Jason Moss was a very strange boy: an overachiever, always looking for some challenge, some new way to excel. In his studies, in sports, and, for some reason that he can never explain comprehensibly, seducing serial killers into telling him their secrets. His first "project" was John Wayne Gacy. Moss sent carefully crafted letters to Gacy in which he portrayed himself as a young, naive, insecure gay man who could be easily manipulated. Gacy was suspicious and put Moss through harrowing emotional tests before surrendering his trust, but Moss came out ahead. Gacy fell head over heels for Moss, replying with graphic and disturbing letters instructing him to commit depraved acts for Gacy's vicarious thrills. Moss led him on, convincing Gacy that he was doing these things, but somehow this victory wasn't sufficient. So he extended his efforts to include other jailed killers. Although he experienced some success, amassing a disturbing collection of documents--including detailed sexual prose from Jeffrey Dahmer, disjointed ramblings from Charles Manson, and awkward, violent illustrations from "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez--his closest relationship was always with Gacy, whom he eventually visited in prison, where even the unflappable Moss learned fear.
The Last Victim challenges the reader to understand not only the twisted psychology of serial killers who kill for pleasure but why and how a young, seemingly bright and healthy young man such as Jason Moss could create such elaborate schemes to ingratiate himself with them. Moss puts his own safety and well-being on the line time and time again, simply to gain these men's trust, to coerce from them some understanding of what makes them do the things they do. And the book gives readers the opportunity to gain this insight without providing serial killers their home addresses--not a bad deal, overall. --Lisa Higgins
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From Publishers Weekly
The subtitle is a slight bit of misdirection: Moss offers us a journey into his own mind, into the mind of someone obsessed with the minds of serial killers. As a UNLV freshman, he corresponded with John Wayne Gacy, then on Death Row. He also accepted collect calls from Gacy, who attempted to talk him into committing incest with his younger brother. Enthralled by his proximity to sociopathology, Moss expanded his list of "psycho pen pals" to include Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker) and Jeffrey Dahmer. His impulse was to get inside the criminal mind. To do so, he sometimes found it necessary to tailor the truth about himself to fit what he felt the killers wanted to hear: he claimed to be the "grand priest of a cult" in his letters to Ramirez. Despite suffering nightmares triggered by his grisly correspondents, Moss, after contacting the FBI agent who handled Gacy, flew to Illinois to spend his spring break "alone in a locked, unmonitored room with a psychopath who'd raped, tortured, and strangled many boys just like me." Moss succeeds in contrasting his family life and his prisoner contacts, but the insight he offers into the internal logic of the serial killing mind is limited. Moreover, some readers will wonder about his own motivations, especially when he holds forth about the market value of Dahmer's autograph and otherwise participates in the strange, ghoulish culture of serial killer celebrity. Psychotherapist Kottler, one of Moss's UNLV instructors, contributes both a prologue and an afterword. Eight pages of drawings and photos. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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