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The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (Pocket Books True Crime) Paperback – November 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0671020743 ISBN-10: 0671020749

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Paperback, November 1, 1997
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Product Details

  • Series: Pocket Books True Crime
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671020749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671020743
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers is a lighthearted but reasonably tasteful collection of information about serial killers, by a respected historian of crime (Harold Schechter) and the author of Human Monsters (David Everitt). It includes individual entries devoted to the most famous killers from all over the world, and amusing sections devoted to such topics as black widows, bluebeards, killer couples, Lustmord, Nazi buffs, power tools, pyromania, and trophies. There are also useful tips for further ventures into art, movies, books, zines, music, and tourist attractions devoted to serial killers. The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers is cross-indexed, with numerous black-and-white illustrations. --Fiona Webster

About the Author

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of the nonfiction books Fatal, Fiend, Bestial, Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and, with David Everitt, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. He is also the author of Nevermore and The Hum Bug, the acclaimed historical novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in New York State.

More About the Author

Harold Schechter is an American true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where his PhD director was Leslie Fiedler. He is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.Schechter is married to poet Kimiko Hahn. He has two daughters from a previous marriage: the writer Lauren Oliver and professor of philosophy Elizabeth Schechter. His newest book, The Mad Sculptor, (about a sensational triple murder at Beekman Place in New York City in 1937) will be published in February 2014.

Praise for THE MAD SCULPTOR:

"Ambitious, bold, and evocative, Schechter's storytelling grabs the reader in a similar manner to Capote's searing In Cold Blood." --Publishers Weekly
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-544-11431-9

"Perfect for readers who enjoy the stories of the sensationalistic press of the 1930s and its crass exploitation of the details of horrific murders." - Kirkus
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/harold-schechter/the-mad-sculptor/



Customer Reviews

By mid-way through the book it becomes repetitive and boring.
Karen McMahon
This book goes vastly far into the knowledge of Serial killers.
Gunther Haagendazs
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about true crime.
Andrea4love@yahoo.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bulger on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
A quick caveat for starters: after reading this book in one quick sitting, I feel a little disturbed. If the parade of violence and deviant sexual behavior that this book presents fails to have a similar effect upon you, then you are either jaded or deviant yourself. By themselves, the descriptions of the childhood home lives of most of the killers described within these pages are horrifying beyond belief.
That said, the authors touch on every aspect of serial murder with which I was previously familiar, as well as a great deal more. The only problem is that you will have to read the book cover to cover to find most of it. Juan Corona, for example, is to be found only under the entry "Orchards" (? ), apparently because many of his victims were buried in them. The only other apparent reason for this entry is a murder case, also involving corpse disposal in an orchard, that has nothing whatsoever to do with serial killers. One must look in similarly obscure entries to find the Green River killer (still the most prolific American serial killer in terms of confirmed victims), the notorious 16th-century French nobleman Gilles de Rais, whose behavior parallels that of some modern serial killers quite closely (with the exception of his high position in society), or South America's Pedro Lopez, the "Monster of the Andes."
In short, this is not an encyclopedia that is meant as a real reference work of any sort; the "encyclopedia" aspect is merely a convenient format that the authors use to relate capsule-sized anecdotes and factoids. A distinct bias in the entries is also obvious--the reader is treated to mention of Ed Gein, Albert Fish and H.H.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Roulette on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
As far as an educational/literary feast is concerned, this isn't much more than a midnight snack. I generally enjoy Schechter's single-subject documentations(i.e.-Bestial, Deviant, Deranged....all very good books), but he laid an egg with this one. It is a valuable source for juvenile cheap thrills, but as a reference guide it is severely lacking. You would be better off checking out M. Newton's Encyclopedia Of Serial Killers or Colin Wilson's Encyclopedia Of Modern Murder. The New Murderer's Who's Who & Human Monsters are also worthwhile, informative & accurate books on serial killers. Don't get me wrong here, this is a fun and entertaining book on the subject. However, if you are getting your information from this kind of book you are going to lose a lot of arguments. There are much better books on the subject of serial murder waiting to join the others on your bookshelf. All this having been said, it should be noted that I am a stickler for details and could be a bit jaded from having read so many better books on serial murder.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Haden on September 24, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book, despite its graphic style, is readable and is useful for authors. It is, as its name indicates, structured more for reference than reading (though it can be read straight through-I did). There is an appendix on Cunanan and the Versace slaying. I continue to use it for reference data.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Greg on December 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in serial killers, I highly reccommend reading this book. It covers more than just serial killers though. It covers anything and everything having to do with serial killers. It doesn't just cover the most famous serial killers, it covers other ones you probably have never heard of and gives chilling details of some of their vicious crimes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Deborah K. Dobbins VINE VOICE on June 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, is not an A-Z guide to the killers as the title implies.

There are no indexes or chapter guides to look up specific killers. Instead it has sections A through Z that list places and things. One would think that the individual killers would be listed under the respective letters such as Ted Bundy in the T section or in the B's under Bundy,Ted. This book rather lists (for example) in section "A" Alligators and then gives a couple paragraphs about which killer and how they were utilized in the crimes.. and in section "B" there are sections on Bathtubs and Body Parts; and yet again with a couple paragraphs each about which killer and how these items were utilized.

While there are a 6-7 killers that have their own sections dedicated under the respective letters, it doesn't really matter because they are already discussed under dozens of different A-Z listings in this book. This book does have good information and fun facts, but the format doesn't allow for reasearch of individual killers.

For the average reader, this is good to read a couple chapters at a time over several weeks, and you can skip around to different chapters and go back to others later. I will give this three stars as it has some good info and light hearted dark humor.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grrrlntereptid13 on April 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
As an avid serial killer fan and generally morbid person, I naturally gravitated to this book, rationalizing the purchase with the fact that even though I possessed every other individual serial killer book and could recite Richard Ramirez's speach at his trial at 3:00 AM, I didn't have an encyclopedia about all, and really, ...it's fairly cheap compared to its rival, 'The Serial Killer Encyclopedia'.... I suppose that's where some could find a problem- true crime fans are notorious collectors (of memorabilia and knowledge both), and I think some of us were disappointed with the brevity of which our faves were discussed, or sometimes downright slandered, as is the case with the Night Stalker himself, whom the authors quite noticably do not appreciate. Tied to that is the fact that I found myself correcting some facts, grammatical and factual. However, I greatly enjoyed reading odd facts and being introduced to lesser-known killers, as well as some critques of appropriate books and movies. I read the thing straight through, all 357 pages of it, but I would discourage others from doing the same, simply because it gets understandably repititive and begins to overlap. This book functions best as a referance piece, to be read sparatically. Nonetheless, I still believe this a good, solid work and a great starting piece for all fans.
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