Jeffery S. King, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dillinger Gang, The Life and Death of Pretty Boy Floyd and Kill-Crazy Gang, here turns his attention to less well known Depression Era gangsters of the American Midwest, George McKeever and Francis McNeiley. Noting their physical (and professional) similarities to Pretty Boy Floyd and Floyd's bank robbery partner Adam Richetti, King persuasively argues that McKeever-McNeiley robberies and violence were mistakenly attributed to Floyd-Richetti, adding significantly to the Floyd-Richetti legend.
Built upon FBI files, court and prison records and other government documents, in addition to published book, newspaper and magazine sources, One of the Most Troublesome Robbery Gangs is a record of the murders and robberies committed by McKeever, McNeiley and their associates. The book establishes the often overlooked McKeever-McNeiley gang as one of the more successful and elusive outlaw bands of the period.
Along with the dramatic details of the McKeever and McNeiley careers, King provides broader context, exploring regional economic ills, the condition of penal institutions and the organization and techniques of police agencies in the era. King follows his subjects through their final arrests and to the ends of their lives - one expiring at the end of a rope in Missouri and the other surviving a lengthy prison sentence to pass away decades later.
King includes eighteen pages of photographs, extensive source citations and a select bibliography.
One of the Most Troublesome Robbery Gangs is an informative, entertaining and easy read. It is not without some technical flaws - there are a number of typographical errors in the text and some photos and captions are skewed on their pages - but these do not significantly detract from the book.
Disclosure: I have been acquainted with Jeffery S. King for about a decade. He has contributed several articles - on Baby Face Nelson, George McKeever and Tommy Carroll - and several advertisements to my Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement publication since 2011.