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In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri
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In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,329 ratings  ·  147 reviews

Ken McElroy robbed, raped, burned, shot, and maimed the citizens of Skidmore, Missouri, without conscience or remorse. Again and again, the law had failed to stop him.

On July 10, 1981, Ken was shot to death on the main street of this small farming community. Forty-five people
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published November 1st 1988)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,329 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Here is a story for the picked-on.

There has been a lot of talk about bullying lately. Bullies at school. Bullies on the internet. A bully in – of all places – an NFL locker room. There is a national conversation about how to deal with bullies. And there is an equally important conversation about how to help the victims.

I mention this because Harry Maclean’s In Broad Daylight is a bully story.

It tells of a mean, hulking man, a man with guns and a taste for liquor and a touch of sociopathy who
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book because I remember watching the movie back in the late 80's , but not completely. Ken McElroy was a menacing person, had a lawyer with great influence, and thought he was invincible. But things happen to people who go around riding on other peoples' last nerves. His lawyer could not help him in the end and the law was lax about his crimes. People have the right to live their lives peacefully and they just got fed up with his crap! A great book, well written!!!
Rebecca McNutt
In Broad Daylight is spooky as hell, dark and undoubtedly unforgettable. At times though it seemed too sensationalized.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I'll put the bottom line right at the top - If you enjoy reading true crime, In Broad Daylight will not disappoint you.

Now, if you're interested, I'll tell you my opinion of the book. Harry N. MacLean put together an obviously well-researched account of the events leading up to, and surrounding the death of Ken McElroy.

I have to say, I have the e-book which is riddled with typos and major formatting errors. It honestly looks like it was type-set by a beginning publishing student. But that's the
Lynda Kelly
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deleted
A crushing disappointment. Years ago I bought his previous book and it was superb so I was chuffed to find this one available on my Kindle. However, it was clearly never edited or checked once it was formatted as an e-book.
There were these strange big gaps in the text on almost every other page and then these random headings would appear on the following page such as In Broad Daylight 11 or 12 Harry N Maclean. Very, very annoying. Words were replaced by the wrong ones such as be when it should
Tranna Foley
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
A case study of the vigilante style death of Ken McElroy in 1981 in Skidmore, Missouri. - library catalog description

Wow! Intersting, true story...frustrating too. Not a very positive commentary on our judicial system.

Review from Publisher's Weekly:
Ken Rex McElroy terrorized the residents of several counties in northwestern Missouri for a score of years. He raped young girls and brutalized them after they went to live with him or even married him; he shot at least two men; he stole cattle and h
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Going to college in Marysville and minoring in criminal justice, the case of Ken Rex McElroy is bound to come up and it's fascinating.

McElroy was a bully. No question about it. He terrorized the citizens of Skidmore for years, raping women, stealing, brandishing a gun and taking advantage of their impressionable youth. He was accused of many crimes, but always managed to avoid the consequences. One day in 1981, the citizens of Skidmore had had enough and McElroy was shot in broad daylight while
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book because my mom and dad always told me about the Skidmore bully that stole our livestock. We lived 20 miles from Skidmore where this bully took over and ran rampant through the town. This book was so well detailed that I didn't need it because I drove through this town for 4 years on my way to college in maryville and I always thought it creepy that a man was murdered in cold blood on the street and left for dead. Good book and I'm glad I read it since it hit so close to home for ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hooks you right from the beginning. Heard about this case but none of the details so what I found in here was definitely a shock. Crime/True Crime is definitely my favorite genre and this book doesn't disappoint. It's hard to come to terms with what a community will do to protect themselves because they feel law enforcement is failing them, but it is a reality we have to deal with every day. Good read!
Stephanie McGarrah
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting story about some modern frontier justice. I might be the only anarchist I know that enjoys true crime. Guilty pleasure I guess, this is the first one I've read in a long time though. It was great for wading back into those waters by reminding me about what I enjoy about well written true crime. One thing I love and that this book did well is paint a backdrop for the drama playing out. Wasn't the best, but its worth a read if you like the genre.
Ruth Turner
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned


I didn't finish this. After I'd read about a third I gave up.

It didn't hold my interest. I found it boring and repetitive.

I googled to find out what happened and I have to say, he got his just desserts. Well done Skidmore!

♥ Marlene♥
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly disturbing and fascinating.
Kenneth Barber
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book details the events that led up to the killing of Ken Rex McElroy in Skidmore, Missouri on July 10, 1981. Ken was a bully who had terrorized the town for over 20 years. He stole livestock and possessions from other people's houses and anything he could resale. He also had a penchant for young girls. He had sex with them and was also extremely abusive. He had children by st least three young girls. Every time he was charged with a crime he managed to intimidate the wittiness so they woul ...more
Vigilante justice is not always without justification.
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whelp, guy got what he deserved way later then he should have. I can't help but to feel that the town kinda brought this on themselves by rolling over for this a-hole for so long. Another shining example of our terribly flawed justice system. All around a book that pisses you off as it entertains. Great story.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
In Broad Daylight was a very interesting true crime story. The story was incredibly dark and sad which the writing did a good job of showing, however, it wasn’t exactly a page turner for me. I didn’t end up feeling as emotional reading the story as I thought I would. I do still recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to read a true crime book, but only if you’re really interested in true crime, otherwise you might not like this. I also advise anyone who is extremely uncomfortable with readin ...more
Lady ♥ Belleza
On July 10, 1981, as the residents of Skidmore, Missouri watched, Ken McElroy was shot to death. When the police interviewed the witness, their statements were more or less identical,

“Where were you when he was shot?”

“Standing in front of the tavern.”

“Did you see anything?”

“No, I didn’t see a thing. I heard something, a couple of shots and then I hit the ground. There were more shots and, by the time I got up, it was all over.”

There were forty-five witnesses to the shooting and none of them saw
Billy Stevenson
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
The novelistic mode often doesn’t work for true crime, but Harry N. MacLean’s In Broad Daylight is a big exception. Focusing on Ken McElroy, who terrorized the small Missouri town of Skidmore throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, this story has the sweep and scope of a great American regional narrative, replete with a monstrous patriarch, a terrified community, and a culture of complicity and acceptance that was suspicious of outsider involvement, both before and after the town conspired to execute M ...more
Kimberly Hicks
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any True-Crime Reader
Recommended to Kimberly by: My Mom
Shelves: read-on-kindle
I remember hearing about this story years ago, and when Oprah had the family and the townspeople from Skidmore, MO on her show. What was so mind boggling about this story is how the people of Skidmore did something that most people have a hard time doing~~keeping their mouths shut!

Ken Rex McElroy was Skidmore's worst nightmare, and after all his hellish ways, bullying, shooting, terrorizing, raping and drinking and beating up on women, the town had had enough and so on July 10, 1981 they took th
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
There abides a kinship among us farmers that I reckon most civilians cannot fully comprehend. A brotherhood that makes the mafia oath of silence look like a drunken vow made with an Elvis preacher at that multi-level marketing convention you went to back in '89. There's a word in Spanish that translates as a friend that you would kill or die for, but in English we simply call that a farmer. Which is how in a town of 400 no one saw a thing when a local terrorist, whom the media euphemistically la ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own

This story has always fascinated me and the book was great. It was the first time I had read this author(are there more???) and I felt he did an excellent job! It truly is a story of how the justice systems an those you know how to manipulate it can twist things and in the end backfire. Ken McElroy taught the town of Skidmore their biggest witnesses,no case! And in the end his killer or killers will too slide through the system just as he did. The difference is they tried to use l
Eric Berg
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Scary true crime story of a man who terrorized a big chunk of Missouri for over thirty years. He was charged with 19 felonies before being convicted of anything, and at one point he shot a man for no reason--admitted to shooting him--and still wasn't convicted of a crime. Finally he shot another man, delayed the trial for over a year, threatened his victim and every witness, and when finally convicted was free to walk the streets awaiting sentencing. At that point, the townspeople killed him. Th ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I actually enjoyed reading this book. It was a bit slow to start with because I read multiple books if they don't grab my attention, I can always read something else. I was about 1/3 of the way into the book and I realized that I was waking up in the night thinking about the people in this small town and wondering what was going to happen next, even though you are told at the very beginning. I had to know how these people got to the point where what happened actually happened. The book starts wi ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. I had to look past a lot of typos, formatting errors, and strange page breaks. It literally felt like someone scanned the text into the e-reader software and published it. Anyone who had flipped through the book before publishing would have realized how much editing needed to be done before it was ready for the public to read.

It is really a shame that what stood out to me most was the lack of editing. Mr. MacLean ought to be pounding down the doors of the publishing company
Trish Bodine
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
All in all it was not too bad. There were about 50 pages of description that could have been incorporated into the storyline, rather than listed as it was. I don't know if it is only in the Kindle version or not, but there were several typos (1 instead of I; tom instead of torn; etc.). Not quite enough, but almost enough to be a nuisance.

The overall retelling of the crime was not bad. I feel bad for Skidmore and Ken/Ken's family. Things should have been handled differently from day one of the p
Meadows13 Meadows
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the best of the 'true crime' genre that I've ever read. It was turned into a made-for-TV movie, but it didn't do the book or subject matter justice. (Isn't that an ironic turn of phrase?) The author was very successful in describing the utter frustration with the legal system that made the actions of the community understandable and probably inevitable.

As you read it, think deeply on what alternatives the community had. What options do any of us have to protect ourselves from the 'wolve
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This incident happened only about 30 miles from where I grew up. Although I had heard this story repeated several times since my childhood, this is a very comprehensive outline of events. Living in NW MO my entire life I found a few inaccuracies in spelling of peoples names and places, however, I credit the author for his knowledge having not been previously familiar with the area. I literally couldn't put this book down for three days.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This book did not grab me until several chapters in, but after that I was hooked. The two very different sides of Ken McElroy's personality, these women who allowed themselves to be treated so heinously and a WHOLE town (albeit a small one) who allowed the exact same thing, not to mention the gutless wonder judge and grossly ineffective Missouri judicial system during that time. I would've given this 4 stars, but the editing was almost as horrifying as the town bully!!
Jennifer Friedel
Well written book and I have to agree with most that he got what he deserved. It's a shame that law enforcement didn't put a stop to him after the first time he shot someone. I just hope no cold case detective ever decides to take another shot at finding who pulled the trigger. The town has been through enough.
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Harry MacLean, an Edgar Award winning true crime writer (In Broad Daylight) has changed genre's with his new novel, "The Joy of Killing." Variously described as a literary thriller, a psychological thriller or philosophical thriller, the book earned a rave review from Kirkus:
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