For decades now, serial killers have taken center stage in the news and entertainment media. The coverage of real-life murderers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer has transformed them into ghoulish celebrities. Similarly, the popularity of fictional characters such as Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter or Dexter demonstrates just how eager the public is to be frightened by these human predators.
But why is this so? Could it be that some of us have a gruesome fascination with serial killers for the same reasons we might morbidly stare at a catastrophic automobile accident? Or it is something more? In Why We Love Serial Killers , criminology professor Dr. Scott Bonn explores our powerful appetite for the macabre, while also providing new and unique insights into the world of the serial killer, including those he has gained from his correspondence with two of the world’s most notorious examples, David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) and Dennis Rader (“Bind, Torture, Kill”). In addition, Bonn examines the criminal profiling techniques used by law enforcement professionals to identify and apprehend serial predators, he discusses the various behaviors—such as the charisma of the sociopath— that manifest themselves in serial killers, and he explains how and why these killers often become popular cultural figures.
Groundbreaking in its approach, Why We Love Serial Killers is a compelling look at how the media, law enforcement agencies, and public perception itself shapes and feeds the “monsters” in our midst.
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About the Author
Dr. Scott Bonn is a professor of criminology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. His expert commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Headline News Network, and more. Dr. Bonn hosts a weekly college radio show and has recently appeared as an expert analyst in the A&E documentary The Long Island Serial Killer. The author resides in Manhattan, New York.
Table of Contents
Foreword Diane Dimond xiii
Part 1 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Serial Killers (But Were Afraid to Ask) 1
Chapter 1 The Strange Allure of Those Who Kill and Kill Again 3
Chapter 2 Debunking Popular Myths about Serial Killers 17
Chapter 3 Is Criminal Profiling a Science, Art, or Magic? 37
Chapter 4 Inside the Pathological Mind of the Serial Killer 57
Chapter 5 The Motives, Rituals, and Fantasies of Serial Killers 73
Part 2 Up Close and Personal with Two Infamous Serial Killers 95
Chapter 6 From Son of Sam to Son of Hope: The Strange Journey of David Berkowitz 97
Chapter 7 The Unrepentant Sexual Psychopath Known as "Bind, Torture, Kill" 115
Part 3 The Sociology of Serial Murder 137
Chapter 8 The Profound Impact of Serial Murder on Society 139
Chapter 9 Subjective Reality, Moral Panic, and Atrocity Tales 155
Chapter 10 The Making of Celebrity Monsters 169
Chapter 11 Collectors of Murderabilia and the Son of Sam Laws 193
Chapter 12 What We Can Learn from the Monsters We Make 211
About the Author 247
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book never really took off and there was nothing in it I haven't heard or read elsewhere. The authors had a habit of talking down to the audience, promising insight and information in subsequent chapters. They also made a big deal out of correspondence with 2 serial killers. A sample size of 2 among so many isn't remotely relevant. As a group, psychotics and sociopaths lie as easily as they breathe and the authors are taking this sample size of 2 as representative of the whole class. Neither of the 2 is typical and the only thing to recommend either one is that they corresponded with the authors. Marrying the topic of serial murderers with Sociology is old old news. It was a single chapter in the Sociology class I took at the local junior college back in 1973. In short, the book is not well written, it tends to ramble, and the authors frequently talk down to the audience. My advice is that readers look for something relevant and better written. This book is a dud. The most credit I can give it is that the authors came up with a catchy title and then laid down to write the book. I would prefer to give it zero stars but the site won't post my review without at least one star.
A good book about why we are fascinated with serial killers, murder, and other horrible acts. Highly recommended.
This book is truly unique in its treatment of serial killer as popular culture personalities. Dr. Bonn grabs the reader from the first page as he debunks popular myths about serial killers and powerfully explains the public's enduring fascination and even obsession with the world's most savage killers. This is a must read for anyone interested in the psychopathic criminal mind and the dark side of the human condition.
Mr. Bonn delves takes the reader into the criminology and criminal minds of why people are curious about serial killers. The book is well written, yet written more informative as Mr. Bonn provides insight into the serial killers mind. For those that watch shows on anything that deals with the criminal, serial, or investigative this is a book for you.