Synopsis: They are probably the most notorious and infamous of all multiple murders, yet these are the very same criminals that continue to fascinate us more than any other. Sometimes it is the sheer callous deliberation that seems to capture the public's attention; other times, the macabre double-life led by many such slaughterers. Although the phenomenon has probably existed throughout human history, it is only the advancement of modern police detection methods and psychological profiling, as explained throughout this book, that have identified the deadly category now known as serial killers.
From Jack the Ripper, Erszabet Batory, the countess vampire, and Big and Little Harpe to Ted Bundy, the Son of Sam and Jeffrey Dahmer, the whole era of the serial killer is unveiled here. These killers transfix us with an image of an apparently civilized society within which extremely intelligent and rational individuals can commit seemingly random, utterly savage acts of cruelty and depravity. It may well be the darkest side of human activity, but there can be little doubt that the killers listed and described in these pages remain horribly fascinating - sometimes enigmatic and inexplicable - but always terrifyingly gripping.
My thoughts: Remind me not to read books like this just before I go to bed. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night after having nightmares about murderers!
Some of the crimes made for very uncomfortable reading as there is quite a lot of grisly details. But I think it was the photos in this book that creeped me out the most, there is a photo of each serial killer, sometimes ordinary looking family snapshots. Just makes you realise how good some criminals are at acting 'normal'.
This was a good introductory book about serial killers. It contains details of their crimes and victims, how they were caught and what their punishment was. I already knew a lot of the facts about the most famous serial killers, having read books about them before, but this book also contains some less well-known murderers. After reading this there are now a few more murderers that I'd like to read more about.
One thing about this book that really annoyed me was that there were grey boxes scattered on the pages containing extra information, which wouldn't normally bother me, but they were always in really odd places and I found myself having to flick pages backwards and forwards to read things in a sensible order.
This book is a good starting point for learning about serial killers, but there are plenty of other books out there with more in-depth information.