- Biography & Memoir
The book detailing the grisly murders by ‘Wild Bill’ Holbert that shook the shadowy ex-pat community in Panama
Languishing in a Panamanian prison cell, William Holbert - known as 'Wild Bill' - is waiting to be tried for the murder of five fellow American expats. His first victims were the mysterious Brown family, who lived a deliberately quiet life in Panama's remote province of Bocas del Toro. After killing the Browns, he turned their house into the Jolly Roger Social Club with the motto 'Over 90% of our members survive'. He appointed himself Minister of the First Church of the Inebriation, and used drink- and drug-fuelled parties to get close to others who, like him, had fled to Panama's Caribbean coast in desperation to leave their past behind, assumed new identities and disappeared into a blissful loophole...
The Jolly Roger Social Club is Nick Foster's astonishing and vivid account of a man who may be the world's first 'capitalist' serial killer. In the process of piecing together what happened, he sheds light on the bigger questions raised by Wild Bill's actions: what was it that made Bocas del Toro such a fertile hunting ground for the murderer, and why did it take the expats so long to raise the alarm? It quickly becomes clear that the answer lies in the paradox of Panama itself: a seeming paradise, but with a sinister underbelly.
'Foster’s research is diligent… show[ing] the dirt that often lies beneath the deceptive surface of paradise' Spectator
'An engrossing, well-developed true-crime tale, unsettling in its portrayal of the underbelly of its tropical setting’ Kirkus
'If you've ever yearned to flee civilization for a tropical Caribbean hideaway, pick up Nick Foster’s frightening The Jolly Roger Social Club before you do.' Bryan Burrough, author of Public Enemies and Barbarians at the Gate
'Sharply written, excellently observed, and assiduously researched… a Panamanian Cocaine Nights' Oliver Balch
'A fascinating tale of terror and madness' Skip Hollandsworth, author of The Midnight Assassin
'Noir reporting at its best, a true crime tale for our age' Susan Casey, author of Voices in the Ocean and The Devil's Teeth
'Nick Foster's shrewdly told, rum-soaked, all-too-true tale of serial murder in the tropics is simply stunning'