Killing for Company: The Story of a Man Addicted to Murder

Killing for Company: The Story of a Man Addicted to Murder

by Brian Masters

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dennis Nilsen was arrested in February 1983 after the plumbing in his suburban London apartment was found to be clogged with body parts. ``Are we talking about one body or two,'' a detective asked. Nilsen, a 35-year-old civil servant, replied: ``Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978. I'll tell you everything.'' Besides confessing to the police, Nilsen wrote extensively to Masters from prison and offered him his journals. Using these sources and his considerable journalistic skill, the author ( Moliere ) fashions a stunning account of the largest mass murderer in British history. Nilsen is depicted as a lonely, articulate man who met men in pubs and cafes, invited them to his flat for drinks and killed them, fearing that they would leave the next day. Nilsen's trial was brief and expert testimony cast little light on the grisly events (Nilsen dismembered his victims, stuffying body parts under floorboards or boiling off flesh in a soup pot). Noting that the plea of insanity was not accepted either for Nilsen or for Jeffrey Dahmer, who was convicted of similar acts in the U.S. in 1992, Masters suggests that the current legal definitions of insanity need reworking. Photos not seen by PW. True Crime Book Club selection. (Nov.)
Barbara Jacobs
A successor of sorts to Capote's "In Cold Blood", this English psychological investigation was not published here for close to ten years or, chillingly, just two years after the Dahmer mass murders in Milwaukee. In a way, the account of Dennis Nilsen, now imprisoned for life for six murders and with most of the text related in "his own write," is gripping. Who can, after all, understand the impulses and motivations behind such slaughter? Masters comes close, by his friendliness with prisoner B62006 and his determination to uncover all the details. In a way, too, this smacks of tabloidism, the media's propensity to analyze and reanalyze sordid crimes. Well-written, well-documented, this book may nonetheless upset sensitive stomachs.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed

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