A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger

A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger

In the spring of 1963, the quiet suburb of Belmont, Massachusetts, was rocked by a shocking sex murder that exactly fit the pattern of the Boston Strangler. Sensing a break in the case that has paralyzed the city of Boston , the police tracked down a black man, Roy Smith, who cleaned the victim’s house that day and left a receipt with his name on the kitchen counter. Smith is hastily convicted of the Belmont murder, but the terror of the Strangler continued.

Two years later, Albert DeSalvo, a handyman who had been working at the Jungers' home on the day of the Belmont murder, and who had often spent time there alone with Sebastian and his mother, confessed in lurid detail to being the Boston Strangler.

In A DEATH IN BELMONT, a narrowly averted tragedy for Junger's family opens out into an electrifying exploration of race and justice in America.  By turns exciting and subtle, the narrative chronicles three lives that collide--and are ultimately destroyed--in the vortex of one of the first and most controversial serial murder cases in America.

"John F. Kennedy was President, America was not yet at war, and Belmont, Massachusetts, where [Israel Goldberg] and his wife had moved ten years earlier, was arguably the epitome of all that was safe and peaceful in the world. There were no bars or liquor stores in Belmont. There were no poor people in Belmont. There were no homeless people in Belmont. There were no dangerous parts of Belmont, or poor parts of Belmont, or even ugly parts of Belmont. There had never been a murder in Belmont. It was--until the moment Israel Goldberg went back donstairs and finally glanced into the living room--the ideal place to live."


“In DeSalvo’s dark world, Junger’s clear, beautifully reasonable writing is the literary equivalent of night-vision goggles. In THE PERFECT STORM Junger had a great story to work with; in A Death in Belmont there is no central thread. He’s navigating a maze of shadows, and you can see all the more clearly what an enormously skillful prose artist he is.” –Lev Grossman, Time Magazine