From Chicago Review Press...

Ugly Prey tells the riveting story of a poor Italian immigrant sentenced to hang in Chicago for the murder of her missing husband.  There was no evidence, no murder weapon, and no proof the decayed body found in a suburban drainage ditch was Francesco Nitti.

Sabella was the target of obsessed lawmen who were looking for an easy win. In the early 1920s, Chicago saw a rash of beautiful women acquitted by smitten juries.  Several of these infamous women were guilty, glamorous, and not one bit sorry.

To the men who prosecuted her, Sabella was hideous and dirty.  Easy, ugly prey. She was a contadina from Bari who spoke neither English nor Italian. Her skin was hardened from years of toiling in the sun and she made no effort with her appearance.

The jury was convinced and Sabella was sentenced to hang. A quick 95 days separated Sabella from the gallows. Could anyone save her?

Visit UglyPrey.com to learn more about Ugly Prey and Sabella's connection to the glamorous women who inspired the play, Chicago.



In the news:

Click each publication's name to link to the story.


New York Times:  "Ugly Prey" was picked in the Summer Reading Guide by Marilyn Stasio as a true crime read for the beach!!!

Italian America: "Ugly Prey" was picked for the Order Sons of Italy's summer book club!

WBEZ Chicago: Author interview with Tony Sarabia on "Morning Edition" on Chicago's NPR affiliate!

WTTW's Chicago Tonight: Author interview with Phil Ponce on Chicago's PBS affiliate.

Crain's Chicago Business: "Ugly Prey" was picked as one of 7 Great Books with Chicago Ties."

WGN-TV, Midday News: "Chicago Scene: Author Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi."

FOX-32, Good Day Chicago:  Author interview.

Ms. Magazine:  "Ugly Prey" was picked for the summer reading guide!

DNAinfo Chicago: "This Famous Chicago 'Murderess' Didn't Kill Anyone, And New Book Proves It."

WomansDay.com: Read an excerpt!

Green Baby Press Gazette: Recommended by the Librarians of Brown County Library.

West Suburban Living: Book review.

Lumpen Radio: Interview with Chicago Review Press publisher Cynthia Sherry on Ugly Prey and other spring books.


"Verdict: For lovers of historical true crime"  - Library Journal.

"A page-turning drama and thought-provoking look at gender, ethnicity and class in the American justice system," -- Anne Knudson, West Suburban Living Magazine, May 2017.

"This is an elegantly researched and beautifully written example of investigative journalism," - Jeffery Gusfield, author of Deadly Valentines: The Story of Capone's Henchman 'Machine Gun' Jack McGurn and Louise Rolfe, His Blonde Alibi. 

"Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi’s riveting and creepy tale of violence, betrayal, and injustice is an uncomfortable yet all-too-familiar story of anxious Americans' willingness to believe that illiterate, poor immigrants can be guilty of a crime because of who they were not what they did," - Kate Clifford Larsen, PhD, author ofThe Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln. 

"Her rigorous history is shocking and moving,"  - Douglas Perry, author of The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired 'Chicago.'



Please direct media inquiries to:

Olivia Aguilar

Chicago Review Press