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Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers Paperback – April 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Brown, CEO of Sexual Homicide Exchange (S.H.E.), which helps survivors, believes that people are misinformed about serial killers, primarily because of the attention given to selected criminals in the press or film. Having once rented a room to a murder suspect, Brown became an investigative profiler. Here, she attempts to debunk the many misconceptions about serial killers, including those regarding their educational background and family relationships. Brown presents her information in a straightforward, slightly cynical manner, which detracts from the book. The subheads within chapters are often too obvious-"Are There Serial Killers in Other Countries?" and "Can Watching Pornography Lead to Serial Killing?" Furthermore, Brown's casual style is sometimes insulting. She describes Munchausen syndrome by proxy as "a nasty little psychological development." When the author talks about whether killers seek victims who look like family members, she says, "When white serial killers kill black women and black serial killers kill white women, this theory is blown out of the water." The book does offer a nonsensational overview of serial killers and profiling that some readers may find interesting. However, what's missing are comments from other experts-police, doctors, etc. Brown includes quotes from killers along with her own commentary on a variety of cases, which is occasionally tantalizing, but this is not a complete reference on serial killers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Pat Brown was the host of Court T.V.'s crime series, I, Detective. She became an Investigative Criminal Profiler after her local police proved ineffective in investigating a murder suspect to which she unknowingly rented a room. As CEO of S.H.E., Brown has dedicated her time to helping the victims of serial killers and their families. She lives in Maryland and Minnesota.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lightning does strike. Read--or give--this book. I bought another copy to give.
Pat Brown's writing style is similar to her speaking; forward, opinionated, honest, and no nonsense. There appears in writing, as on television, a refreshing absence of media cognizance, so often evident in crime shows, and "talking heads". Sometimes this is found in writing, as the author has one eye on the audience, but the other eye on impressing collegues. It's wonderfully absent here in the book.
This is, perhaps, what gives people the feeling that she "speaks" for the average person, rather than for ratings.
So it is with "Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers.
Swept away is the proverbial "white, middle aged, man, living alone in his mamma's basement" mentality that has dominated the media since the 80's. In its place is a clean sweeping away of myths, (a common theme in the book) with common sense replacement of concepts, easy to grasp, but highly sensible.
For example, the delicate subject of race is plainly addressed:
Are all serial killers white? Do killers only kill in their race?
The author tackles the subject in the most plain language with answers we all knew, but haven't heard articulated:
If the killer lives in an all white neighborhood, his victims will likely be white.
If the killer lives in a racially mixed neighborhood, his victims will likely be racially mixed.
Then, if not caught, the killer is likely to move to another neighborhood, and another. Like the sex offender who travels to avoid the registry, so it is in our culture those among us who deprive others of their lives move around often, to avoid detection.
Pat Brown possesses a keen nose for smelling out the nonsense fed to us by killers who have seen "The Silence of the Lambs" too many times. When a kiler says, "For no reason at all, I attacked the woman" or the passive wording of "I found myself raping the woman", Pat answers for us, with the same sarcasm we feel bubbling up in our throats: "Yeah, right!"
There is also impressive work on the nature of sexual homicides, which should not be missed.
The most important aspect of this work is to breathe fresh air into the thinking of investigators, but this book is not written to impress investigators with language or statistics.
Who is it written to?
This goes to the heart of a topic that needs to be addressed:
If a man kills because he got a thrill from killing, why must a neighborhood wait until he successfully kills again and even a third time before we are alerted that a serial killer is in our midst?
If someone killed another human being and received a thrill, or rush, or enjoyment from it, the author clearly shows us: The killer is going to want to receive the same thrill again, and again.
Who, then, benefits from the book?
Besides those involved in investigations, the public:
who care about safety;
who wish to keep themselves safe, as well as their loved ones.
As the author strips the veneer from the topic of serial killers, we can use common sense to avoid being the next victim, or having our loved ones victimized. This is one of the dividends of common sense. As myths are viewed, she is careful enough to discern which myths hold certain truths, and which have been overplayed by media, thus accepted as truth.
Topics covered include the use of psychics, signature at crime scenes, polygraphs, and other "101" topics that left me feeling that I had, perhaps, missed some vital aspects involving a killer.
My only complaint? I would have enjoyed a longer book! I would have enjoyed hearing more about her own life and work in profiling, as well as further study on sex offenders. Parhaps a Part Two??
I particularly enjoyed the pace of the book, as well as the rich references to famous crimes and investigations.
Having read other books by former FBI profilers, I'd say this one's a little light on actual experience, but that does not preclude it from being a good, lay-man's terms type introduction to how serial killers think. The quotes from real serial killers are well chosen, if somewhat repetitive.
The book provides short, simple answers to questions about serial killer. I found a lot of her reasoning logical yet not overly informative. It's like a commentary to a textbook about serial killers. A textbook might have more concrete examples and come from deeper experience, but the writing is often boring enough to knock you out. This book is the opposite: quick, easy read, but it naturally skims over a ton of questions without delving deeply into any one.
Summary: Easy to read if you're interested in the subject. Skippable in terms of "things I actually learned" / new insights gained into the subject of serial killers. Good for introduction, not good for elaboration on the topic.