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How could anyone, even his faithful wife, dying a slow death from cancer in the house above — imagine that the shelter was really a bleak dungeon where he imprisoned and raped the girls he kidnapped?
Reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs, Kiss the Girls Goodnight is a frightening story of a wealthy real-life collector of girls. Everyone who knew him understood he was strange, but even his wife and three sons thought he was just a harmless eccentric who collected empty bottles and junk. No one was especially surprised when he built a bomb shelter attached to his basement. How could anyone, even his faithful wife, dying a slow death from cancer in the house above — imagine that the shelter was really a bleak dungeon where he imprisoned and raped the girls he kidnapped? Even more chilling was the skill with which he selected his victims, enticed them into his house, and methodically enslaved them so that they were too frightened to defy him or try to escape.
Foreword by Marilyn Bardsley
Kiss the Girls Goodnight is a terrifying true story of sex slavery not in some Middle Eastern harem or seedy Third World brothel, but in an affluent suburb of Syracuse, NY. The unlikely “slave master” was an intrinsically odd elderly man with a wife and three sons. Most people knew him as a disheveled, poorly dressed character with a confrontational personality. He was a penny-pincher and obsessive coupon clipper who was too cheap to even buy a newspaper to get his coupons. Instead, he bullied the local librarians to save him day-old newspapers. He traveled around collecting empty bottles until his car could hold no more and then redeem most of them for small amounts of money. Some of the bottles he saved for his enormous, highly organized and carefully maintained bottle collection in his basement. He saved absolutely everything, even organizing all of his mail and catalogs in boxes. The obsessive need for structure inside some areas of his home was in stark contrast to the chaos outside, which was indistinguishable from a junk yard of rusting machinery and trash. Although his behavior appeared to result from being in poor financial condition, he was actually well-off, having inherited money that he had parlayed over the years into securities and real-estate holdings worth more than a million dollars.
Then came his midlife crisis. It started out with “befriending” a troubled girl by letting her live in his home. His wife, fighting a long bout with cancer, became suspicious of the relationship and insisted that it end. Later, he started roaming the streets of Syracuse and neighboring towns in search of female friendship, dressing and acting like an aging hippie. His behavior was not criminal or even particularly unusual. The turning point from eccentricity to diabolical criminality was the construction of the “bomb shelter.” Because he was so odd, even his family never guessed that the underground structure had any other purpose, except perhaps storing the items he hoarded. Turning the concrete rooms into a cold, dark dungeon to imprison runaway girls as sex slaves was unimaginable, even to the police, who heard the story from the girls he had eventually released when he tired of them.
For Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt
“In Killer Priest, Mark Gado recounts the true story of a Catholic priest from Germany who, after what Gado believes were actually a string of killings, ends up an inmate on Sing Sing’s death row convicted of the murder of the rectory housekeeper he impregnated.”
– Journal News (Westchester)
“Father Hans Schmidt was convicted of the gruesome murder of Anna Aumuller in 1914, in a case that was widely covered in the New York papers of the time. In this book New York City police detective Gado reconstructs Schmidt’s early life, describes the events of the case, and considers lingering questions of whether Schmidt was responsible for other murders as well.”
– Reference & Research Book News
“As compelling as any popular work of crime fiction.”
– Internet Law Book Reviews
“Mark Gado, a former detective, has come out with an excellent book-length account of the trial based on the transcript and newspaper accounts: Killer Priest….It reads like a Gothic Gilded Age novel in the style of Alfred Hitchcock.”
– New York Law Journal Magazine
For Death Row Women: Murder, Justice, and the New York Press
“Using a small but rich data set to write about an obscure research topic, former New York police detective and federal DEA agent Gado provides insight into contemporary practices associated with punishment, media, and the way social institutions interact to justify capital punishment. He discusses in detail the stories of six women executed in New York’s Sing Sing prison. Media accounts from the era in which these women were accused, tried, and eventually executed lead readers to question the media’s true intent. Referring to headlines, selective facts, colorful nicknames, and wild exaggerations, Gado describes how these women, their crimes, and the state response were socially constructed. Media contributions offered in a competitive environment are contrasted with police reports, court transcripts, prison files, letters written by the condemned, photographs, and eyewitness accounts. Although Gado gives preference to this evidence, the media’s role cannot be discounted. He raises gender issues when contrasting stories about the demonization of these women with the routine coverage of condemned men. Without providing answers, Gado’s text highlights moral inconsistencies that many continue to confront when examining capital punishment. Highly recommended. General, undergraduate, and graduate collections.”
“Mark Gado shows that the media’s obsession with women who murder has a long history. A New York police detective for twenty-five years and a DEA agent from 1999 to 2001, as well as the author of two other books, he writes about crime and the criminal justice system for truTV (previously Court TV) Crime Library….The book is an enjoyable read, and the chapters on the individual cases are particularly well constructed. Gado demonstrates that historical tales can be interesting when there is an abundance of detail.”
– Journalism History
“…the rich source material Gado compiles makes Death Row Women a compelling read and a useful tool in the undergraduate classroom.”
– Journal of Social History