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Hell's Half Acre


Across the part of the Great Osage Trail that runs through south-west Kansas, seventy-five men trawl through the mud and mist in search of Doctor William York, a renowned local physician who has been missing for several months. Seven miles outside the newly created town of Cherryvale, the party pauses to investigate an abandoned homestead formerly belonging to the Benders, a family of German spiritualists who offered their front room as a rest stop for weary travelers looking for a bed and hot meal. Inside the cabin, the search party are overwhelmed by a mephitic stench emanating from beneath the floorboards. Finding a concealed trapdoor, the doctor’s brother Colonel Ed York, descends to investigate the source of the foul odour. Awaiting him is a scene more gruesome than any he experienced during the long four years of the American Civil War and what he uncovers will lead to one of the most notorious murder investigations in US history and leave an indelible mark on everyone involved.

Told against the dramatic backdrop of the tumult of Post-Bellum United States, Jonusas writes with the gripping intensity of the best thriller writers and the detailed research of the finest historians. Hell’s Half Acre takes the reader into the heart of an horrific and devastating crime while casting new light on one of the most transformative and important periods of America’s past. Imagine Anthony Beevor writing True Crime and you will get a sense of the brilliance of this book and the startling new talent that is Susan Jonusas.

Shedding new light on one of this most horrendous act of violence, Hell's Half Acre is a future classic of true crime writing. 

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (March 31, 2022)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471190315