I am one of those annoying people that marks her books up underlining, highlighting, writing motes in the margins and sometimes arguing with the author.
Right now I am reading Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky. It is not a bad book, it is a little dated (BTK was still unidentified) and I have made many notes in the margins with updates.
I am going to write more specifics as I read along but right now I want to say that the book is very swayed by the author’s experience. When he writes about the serial killers in the 1960′s you can tell that the book was not written by an expert in sociology or in criminal behavior. He talks about some events as if the entire world saw it that way, but in reality it is his opinion. Usually rather than take away from the book it adds to it with a personal perspective that ‘expert’ authored books sometimes miss.
The biggest problem with his lack of expertise is that he concentrates more on the ‘popular’ Serial Killers and often quotes or references other true crime writers rather than official sources. When explaining the Organized Serial Killer he has 40 pages on Ted Bundy and mostly refers to things written by Ann Rule. I am not saying that is a bad thing in itself but the author then spends a mere 1 paragraph explaining the disorganized killer by using Miguel Rivera. The fact that the author choose to delve so deeply into Bundy, even after admitting that there are volumes upon volumes already on Bundy and then only glossing over on the opposite side is telling.
In all fairness Mr. Vronsky admits right off that he is not an expert. His interest in the subject was spurred by having fleeting meetings with 2 serial killers in his lifetime. He bumped into Richard Cottingham (nicknamed the New York Torso Killer) in a motel in NY and spoke briefly with Andrei Chikatilo (The Rostov Ripper) in Russia while making a documentary.
I am still pretty much in the beginning chapters. The book is a good read but it is definitely not a deep probe into the mind of serial killers as of yet.
I’ll write more later.