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A Need to Kill Mass Market Paperback – March 2, 1991


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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I have spent years covering the crimes of Nebraska Serial Child killer John Joubert--and have written what I believe to be the definitive book on his case.  In the spirit of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood  my book is written as a non-fiction novel, telling the story from all angles.

In a series of face-to-face interviews, Joubert explains to me in detail what drove his "need to kill."

This book is a must-read for those who follow true-crime history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Back in his own world, John Joubert lay on the bed. Over and over again, he relived the crime.  Once more he saw the paperboy lying bound in the weeds, listened to his pleas for mercy, felt the knife cutting into the young flesh.

Over and over.

It had been perfect.  Everything had gone as planned.  He lay back on the bed pleasantly tired and listened to his heart hammering in his chest.  This morning, he had taken his fantasies a step further, and he found that he liked the feeling of power it gave him.

Now, drowsy and satisfied, the airman drifted off to sleep, his ears still ringing with the shouts:

"Please don't kill me.  Please." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (March 2, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804107858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804107853
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Mark Pettit is the author of "A Need to Kill: The True-Crime Account of John Joubert, Nebraska's Most Notorious Serial Child Killer."

This special 30th Anniversary Edition of Pettit's book reveals never before seen details and evidence from Joubert's case obtained through a series of exclusive face-to-face death row interviews Pettit conducted with Joubert and an exhaustive review of the evidence in the case. During the interviews, Joubert confesses to a third murder in Maine and admits to a string of violent crimes leading up to the murders of his young victims.

Pettit is a former TV News anchorman and investigative reporter (CNN,WXIA-TV,KMTV-3) and has won three Emmy awards for his work.

Today, Pettit is CEO of Creaxion, one of the nation's leading marketing firms and a signature contributor to The Huffington Post.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By stephanie queen on August 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a well-written true account of the Nebraska serial killer, John Joubert, who murdered three young boys in the early 1980's. The author did an excellent job of holding my interest in a morbid subject, I'll admit I'm hooked on true crime, but this is surprisingly good. Some tc books are dull dry, and boring but not this one. It's more like a fictional thriller but the sad fact is it's true. It was published in 1990, and I got on the 'net to see what happened to this innocent faced young man who harbored a horrible compulsion to mutilate children before he graduated to murder. It's been almost 20 years since he committed his gruesome crimes and I won't tell you the ending but I highly reccomend it to true crime buffs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By barker on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A shattering story carefully investigated and captivating from the very beginning. I could not put it down. The skill and compassion used to present his victims and the families backgrounds brought me to tears. As a parent I lived through their desperation and emotions. His investigative techniques were so detailed you felt you were present in the time period this took place. I would recommend this book to all true crime fans.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kindleman on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This reads like a New Yorker piece--well-researched and full of pathos. For true crime books details are everything. The author, as a reporter who covered the original crime and then its unfolding over time, takes us on a remarkable journey that still hasn't sorted itself out today (reporter is in lawsuit to get more information out of the state government). It's somewhat unusual for a reporter to write a book about a murder that took place so long ago. This is good news from a story-telling perspective because you can count on the fact that reporters know how to write and keep the reader's attention. A worthy addition to the library of True Crime aficionados.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dan on October 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book had to be written, in order to show that some people are simply irredeemable.

I felt that the author dragged some parts out, especially the hypnosis description.

I would still have liked to see Joubert have been made to pay with life in solitray confinement or at hard labor. But while I generally oppose the death penalty, I can't call it misapplied in this case, nor will I shed a tear for the condemned.

It's only been a month since the author filed suit to make Joubert's death row drawings public. I hope he prevails.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. on October 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book drew me in from the beginning and never let me go. I especially liked that it was told from the reporter's perspective. I felt like I was face-to-face with the killer and an eye witness to his crimes. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. This was a horrible story told truthfully yet respectfully by Mr. Pettit. I highly recommend his book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kathleen m. on January 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this was a really good book; not too long or short. Sad but interesting. I couldn't put it down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Justin Bousquet on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"A Need to Kill" was a very well written book by mister Mark Pettit. It kept me in suspense and disbelief yearning to read more with every turn of the page. Mr. Pettit described the story in such detail it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I am in such aw how everything was meticulously captured from the temperature in the air, clothes people were wearing, faces, atmosphere, etc. that I felt like I was present when all of this took place. John Joubert was obviously a very disturbed man but am relieved he decided to open up and share his story with the persistence of Mark Pettit. I feel what Mark Pettit has shared in this story can bring some closure to the families and people involved during these horrific crimes. My heart and prayers go out to the families who lost their boys, the siblings who lost their brother, the kids who lost their friend, and the entire towns people who will ever be changed. If you enjoy a good read I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book and share your feedback.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Newell on January 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I usually enjoy true crime accounts and thought this one might be a decent one with a sad subject. I did finish it but found it to contain excessive fluff and verbiage. Many additions of unimportant details and even people do nothing to help garner the facts of what happened. The mentioning of Profiler Ressler seems only to help validate the importance of the book and/or author. This book should have been focused less on descriptions of detectives and other law enforcement or the cold in the winter and more on the people who truly mattered. While I was glad to see the devotion of the people assigned to the cases, this book was not written as an expose on the police.
The writing itself was sophomoric. I felt the author had no basic outline of how is story should be presented. Some things were left undone. For instance, why was it continually said that Joubert had kept them for sometime but the narration does not tell us why anyone thought that Joubert had kept the boys. As the story is told there was little time spent with either child-akin to a blitz attack and gone. Why the discrepancy? The difference makes a big difference in understanding the killing and the killer.
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