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Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters + The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers + The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (Facts on File Crime Library)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Trade edition edition (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425196402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425196403
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Vronsky is an investigative journalist and a producer of documentary films for television. His work has appeared on PBS, Discovery Channel, MTV, CNN, and various international channels.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
A very interesting and easy to read book!
Robyn Christenson
I've read a lot of fiction in this genre, and this non-fiction was one of the best.
D'Bri
I have read many books on serial killers and profiling and this tops them all.
Abigail Glodzik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Rose Lumsden on May 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was on the list of required readings for a criminal justice course I took but it was actually fun to read compared to some of the dull and clinical readings we have to do. I began reading this book on the way home from the campus bookstore, and could hardly put it down until I finished it. This writer deals with some very technical and heavy-going forensic material on serial killers, their psychology, history and investigative techniques. But he explains things in a very understandable way without talking down to you and gives real case examples for his stuff with identifiable details (which forensic texts often do not.) The references in this book are worth its cover price alone. I am so tired of reading "true crime" accounts with no idea where the authors get their information. This writer tells you the source of almost every major fact or controversial claim in his book. You can go and look it up yourself if you don't believe him or want to know more. And there is material here that no other books on Serial Killers deal with. Great book. Smart and hip. A Fast Food Nation or Black Hawk Down of serial killer books. Well researched and brilliantly written. Going beyond books on serial killers, this is one of the better books outright that I have read this year. Just a pleasure to read.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Duaa Anwar on April 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lot of reviews focused on the history covered by this book, but what I found most compelling was in fact the second half, which discussed the "formation" of a serial killer.

In the first half, the author goes back a few centuries to uncover gruesome truths of serial killers across Europe. With every chapter, he steps forward in time, narrating the lives and biographies of famous and not-so-famous killers, from Jack the Ripper to the Boston Strangler. Every page delivers a shock, as the lives and practices of the killers are revealed.

If you manage to survive through the photos in the center without passing out at the gore, you'll find the second half even more gripping. It explains how a serial killer develops, how his behavior differs from others in childhood, how he strikes his first victim, and the pattern that dictates his life from there on. There is plenty on the many types of killers and their various approaches to murder.

A fair portion near the end of the book is dedicated to criminal profiling and crime scene investigation. The book closes with a chilling chapter on how to survive if you find yourself at the mercy of a serial killer.

A very engaging read if you have the heart for the gruesome details!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Glodzik on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I cannot say much more about this book than the other review, however, I can HIGHLY recommend it. It was by far one of the best books I have ever read pertaining to serial killers and everything inbetween. The author adds a slight comical touch to his writing which makes it a definite hook book, and gives a broadrange of topics covered to peak anyones interest. I have read many books on serial killers and profiling and this tops them all.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DJ Eternal Darkness on April 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Peter Vronsky has an interesting personal perspective on serial killers. His book does not try to be a definitive source on all serial killers, but does try to provide an over view to the world that some of these killers live in. His writing is thought provoking and brings to light many interesting statistics and facts about both serial killers and profilers. Definitely a great read for both the amateur as well as the professionals who may have to be searching for the killers. Also has a nice bonus chapter about surviving serial killer abductions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Emmel on March 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ever since I first read "The Stranger Beside Me", the ground-breaking book about the serial killings of Ted Bundy, so brilliantly written by Ann Rule, I have read lots of true crime books covering serial killers.

This is one of the best books I've seen covering the topic of serial killers, and is well worth the read. It is truly an educational and well-written study of a stranger who may be beside us!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Odom on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
One of the best books on the subject. Comprehensive & detailed w/ case studies. I couldn't put it down.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deborah McGrane on May 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Peter Vronksy's "Serial Killers" is a good overview of serial killers and what makes them tick. The book is filled with case studies of famous serial killers, as well as some thumbnail sketches of less famous killers. To be honest, I would have been more interested in reading about the lesser-known killers, as yet another retelling of Ted Bundy isn't really needed at this point. The first chapter of the book is fairly boring, filled with statistics and conjecture. The book picks up speed toward the middle and doesn't really slow down from then on out. My stomach turned at some of the descriptions of victims in the book, and I realized that perhaps I learned more about some of these killers and their deeds than I had wanted.

A warning: there are some very graphic photos in the middle of the book that I now wish I hadn't seen as they are very explicit. You may want to skip the picture section if you are squeamish.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sara on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was a great book, Peter Vronsky obviously did a ton of research. The only minor complaint I have is there are times where he states the same things over again as if they hadn't been written in the book already. Other than that, in my opinion, it was indeed a well written book. He goes into great detail about what "triggers" serial killers, MO's, the methods of profiling, stories of actual crimes, etc. I was so intrigued by this book I finished it in 3 days.

This book also made me really stop and think just how comfortable we humans become in our daily routines, with many of us believing nothing will ever happen to us. Even something as simple as going to the grocery store, which may be something you do every Sunday, could end up being your last day alive. Not only is this book truly informative, I think there is also a lesson to be learned; never trust ANYONE. Always be aware of your surroundings and no matter how innocent a stranger may be or seem, you CANNOT trust them. And above all, NEVER, EVER get into a strangers car. I'm not suggesting living out the rest of your life in fear by any means but this book, for me at least, reinforced the belief we always need to be aware of our surroundings and again, never trust anyone. Do not be afraid to refuse to help someone get something into their car, do not be afraid to stand your ground fearing you may come off as a jerk or impolite and mostly, if you say no, do not allow someone to pressure you into doing something you don't want to, it really could save your life.
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