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Showing 1-10 of 53 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 86 reviews
on June 15, 2016
As much as I hate to admit it, this is a very engaging book. Fans of true crime, like myself, will enjoy the first person aspect of one of the two parallel stories that run through the book.

Jesperson absolutely lets us inside his head as he recounts his killing spree in the mid to late 80's. He tells us what he was thinking at the time prior to, during and after the murders. It's fascinating. He recounts his killings as though they are an addiction that no other substance or experience can match. There are periods where he seems to be able to control things but, the slightest bump in his life and he'd be back enticing and murdering young women. Seems Keith Jesperson felt he never truly fit anywhere and the solitary life of a trucker suited his personality.

The other story is Olsen's account of Jesperson's early life, mainly his interaction with a controlling, alcoholic father who never truly accepted Jesperson the child. Jesperson in his own way sought his father's approval but never seemed to get it. In his mind his siblings weren't subject to the same rigors and trials as he was. Never quite living up to his father's expectations Jesperson keeps himself in close proximity of his father working hard, entering business deals with his father, which usually backfired, and never truly breaking the ties.

Once in prison, the book moves more to the relationship with his father via letters written between the two. This portion highlights the dysfunction as Jesperson tries to relay to his father how he felt growing up in his father's overbearing shadow. It's very sad but, we have to ask ourselves, is this causality for his actions ?

Summary: Very well written account of Jesperson's killing spree. Yet again, Jack Olsen distances himself from the crowd of true crime writers through another engaging work.
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on May 29, 2013
I was somewhat surprised that Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana recently. Of course, one of the arguments for legalization was the following: "If it's legalized then you can and may tax it." Another: "If it's legalized then it can be better controlled and protected." While reading this book, I have to admit that I considered the following: "Then why not legalize prostitution? Those same 'arguments' for marijuana apply with prostitution."

And after reading a few books by Jack Olsen -- perhaps the greatest true-crime writer of all time -- you might think that legalizing prostitution isn't such a bad idea. I recently read "The Misbegotten Son" and I just finished "I" today. In both of these cases, some of the victims of both Arthur Shawcross and Keith Jesperson were prostitutes. And most of Gary Ridgeway's victims were prostitutes as well; as a matter of fact, if you think about most of the serial killers from the 80s and 90s, you will realize that the vast majority of their victims held this "occupation." Why do serial killers so often target prostitutes? If you read enough of killers' stories you realize the following: prostitutes are easy prey as they are unprotected, often in more ways than one.

I can often tell if a book or a movie is really good if it forces me to make some connections, and this book surely did that, like the one stated above. But there are many other reasons why this book is so gripping. After reading a few of Mr. Olsen's books, I realized that his strongest trait was possibly the following: he didn't allow his ego to get in the way. He allowed others to tell their story, and he was more than happy to just hand over many pages of text to his subjects. I'm not sure if Mr. Olsen just interviewed his subjects with a voice recorder and then just wrote the text from that recording. Or if he just handed a pen and paper to his subjects and said, "Write away!" Doesn't matter. This technique really works as he is able to remain objective while allowing his subjects to be, well, subjective. Many of his subjects seem to be more open about their crimes this way and even give opinions on what made them kill.

And here, Mr. Jesperson was seemingly given carte blanche to just whale away, kind of like he did with many of his victims. It is absolutely shocking how candid he is here, and it is absolutely surprising how willing he is to be truthful about his crimes, even though he's been called more than a liar by more than one prosecutor. Sure, with him, it is hard to tell the difference between truth and fiction, but you get the feeling that his "play by play" analysis on his crimes is mostly truthful. What reason would he have to lie about these crimes? He was found guilty and will never be released from prison.

Well, we can argue all day long whether or not it would be a good idea to legalize prostitution. But there almost is no argument that this is one of the best true-crime books around.
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on April 29, 2017
Having never read a book like this before, I gotta admit it was hard to put down, learning about the life and evolution of an serial killer, was interesting and creepy at the same time. If you're interested in the mind of a serial killer this is the book to do that. Jack Olsen is a great writer for sure.
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on May 7, 2009
Jack Olsen once said that a true crime book that doesn't seek to answer the question of "what created this monster?" is "pure pornography." It's fitting, then, that his final book was I, The Creation of Serial Killer. There isn't a Jack Olsen book that isn't worth the time of any serious true crime fan. He was a true great and if anyone else had written this book I doubt I'd have read it. You see, I'm basically a wimp and the gore that is inherent in any serial killer story is more than I can take. While the gore factor on this book is low for a serial killer story, this is still one of the most profoundly disturbing books I've ever read. It is the first book that I have deleted from my Kindle - I literally didn't want it around.

Olsen gets into the mind of serial killer Keith Jesperson, literally channeling his voice. This was enlightening. Who knew that the mind of a serial killer was so boring? Vile, horrific, loathsome thoughts and fantasies - these I expected and got. The boring factor was a revelation. Step inside the mind of a serial killer and you're in for the endless self-justifications of a whiny loser. Everybody done him wrong. Whether Jesperson is more self-aware than the average serial killer or, in other words, is less of a whiny loser than most serial killers is a bit like asking if the concentration camp guard was nice. It's all relative, yes, but consider the scale.

There are moments of twisted Is-this-guy-for-real black humor, like when Jesperson refers to "special moments shared with my victims" that elicit a combination gasp-laugh-choke. The Serial Killers Pen Pal Club that Jesperson starts, on the other hand, may just be proof that sometimes illiteracy isn't such a bad thing. Then again, it's hard not to walk away from this book passionately pro death penalty even if you start it passionately on the other side of the debate. This crew is pretty much the filled with poster children for euthanasia with their mercenary insistence on being paid for every word and getting jealous when one of them gets more press.

This is a tough book to critique. Olsen so effectively channels Jesperson for half the book that I missed Olsen's familiar, sane voice. Judged on its own terms, probably the only fair ones, it succeeds in what it sets out to achieve. But would I recommend it? Well, if you think serial killers are fascinating or interesting, then step right up and get yourself disabused of those notions. Ditto if you think they can be rehabilitated - these guys just like killing. If you're wondering if press coverage encourages serial killers to up the ante, Jesperson is an example of someone who wants "credit" for his "kills." But, again, would I recommend it? This isn't an enjoyable book. I didn't enjoy Plato's Republic though I'm glad I read it. The best I can offer is that if you're deeply interested in serial killers, this book is essential reading. But be prepared for loss of appetite and nightmares.
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on July 23, 2016
I have read more books by Jack Olsen and he never fails to amaze me with his intense writing. The first book I read was about the Spokane rapist, Kevin Coe who was in the real estate business at the time I was involved in the mortgage business. Many of the locations were near to either my home or where my mother lived. I: The Creation of a Serial Killer also involved a man whose ex-wife resided in Spokane and I was very familiar with his family name. These books brought home the realization that we have rapists and murderers living in close proximity to our own homes.
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on April 16, 2016
I like this book only for its first person account from the killer himself. I've read a couple of his books because of that but no pictures of the killer, victims or crime scene make his books suck. Also he talks about how the killer tries to shop his book idea out to other people but never tells you how they became acquaintances. There is almost nothing about the author or his personal opinion of the killer himself in this book. That alone makes Ann Rule reign as the queen of true crime for me.
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on October 4, 2015
All women and and especially young girls should read this book. The level of brutality and extent of this man's cruelties are hard to fathom. Most of his victims were prostitutes whose lifestyle may predispose to certain risks but he also slaughtered and tortured his girlfriends. I remember how my parents Volkswagen broke down in the late 70s on a Wyoming highway and we were assisted by kindly truckers. I shudder to think what would have happened if we had fallen instead into this killer's clutches.
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on March 30, 2016
Olsen hits another home run with this profile of the "Happy Face Killer," much of it in the killer's own words. Haunting and tense.
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on May 22, 2013
This book was what you would expect from a true crime book, but without the interesting personality. The point of this kind of book is to capitalize on the reader's desire to understand and analyze a serial killer and what makes them tick. The killer in this book is really a typical, deluded, self-serving person, about what you would expect. The chapters written by the author were interesting, but the ones written by the actual killer were pointless after awhile. They definitely could have been condensed into a few chapters instead of being half of the book. I read it, but it did not live up to my expectations. Just meh.
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on October 16, 2016
Good Jack Olsen novel but not his best. This serial killer, like many, blamed his upbringing & constant bullying. Complete subhuman loser. Olsen truly is one of the best at writing on true crime & evil indidivuals...strongly recommend virtually all of his books. Wish he was still around to give us more great reads.
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