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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Helen Morrison has profiled more than 80 serial killers around the world. What she has learned about them will shatter every assumption you've ever had about the most notorious killers known to man.

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Boring reader,boring writing

As a psychiatric nurse, I have always been intrigued by the minds of serial killers. I had hoped to hear a really detailed , and interesting account of these men's lives and that of their families. It is possible to have written something that really made you KNOW those men, know their wives,mothers , fathers, etc but this book left one wondering who they were. You get absolutely no feeling for the personality of the man who committed the crimes.
Worse still, the author also read the book and read it in a slow, boring monotone with pauses in the middle of sentences that made no sense and no feeling in her voice to give you any idea at all how SHE felt during her exposure to them.
I'll stick with Ann Rule's books. She may not have the creds that Dr. Morrison has (maybe she does. I don't recall her background) but at least she can write.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Bandera, TX, USA
  • 04-03-05

Left sitting in a hole.

I found that the book was full of great information and seemed to comply with a lot of information I've read on serial killers, which was to my dismay. The one "controversial" fact outlined in this book was the genetic factor of serial killers which I felt the author didn't touch on nearly enough and had no research backing up her argument. She excuses this fact and just leaves you with a feeling of "that's plausable". If you go into this book not expecting a conclusion, you will be satisfied.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very disapointing

This is mostly a meadering, self-indulgent book. The author spends too much time telling us how wonderful a person she is and not enough time on the subject matter.

I can highly recommend a book called 'Mindhunter' by John Douglas on serial killers. It's available on audio CD (published by Recorded Books) and is a brilliant listen. Hopefully Audible will offer it for download soon.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Betty
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 06-17-09

This book is a crime

Sorry about that ; 0 but it was torture trying to listen to it.
The subject is one I'm fascinated by, but Morrison
managed to make it not just dull, but painful.

It's unfocused, and full of unrelated personal anecdotes, but what drove me to finally shut it off was when I realized her excessive rhetoric, writers cliches, and inability to be concise was
not a glitch, it's her writing style, and the subject was lost underneath it.

The woman cannot use an absolute word like "never" without adding something like
"not when he was a teenager, not when he fell of his bike, not when he was on trial, not when he was convicted.. never.
Or after "No one"
Not the F.B.I not the Police, not the Lawyers, not the psychiatrists..

Okay, No one means no one. WE GOT IT!

Additionally, she didn't seem aware that using four bland *and* redudant adjectives has the opposite of the intended effect.

And do we really need to hear
"As spring turned to summer, and summer to fall and fall to winter.."
I felt like I had been listening to 4 hours of grade 9 essays

Ironically, when discussing her cases, and detail was necessary, it wasn't there. I expected far more from someone directly involved in profiling.
Where was her editor? if all the garbage had been eliminated this would have been about 30 minutes long.

She made me admire all the more authors such as Joseph Wambaugh, who's judicious use of language and pointed descriptions hone the subject, not drown it.

Admittedly what I found intolerable would not bother everyone to the same extent. But there's not enough (or any) new, or intriguing information to make it worth wading through.

A definite pass.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Vikki
  • WICHITA, KS, United States
  • 06-23-07

I'd give it ZERO stars...

If that were an option here. I hated this book. It is one of the most boring and self-serving books I've ever listened to (or read). I don't care about this woman having John Wayne Gacy's brain in her basement! I mean, what IS the point in that? He had already been autopsied and the brain had been looked at (no abnormalities) so why would she keep his brain in her basement? To be shocking? Not shocking to me, I think it borderlines on ridiculous. SAVE YOUR MONEY.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

needed a ghostwriter

i was all set to buy this book when my local library called to say they had it. i checked it out and was delighted that i hadn't wasted a book credit buying it. while the subject matter is fascinating, the author should have had it ghostwritten and stuck to what she knows. just because you are intelligent and have vast experience with a subject doesn't make you a writer, as proven by this book. this was a mishmash of vague opinions, muddled hypotheses and long-winded speculation. the book goes nowhere, slowly and painfully.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • G Barth
  • Cambridge, MA, United States
  • 10-19-04

Listen with the lights on

This is a terrifying audiobook. Gruesome--and it isn't just the gore and behavior of the killers that made me at times take a pause in the reading. Clearly, the author has restrained herself. But the real terror comes in some of the conclusions she has reached after a career of studying these people: serial killers kill without motive; they have no developed personality structure; they can ACT like healthy people; serial murder for them is an addiction. That being said, the author has some very strong opinions about these people and how to regard them: not as retarded, not as monsters per se, but as very complex puzzles to be understood---not out of academic interest but becuase we might better respond to serial killers in the future.Her most controversial statements have to do with whether nature or nurture creates serial killers---and she comes down firmly and totally on biology. "The serial killer is created before conception..."---she believes the role of DNA is key. And, this audiobook touches on the ethical implications of knowing that early whether a child has a propensity for serial murder. This audiobook would have been better if it had spent more time on those issues.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • krista
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 10-11-04

Disturbingly interesting

I must confess an absolute facination with serial killers, more for their inherent ability to act without moral or ethical compass, than for their actions, specifically. Morrison, while a gifted profiler, unfortunately is not equally gifted as the narrator of her own work. This failure notwithstanding, the material covered was horrifingly interesting and kept me rapt, though only up to the point in which she waxes at length on her views regarding the neccesity of stem cell research used for the study of serial killers currently in captivity. Overall, her assertion that serial killers are "born" rather than "reared" is worth the price of listening.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An Interesting Theory

One you get past Dr. Morrison's bragging about her life and lifestyle, this is a very interesting and detailed study of serial killers. Her reading style is bit stiff, but not difficult for listening. Following Dr. Morrison's experiences and watching them build into her theory about serial killer behavior is interesting and educational.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pretty Good!

This book is sort of like an introduction into
some of the world's most famous criminals. It
makes you want to learn more information about
some of them and the author came up with some great consistancy's with all serial killers.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Maria
  • 01-27-12

Errors throw this book into doubt for me

I listened to this read with interest but am peeved at two things. The first is that the author expressed her opinion about Rose West being unlikely to have killed anyone. Science has proved the guilt of Rose West and a jury of her peers found her guilty. The second point that caused me to be peeved is that Helen Morrison named the Moors Murderers as Myra Brady and Ian Hinckley. I had to review this part several times in case I mis heard. I did not. These errors are insulting and throw the entire book into doubt for me. I can not trust the authors words. Sorry for being so negative.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • AndyMackenzie
  • 10-02-06

Still worth a read.

Could have been more analytical... Too short!! 30 years of assessing these people, you would have thought it would be more in-depth. Still worth a read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Adam
  • 02-14-10

Whats the conclusion?

I really enjoyed listening to this audio book, she describes her dealings with serial killers really well and makes you want to keep listening, I listened to it all in one day.

As a criminology student interested in serial killers I thought that this book would give me a better understanding of why people become serial killers, but the conclusion was very vague seeing as she has spent many years with and looking into serial killers.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • 05-31-11


I couldn't stop listening to this. A very informative and fascinating book. I was sad when it ended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Holly H.
  • 09-13-17


Absolutely fascinating, an incredible insight into the mind of a serial killer. Thoroughly recommend, brilliant

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  • Desolation Row
  • 05-04-17

who fact checked this?!

interesting theory that could have been explained in 1 hour. writer already had me sceptical when she stated a finger began to blister on a murderer whom she had under hypnosis because he was remembering burning it after a murder.To claim sereal murdering is a disease and have no clear argument, was frustrating. Then the fact she seems to think Rose West never murdered (not quite sure how Fred was able to kill Charmaine while he was in prison) and almost described her as a victim! maddening! sorry I was willing to hear the theory but there is no evidence in the book. interesting stories to a degree about her interactions with murderers but this is fillered with gory details about murders that do not hold relevance to her argument, almost just to sell the book.

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  • Miss L ttophi
  • 02-27-17

grate read

a very well wrote book helped me with my crimal profileing course narated well intresting

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Annabella Cichon
  • 10-18-16

Don't Bother

What would have made My Life Among the Serial Killers better?

Numerous mispronunciations of words. Pheromones, not pheromes, for example. Bespectacled, not bespeckled.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Helen Morrison?

Anyone else please

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from My Life Among the Serial Killers?

Disjointed in parts. Chapters that start without the reader knowing whom it's about, it doesn't flow