Jonathan Kellerman is best known as the author of a series of bestselling suspense novels starring psychologist sleuth Dr. Alex Delaware, but his nonliterary background is as a children's clinical psychologist. In Savage Spawn
, inspired by the schoolyard shootings that took place in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Springfield, Oregon, in 1998, he brings his training to bear on the question of how children can become cold-blooded killers. Kellerman has as much--perhaps more--to say about the broader issue of the nature of psychopathy, however, than he does about youth violence, though he does occasionally bring the two themes together. But Savage Spawn
is essentially a hundred-page-plus op-ed piece rooted in Kellerman's belief that there are fundamentally bad people in the world and that the response to the perpetrators of violent acts such as the shooting at Jonesboro should be to "lock them up till they die." (Although published shortly after the multiple-death shooting in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, the book was clearly written before this incident took place.) Readers may ultimately prefer more detailed considerations such as William Pollack's Real Boys
or Lost Boys
, by James Garbarino.
From Publishers Weekly
Novelist Kellerman, a child psychologist who often uses the fictional character of Dr. Alex Delaware as his foil, here tackles the hot topic of violent children in a nonfiction formatApart of the ongoing Library of Contemporary Thought series. Using the recent school shootings in Oregon, Arkansas and Colorado as a hook, he vents his own views on "childhood criminality as a social destructor." Relying on personal case histories, he provides a general profile for kiddie psychopaths. Mostly boys, from all kinds of backgrounds, these habitually violent kids are marked by their bravado and lack of conscience. In short, they're cold-blooded monsters who, when given access to guns, become deadly threats. Kellerman's personal views can be shrill, even alarmist, as he rails against such ills as "Marxist-derived social science norms," yet this novelist-on-a-soapbox diatribe plays convincingly in Gilliland's forceful reading, like an artfully constructed public speech. Based on the 1999 Ballantine paperback. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.