Sunday, October 17, 2010

10 Chilling Serial Killer Books

Note: This week we're going to share some of our favorite frighting reads. I vividly remember the summer that I read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I couldn't turn the lights off! This list was compiled by the Criminal Justice University.

Serial killers is definitely a topic that send chills down our spines- and for good reason, the atrocious acts they have committed makes you wonder how the majority of these people lived seemingly normal lives. The following books offer some answers and a look into some of the most notorious serial killers minds and lives:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

This book, written by Eric Larson tells about the events surrounding Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The story intertwines the true lives of two men, Daniel Burnham- the chief architect of the fair, known as the White City and H. H. Holmes- one of the first serial killers in America. H. H. Holmes opened up a hotel for the fair, which he built and became the location of many of the murders he committed.

Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America’s Most Fiendish Killer

Written by Harold Schechter, Deranged accounts the horror Albert Fish practiced in the early 1900′s as a pedophile, sadist and cannibal. Fish who was mistaken for a gentle, kind white-haired man started by taking a young girl out on an outing and she never returned. The book explores the sadodistic mind of Fisher, who killed and ate as many as 15 children and is believed to be responsible for the murder of many others.

The Stranger Beside Me
The Stranger Beside Me written by Ann Rule is about the life of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy, who was executed in Florida in 1989, eventually confessed to over 30 murders but is believed to have an estimated range of between 26 and over 100 victims. Rule, began writing her book in the 70′s after serial rapes and murders were left unsolved and while still researching and writing the books, the serial killer was caught- it was a friend of hers- someone she had known well and had worked with, Ted Bundy.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
Written by Don Davis about the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, this book recalls the night a young man came running out of an apartment complex trembling in handcuffs. When the boy led police back to the apartment they found a lair full of body parts stuffed into barrels, filing cabinets and freezers belonging to at least fifteen young men. The Jeffrey Dahmer Story delves into Dahmer’s demented mind and world of mutilation and cannibalism.

Night Stalker
Night Stalker,
written by Philip Carlo, tells the story of Richard Ramirez, a serial killer who terrorized the Los Angeles area for over a year. Ramirez was found guilty of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders and 11 sexual assaults and believed to be responsible for many others. Carlo writes on all the time he spent traveling to Ramirez’s hometown interviewing Ramirez, his family and friends, and the detectives who solved the case. Carlo also shares a view into Ramirez’s psyche and how he viewed and justified his attacks in the service of Satan.

The Devil’s Right Hand Man: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Charles Browne
This book, written by Stephen Michaud and Debbie Price, tells the story of serial killer Robert Charles Browne. Browne was arrested in 1995 for the 1991 murder of a 13 year old girl. Convinced Browne had been involved with other murders, the cold-case investigators began a 5 year hunt for the answers with Browne while he was incarcerated at the Colorado State Penitentiary. Through letters, Browne eventually led led them through 20 years of unsolved rapes and murders.

Buried Dreams
Written by Tim Cahill, Buried Dreams recalls the disturbing story of John Wayne Gacy, a Chicago businessman who dressed up as a clown at charity events and birthday parties. In 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death for the murders of at least 33 young boys; most were found in the crawl space underneath his home. Cahill includes graphic accounts of the rapes and murders, as he led a four year investigation with Gacy to compile the facts about Gacy’s childhood, his abusive father and his seemingly normal life, rather a torturer and serial killer.

Written by Robert Graysmith, Zodiac tells of the hooded gunman who terrorized the streets of San Francisco in the late 1960′s and then taunted police with letters about the murders. The book includes details about the murders, the investigation and includes photos of some of the letters the killer wrote to police. The Zodiac killer is responsible for the murders of more than 6 people and believed to be the man behind many more. To this day, the cases have never been solved and the self-proclaimed Zodiac killer has never been caught.

The Last Victim
In The Last Victim author Jason Moss, tricks and seduces notorious serial killers into entrusting him and getting inside their minds. After writing to them in jail, posing as several different people, Moss gained their trust and coerced them to tell why they did what they did. Moss’ book includes getting into the criminal minds with detailed ranting and reasons straight from the words of John Wayne Gacy, which whom he has his closest relationship with, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Richard Ramirez.

Serial Killers: The Methods and Madness of Monsters
Written by Peter Vronsky, this book analyzes and documents the psychological and investigative aspects of murders by serial killers. Serial Killers: The Methods and Madness of Monsters also showcases timelines and compares first-ever serial killer instances with later century cases and notorious contemporary cases such as Ed Kemper and Ted Bundy. While not all serial killers can be detected, his book also uniquely provides suggestions on what one should to recognize and escape the encounters of a serial killer.

So tell me...what book kept you up at night?

1 comment:

HollyWood said...

Although this is a pretty good list of serial killer books I need to add one more.
"Final Truth, The Autobiography of A Serial Killer" is about Donald 'PeeWee' Gaskins. Gaskins straight forwardness about his life as a serial killer and why he killed who he did is fascinating.
For my money he is the most prolific and scariest of American serial killers.
His claim to fame, and the murder he was finally executed for, was believed impossible till he actually successfully carried out a hit on a prisoner held in maximum security and solitary confinement.