Morrison, a leading expert on serial killers, has spent as many as 400 hours alone with depraved murderers. In My Life Among the Serial Killers, Dr. Morrison relates how she profiled Richard Otto Macek, who chewed on his victims' body parts, stalked Dr. Morrison, then believed she was his wife. She conducted the last interview with Ed Gein, the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. John Wayne Gacy, the clown-obsessed killer of young men, sent her crazed Christmas cards, and gave her his paintings as presents. Dr. Morrison has received letters from killers, read their diaries and journals, evaluated crime scenes, testified at their trials, and studied photos of the gruesome carnage. She has interviewed the families of the victims, and the spouses and parents of the killers.
Through it all, Dr. Morrison's goal has been to discover the reasons why serial killers are compelled to murder, how they choose their victims, and what we can do to prevent their crimes in the future. Her provocative conclusions will stun you.
©2004 Helen Morrison and Harold Goldberg; (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
While the book initially captured my interest, I soon developed a dislike for Helen Morrison. While she claims to take a "scientific" approach to serial killers, she provides nothing but untestable theories. These include the notion that childhood suppositories contributed to John Wayne Gacy's crimes, yet, one day we will be able to use genetic screens to eradicate serial killing. She never provides justification for her belief that such killers are not responsible for their actions, save the occasional vague, Freudian term. I am not arguing that the book is boring, just infuriating.
I thought this was a very interesting book which gave a lot of insight into what might make a serial killer's mind tick. The author seemed to me to be very knowledgeable and objective in her writing and there was probably only one point that I might have disagreed with and that is that serial killers are born that way. If you like psychology this is very interesting but it's not for the weak stomached because it does go into some detail about the crimes that are very unpleasant.
I expected a combination of the prurient and the sociological in this book, what I found was a series of paper-thin psychological profiles and an alarming call for genetic testing in childhood to determine who is a serial killer - not quite that simple a case, I admit, but not far from it...
The title of this work is a bit misleading. It's a little short on both the author's life and the serial killer aspect. While there are some interesting observations, I got tired of the author reassuring readers that she won't share her experiences with her kids. <yawn>
I appreciate the clinical detail provided! It lends to the credibility and authenticity of the author's narrative, as opposed to other "true crime" series, that derived from media reports.
Morrison's research and narrative are as fascinating as perhaps they are disturbing. Society in general seems to crave the mystery and intrigue of stories about murder and the criminals who commit murder, as entertainment. Most murder mystery movies and books are fiction. I love the impact of true accounts shared here intelligently by Dr Morrison, sobering, shocking and quite informative. Anyone who loves Forensic File type of story telling as much as I do, will love this recording.
X Files Freak
This book was interesting, but a bit scary. I think it's scary cause serial killers look like everyone else. It's their thinking their actions that sets them apart. The ones described in this book had no feelings or conscience about those they harmed or killed. Several felt as if they were superior to their victims and most everyone else.
The book provided some interesting insights into the personality of serial killers. Their interaction with the author during interviews was fascinating. Unfortunately, the book had parts that were surplusage, including passages about the author's personal life that were uneccessary and trite. Overall the book lacked a focus and intensity appropriate to the subject.
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