I just finished “For the Thrill of It” this morning. I knew of the murder because of the movie “Rope” starring James Stewart and thought I’d learn more about it when I saw this book.

I found it a fascinating story of elitism and murder. I loved the level of detail that Simon Baatz was able to include in the story. You are in on how a murder is plotted and executed. It’s a look inside a killer’s head and it’s not a pleasant look.

Interestingly, I expected legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow to have shown expertise in having Leopold and Loeb’s sentenced to life in prison instead of death. It seems his key decision was to plead guilty and take his chances with a liberal judge. I wasn’t particularly impressed with his handling of the case otherwise. He seemed to want to use it to further his anti-capital punishment agenda.

While I enjoyed the lead up to the trial, I got bogged down with the trial section. This is where Baatz’s attention to detail didn’t serve him as well. I felt like the book went into too much psychiatric detail, which in the end, didn’t really add to the story.

Once, the narrative moved past the trial to the aftermath, I thought it became interesting again.

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