Delivered from Evil

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True Stories of Ordinary People Who Faced
Monstrous Mass Killers and Survived

Who’ll speak for the dead in some of America’s deadliest mass killings? In rare instances, only the survivors can give voice to the horror of confronting monsters and living to tell about it. This book explores the survival experiences of 10 people who escaped death in the Texas Tower shooting, the 1984 McDonald’s massacre, Luby’s Cafeteria, Howard Unruh’s 1949 rampage in Camden, the Atlanta day-trader murders and many others.

A 12-year-old boy cowers in his closet while a lunatic killer slaughters his family … a nursing student unwittingly opens her home to the serial killer on her front porch … an 11-year-old girl drifts alone at sea on a flimsy cork raft for almost four days after a mass murderer kills her vacationing family aboard a chartered yacht … a brave firefighter suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of a racist sniper almost nine stories above the ground …

And, astonishingly, they all survived.

From Howard Unruh’s 1949 shooting rampage through a quiet New Jersey neighborhood to Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee’s reign of terror in 2002, the corpses piled up and few lived to tell the horror. Now, award-winning journalist Ron Franscell explores the wounded hearts and minds of the ordinary people these monsters couldn’t kill. His mesmerizing accounts crackle with gritty details that put the reader in the midst of the carnage—and offer a front-row seat on the complex, painful process of surviving the rest of their haunted lives.

In intimate, gripping prose, Franscell takes the reader on a pulse-pounding dash through the murky intersection of pure evil and the potency of the human spirit. This journey into the darkest corners of the American crime-scape is a penetrating work of literary journalism by a writer hailed as one of the most powerful new voices in true crime.


“An idealistic college student shot by the infamous University of Texas Tower sniper in 1966 who decided to enter the ministry; a survivor of the 1984 McDonald’s massacre near San Diego who developed a fetish for firearms and serial killers; and a survivor of a 1949 rampage who buried his memories in an old suitcase no one wanted to open … What happens to them years after the television cameras and reporters have left?” —

“In Ron Franscell’s captivating account of the darkest chapters of our history, the author skillfully reminds all of us the meaning of grace and the triumph of the human spirit.” — Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author

“In an age when we glamorize killers, Ron Franscell gives a voice to the forgotten victims, a voice you won’t and can’t forget.” — Erin Moriarty, Emmy-winning correspondent for CBS’ 48 Hours

“Ron Franscell … has emerged as one of the premier authors of narrative non-fiction of his generation. As any fan of true crime knows, it takes much more than recounting the details of events. Franscell gets it. … With meticulous research and penetrating interviews with victims and witnesses, Franscell’s graceful writing and pacing take the reader into the crime scene to experience the terror as though watching the events unfold with our own eyes.” — Oxford Guide to Crime and Mystery Writing

“Meticulously researched, the book is graphic and chilling. In the end, it is a testament to the constancy of the human spirit.” — San Antonio (TX) Express-News

“What happens to those called the ‘lucky ones,’ the survivors, the ones who must live over and over the horrendous crimes from which they lived while others died? Beloved true crime author Ron Franscell uses his superb writing talents to takes readers on a journey alongside the survivors. Readers are invited to relive 10 of America’s worst crimes, through the eyes of a victim, and to see the traumatic effects of living long after the headlines have faded. … Get the book, sit back, and enjoy this new style of true crime that sets a new standard in the genre.” — Kim Cantrell, editor of True Crime Book Reviews

“While he’s examining some of the darkest moments in United States history, Ron Franscell manages to convey a sense of hope and even triumph among the survivors.” — Houston Press

“The names of mass murderers are household words, but we rarely are able to identify their victims. Ron Franscell tells the stories of survivors of mass killings in a book that rehashes familiar stories of past crimes, but with a new twist. … No survivor of a mass killing lives happily ever after.” — Denver Post

“Gripping … well-written.” — Portland (Maine) Sunday Telegram

“DELIVERED FROM EVIL Evil is not a book that you can read in one or two sittings. It is an intense, heartrending read that exposes your emotions, drives you a little crazy and leaves you wanting to shout ‘Don’t let the son-of-a-bitch win.'” — EMS World magazine

“Do not read this book at night. Only read it in broad daylight.” — Jack Riccardi, San Antonio’s KTSA 550 AM

“It will scare the crap out of you.” — Emily McCombs at

“As one of the premier crime writers of our generation, Ron Franscell stands at the top of the heap. … [He] delivers a message about the human spirit and the will to live in the face of sudden and unexpected terror. A riveting account of some of our darkest moments as told by one of the best in the business.” — Author and former police officer John Lyman

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