ness, nor anything about the murders that took place in Cleveland. Now i want to know more.

The book moves fast, short chapters, paragraphs that don't mince words.

The ending was a bit unsatisfactory but i can see why Bernhardt concluded the
...more
Liz
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I haven't read a Wm Bernhardt book in several years, but the subtitle on the book jacket caught my attention: The Final Case of Eliot Ness. This is a fictionalized account of Ness' career in Cleveland and the serial killer who stalked the streets. I now find his dialogue style stilted and unbelievable. Perhaps if I reread his earlier books, I would feel the same. So, read it if you'd like a Ness story (post-Untouchables). I won't tell how it ends, though.
J. Ewbank
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-good-read, novel
Maybe due to the topic and the parameters forced upon the topic made this book for me a little less desirable that some others by this author. By taking a person in history and trying to weave matters around his life make it difficult. I did like the book but thought it could have been better in some weay.

J. Robert Ewbank author "Wesley's Wars" and "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms"
Susan
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction - thriller
i enjoyed this book and the writer's style. The ending is a little disjointed, however. The one thing that I felt throughout the book was frustration. I was frustrated for Ness and for the detectives. Seems the political machine hasn't changed much in 70+ years. I also liked the "Author's Afterword" at the end. It helped greatly to wrap up the loose ends.
Adam
Aug 08, 2009 rated it liked it
While definitely entertaining and fairly faithful to the what I know of the actual murders, Nemesis, falls just a little short of being a truly good novel. A subject such as this, to me, deserves to be treated in a dark, dark fashion, not like a Patricia Cornwell novel, which is what this felt like, to me. As in many cases, fiction cannot live up to reality, and that remains the case here.
Owen
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A great murder mystery with a variety of interesting people. A touch gory. Highly recommended.

FYI - I was born and raise in Chicago, and enjoyed watching the TV Series, "The Untouchables," in my youth. This might make the story more entertaining for me than for others.
Nancy
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
There was one case that Eliot Ness was unable to solve: the Torso Murders case in Cleveland, OH. It haunted him for the remainder of his life. Fast paced but the ending was on the unrealistic side.
Ann
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Bleeh. I saw this author on "Jeopary!", and when I looked him up, this 'inspired by true events' novel sounded like a true crime guilty pleasure. However, the writing level of this 'New York Times' best seller was sub-par, in my book!
Chrissy Owens
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Okay, I'm giving it 4 stars b/c I felt like it was an accurate portrayal of Eliot and dismissing the fact that the ending was shocking and disappointing. The book was so well assembled in its near realism that hitting such a fictitious ending was like being slapped in the face.
Kim
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, mystery, historical
Based upon the true story of Eliot Ness trying to catch a serial killer in Cleveland. The whole time I am reading it I thought I was watching a bad film noir movie. Cliches abound, so much so that you felt like you read the page already.
Lisa Currier
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I have read alot this author's "justice" books, and really enjoyed them. This was a great blend of fact and fiction. The ending was a little abrupt. It gave a better picture of Ness,and the case he couldn't solve, and how it haunted him for the rest of his life. A very enjoyable read.
Tim
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
To enjoy this novel, it helps to be a fan of Elliot Ness as the author undoubtedly is. The story follows the last case of Ness with a few added surmises from the author. If the pace could have been faster as at the end, this would have been better. 4 of 10 stars
Joanne
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it
A fictionalized tale of Eliot Ness's last years, but based on actual events. Stalking what is perported to be the first serial killer in the US, did Ness get him or not? It's worth reading the book to find out.
Cheryl
Loved it--I would call it "historical fiction". Fictionalized account of the case that ruined Eliot Ness' reputation and career. But Bernhardt does a great job of redeeming Ness' reputation in this hard to put down book! Well researched, well written!
Mike
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Breezy fast read, but has some depth (other than the case itself) to it. I won't spoil your fun by telling you any details of the story, but if you only know EN from the Robert Stack portrayal the book and the afternotes are an eye-opener
Robbie
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jim's rating.
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I love my job!

William loves his job and it shows in his writing. Library Journal has called him the "master of the courtroom drama;" his books have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. The Vancouver Sun dubbed him "the American equivalent of P.G. Wodehouse and John Mortimer." His novel Dark Eye was a psychological thriller that, in the words of bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, "will chi
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