Over the course of twenty-five years, Dr. Helen Morrison has profiled more than eighty serial killers around the world. What she learned about them will shatter every assumption you've ever had about the most notorious criminals known to man.Judging by appearances, Dr. Helen Morrison has an ordinary life in the suburbs of a major city. She has a physician husband, two children, and a thriving psychiatric clinic. But her life is much more than that. She is one of the country's leading experts on serial killers, and has spent as many as four hundred hours alone in a room with depraved murderers, digging deep into killers' psyches in ways no profiler before ever has.
In My Life Among the Serial Killers, Dr. Morrison relates how she profiled the Mad Biter, Richard Otto Macek, who chewed on his victims' body parts, stalked Dr. Morrison, then believed she was his wife. She did the last interview with Ed Gein, who was 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. Then there was Atlanta child killer Wayne Williams; rapist turned murderer Bobby Joe Long; England's Fred and Rosemary West, who killed girls and women in their "House of Horrors"; and Brazil's deadliest killer of children, Marcelo Costa de Andrade.
Dr. Morrison has received hundreds of 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 -- to gain a deeper understanding of the killer's environment and the public persona he adopts. She has also studied serial killers throughout history and shows how this is not a recent phenomenon with psychological autopsies of the fifteenth-century French war hero Gilles de Rais, the sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Bathory, H. H. Holmes of the late ninteenth century, and Albert Fish of the Roaring Twenties.
Through it all, Dr. Morrison has been on a mission 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.
With serial killers a hot topic in the wake of Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning performance in Monster, forensic psychiatrist Morrison's memoir of working with more than 80 serial killers couldn't be more timely. The author's countless hours of interviews with John Wayne Gacy and others of his ilk have led her to a controversial conclusion: she believes there's a serial killer gene ("He is a serial killer when he is a fetus, even as soon as sperm meets egg to create the genes of a new person"). Unfortunately, she offers little in support of this deterministic view, and she will offend some readers with an implied exoneration of criminals whom she describes as "completely unaware of the process leading up to murder," despite the detailed planning and preparation displayed by many of them. And even readers who are willing to have an open mind about Morrison's theories are likely to find some aspects of her report a little creepy, as when she discusses a treasured trophy she keeps in her basement: "I place John Gacy's brain back in the box because my kids are calling for me upstairs." Forecasts: 60 Minutes II has committed to a profile with Dr. Morrison to air May 5. The author will appear live on the Today show on May 6, with more media appearances in the days to follow, including with Paula Zahn on CNN and Chuck Scarborough on MSNBC. Expect an initial surge in sales.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Couldn’t put it down
One of my favorites!
The author really let's you know what's in the minds of these brutal murderers. Thank you Doc!
The author certainly is an expert in the field, if not THE expert. The writing style is good, a little clunky at times. It definitely was different than other books on the subject. Overall it's an interesting book by a highly qualified author.