The Jolly Roger Social Club: A True Story of a Killer in Paradise by Nick Foster
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.