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Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious…

Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage…

by Scott Bonn

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Brown examines the public's fascination with serial killers through a psychological and sociological lens.

This is a really different and fascinating take on true crime. Brown has done his research, and the lens which he looks through takes into account psychology, sociology, and history itself. He also has been in personal contact with the Son of Sam and the BTK killer, as part of his research, and brings what he has learned from studying them in as well.

This isn't something I didn't like, but more of a heads up for prospective readers. This does not read like a narrative as some true crime books do. This reads like a textbook, which I personally really liked-it made me feel like I was back in college with my highlighters and post it notes.

This was a fascinating, comprehensive read that I would definitely recommend for anyone who has read true crime. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Jun 26, 2017 |
I grabbed this book as part of my Book-Bub bargains. I expected a book that was somewhat more pop culture oriented but ended up with what is predominantly a sociological textbook, written from a functionalist perspective with its main idea that the public needs serial killers to fulfill certain functions in society.

I myself do not subscribe to functionalism but that did not deter me in the reading of the book nor undermine what the writer was trying to convey. If you are a reader looking for an introductory academic discussion based on sociological perspectives, this is a good text to read from. The writer explains the basics of functionalism, delves deeply into anomie and how that applies to serial killers and then outlines his arguments on various topics from there.

If you are a reader who is looking for an entertaining, anecdotal pop culture perspective, then this book will probably not be for you. That being said, it is certainly refreshing to read something more academic on the subject even if I don't subscribe to the perspective the author chooses to write from. I think its important for people to delve into the academic ideas behind the sociology of crime with as much true crime "non-fiction" and interest in the ID channel as there is the United States. While the average true crime reader may have read about any number of cases, most would be hard pressed to be able to discuss any of it from any kind of academic perspective and while this one is definitely tilted in a certain direction, it is still a good introduction.

The author brings up many of the well known cases but spent time corresponding with David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) and Dennis Rader (BTK). Both men offer observations to the author about their own cases as well as commentary on his theories. It will be up to each individual to consider the validity and veracity of what these men have to say about serial killing and about their own crimes.

This is a good introductory sociology text written from a functionalist perspective. For a student wanting to write an essay on this subject, this would be a good text to use as reference material. For the average reader with an interest and basic understanding of sociology, its accessible - not too dry but definitely not "true Crime" as one would find in most bookstores. What is refreshing for the average reader is an academic book that can be useful in furthering a discussion about the topic even if one does not subscribe to the theory behind it. ( )
  ozzieslim | Feb 13, 2015 |
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"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" --… (more)

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