Book Review: Killer Book of Serial Killers

Posted May 16th, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments


Title: Killer Book of Serial Killers
Author:  Tom & Michael Philbin
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Version Read: paperback (Library)
Publication Date: January 1st, 2009
Categories: crime, facts, forensics, non fiction, special interest

Summary (Goodreads): The Killer Book of Serial Killers is the ultimate resource (and gift) for any true crime fan and student of the bizarre world of serial killers. Filled with stories, trivia, quizzes, quotes, photos, and odd facts about the world’s most notorious murderers, this is the perfect bathroom reader for anyone fascinated with serial killers. The stories and trivia cover such killers as: John Wayne Gacy Ted Bundy The BTK Killer Jack the Ripper The Green River Killer Serial killers around the world and many more.
Bathroom readers have enjoyed considerable success as a format, selling millions of copies. The Killer Book series brings this format to the rabid true crime audience. Including more than 40 black & white photos, this is a must for true crime fans.

The Killer Book of Serial Killers was an interesting, if slightly disturbing read. If you like those true-life forensics shows then you should find this to be a interesting read.

The Killer Book of Serial Killers was like a series of overviews about some of the more notorious serial killers in history. I liked the fact that it wasn’t just American serial killers, although that was the main focus of the book. They also did an overview of some of the most notorious overseas killers, including Australia’s most notorious murderer, Ivan Milat who is quite well known here, but not so well known overseas.

Some reviews were complaining that there was a lack of information about the serial killers, especially those who are still in jail, and a lack of details. But as the authors state in their introduction, they had no intention of grossing people out with the information they were sharing, just allowing people to be informed about various serial killers. Sort of like ‘here’s the basic info about their victims/crimes, here’s some interesting facts about their personalities and their childhoods’ go forth and read. It wasn’t supposed to be in depth, and in fact there were some killers – particularly some of the international ones, where not a lot of detail is really known about their crimes in anycase – only what they have ‘confessed’ to.

I thought the way they presented certain bits of information, as almost pop quiz style snippets, was a good way to break up what is a rather heavy subject matter. You learnt something interesting or disturbing, depending on the killer, whilst the textbook style kept it from being too macabre. I personally don’t mind macabre, but if you wanted to dip your toes into this subject, The Killer Book of Serial Killers is a great way to start.


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