Book Review of ‘The Serial Killer Files, The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Murders’

The Serial Killer Files,
The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Murders

Written By: Harold Schechter
Published By: A Ballantine Book, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, USA, 2003, First Edition, 422 pages, softcover (9.1 x 7.4 inches)
ISBN 978-0-345-46566-0

The Serial Killer Files is an overflowing compendium of Serial Killer facts and data which will inform you and keep you riveted!”

If someone thinks about a serial killer, they often imagine a person who is insane and out of control. In many cases these things are true.
There are usually some common root problems and issues linking serial killers and many of these links are found in their childhoods and the abuse and neglect they received during those formative years. This certainly is not an excuse for their horrifying actions or their unacceptable behaviour, though it really does start to make some sense if you reflect on it.
If children are subjected to sexual and psychological abuse from loved ones and/or strangers, are ridiculed, tortured, abandoned and neglected, it is common sense that they are not necessarily going to grow up into healthy, productive members of society. This isn’t to say that all, or even most people who grow up in this type of environment will turn out ‘badly’, but it should make us stop and think about how it is possible for an innocent child to be turned into such a crazed and vicious killer.
Inside The Serial Killer Files there are nine chapters, each covering a variety of relevant topics. Here a list of the Chapter Headings and a sampling of the topic’s discussed within:

Chapter One: What It Means – Origin of the Term, Definitions, Psychopath vs. Psychotic, Beyond Madness…

Chapter Two: Who They Are – Then Traits of Serial Killers, Warning Signs, Young and Old, Medical monsters, Nicknames…

Chapter Three: A History Of Serial Murder – Serial Murder: Old as Sin, Grim Fairy Tales, Serial Slaughter Through the Ages

Chapter Four: Gallery Of Evil, Ten American Monsters – H.H. Holmes, Albert Fish, Edward Gein, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahmer…

Chapter Five: Sex And The Serial Killer – Perversions, Sadism, Transvestism, Cannibalism, Pedophilia…

Chapter Six: Why They Kill – Atavism, Brain Damage, Child Abuse, Mother Hate, Adoption, Copycats…

Chapter Seven: Evil In Action – Triggers, Hunting Grounds, Prey, Signature, Ritual, MO, Methods, Torture, Trophies…

Chapter Eight: How It Ends – Profiling, Capture, Suicide, Punishment, Unsolved…

Chapter Nine: Serial Killer Culture – Fun with Serial Killers, Art, Music, Literature, Murderbilia…

Included in this book are many case studies, letters from serial killers, some pictures, comic drawings and pictures of some Serial Killer Trading cards, recommended reading material at the end of each topic, quotes from some serial killers, an index and A True-Crime Bibliography.

The Serial Killer Files, The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Murders is a very informative and thought-provoking book.
***It is very graphic and contains images and descriptions of crimes, tortures and other atrocities which were carried out by the serial killers, mass murderers, spree killers and so on.
This book is not for the weak of stomach or weak of mind and it simply ‘might not be your cup of tea’. If you make an effort to remain objective (as humanly possible) about the unsettling content in this hefty book, you will learn a lot about “Who, What, Where, How, and Why’s” of these killers and what has happened in each case.
Even though the content is very explicit and chilling, I feel that I have gained a lot of insight from reading it and I highly recommend it!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it


Link to the Author’s Website:
Link to the Publisher’s Website:


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