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Publisher's Summary

In the horrifying annals of American crime, the infamous names of brutal killers such as Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy, and Berkowitz are writ large in the imaginations of a public both horrified and hypnotized by their monstrous, murderous acts. But for every celebrity psychopath who's gotten ink for spilling blood, there's a bevy of all-but-forgotten homicidal fiends studding the bloody margins of US history. In this book you'll meet:

  • Robert Irwin, "The Mad Sculptor": He longed to use his carving skills on the woman he loved, but had to settle for making short work of her mother and sister instead.
  • Peter Robinson, "The Tell-Tale Heart Killer": It took two days and four tries for him to finish off his victim, but no time at all for keen-eyed cops to spot the fatal flaw in his floor plan.
  • Anton Probst, "The Monster in the Shape of a Man": The ax-murdering immigrant's systematic slaughter of all eight members of a Pennsylvania farm family matched the savagery of the Manson murders a century later.
  • Edward H. Rulloff, "The Man of Two Lives": A genuine Jekyll and Hyde, his brilliant scholarship disguised his bloodthirsty brutality.

©2012 Harold Schechter (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about Psycho USA

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

True crime enthusiast's dream

Excellent collection of unusual cases that people have forgotten. Well organized and well written.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Psycho USA

I love Harold Schechter. He's my favorite true crime author. You definitely can tell he's an English professor. His writing style and vocabulary are impeccable. If you like historical true crime, you will love him. This is a compilation of several crimes. He also has books on a single subject like Albert Fish, Ed Gein, H.H. Holmes etc.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to listen to.

I'm not sure if it is the narrator or how the stories jump around so much, but I had a hard time listening to this. I found myself zoning out which usually doesn't happen to me! But, there were some killers that I truly never heard of, so that was cool... When the book was actually able to keep my attention. Haha.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

So Many Cases!

Story – 4.5/5
Narration – 4.5/5

In “Psycho USA”, Harold Schechter catalogues many of the lesser-known serial murderers in the USA’s crime history.

This book is amazing if you like this subject. It just goes on and on, with case after case of grisly crimes! It’s almost too much, so you may want to treat this like an anthology to be taken in bites. Schechter delves into each case with enough detail to give one a good sense of the crime, but doesn’t include too much detail which allows the inclusion of so many cases.

Recommendation – if you’re interested in serial killers, then by all means, get it!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring....

It's a little...Colonel Mustard in the libray with the cyanide tablets. Its wasn't sensational enough for today's audience. We've seen and heard it all. And this book was a lullaby putting me to sleep. For the first however long it was (it seemed like hours) every story was dam near exactly the same as the last one. Some crazy greedy significant other or the neighborhood weirdo dipping into their personal cyanide stash, which i guess you could get at any CVS or Walgreens back in the day, and putting in their mash potatoes or mixing it in with their beer. THE END . There I just saved you some time. Your Welcome

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great read

engrossing tales of crimes in the past. very detailed analysis of the criminals and what drove them to kill.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Like listening to someone read a card catalog...

What would have made Psycho USA better?

A story--any kind of story--would have made this title better. It's like someone got together a whole bunch of newspaper articles from the pre-internet era, culled the sensationalism--not just sensationalism but really anything that might lead to an emotional response--and began to read.

What was most disappointing about Harold Schechter’s story?

There was no story. No connection between the vignettes, no higher-order commentary or analysis. No historical context. Just endless droning.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator didn't have a lot to work with, but in what must have been an effort to imbue the text with some sort of interest, he adds a sing-song element to his reading that makes it come off rather cartoon-like.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This title may have some redeeming qualities, but several chapters were enough to get me to stop looking.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

No more murder ballads!

I thought this book was great. I was a little hesitant because of some of the reviews, but I decided to give it a chance and I'm glad I did. The cases are relatively short, but still long enough to be interesting and packed with details. There was one in particular that had me so invested that when it got to the reveal of what happened to the victim I had to stop what I was doing and take a break for a few minutes because... wow. Some of the cases are a little similar but none are repetitive. All in all I would recommend this book.

The reason I took a star off is because if there was a murder ballad written for a case the author insisted in including it, and bonus! One case had two! I never knew what a murder ballad was, but now I know they're bad poetry that makes up stories about murder cases and if I ever hear one again I'm going to scream.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

well read well written

finaly a book without a narator that has a speach impediment....seriously, why is so hard to find someone that can read with inflection without a lisp? This book is very interesting , had no idea about most of these crimes.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lots of unknown crimes!

Loads & of unheard stories. Loved the quotes at the end. All so unfortunately true.