Killing for Sport by Pat Brown

Killing for Sport by Pat Brown

A convenient set of Frequently (Apparently) Asked Questions about the lives, loves and crimes of serial killers, as written by someone with a particular agenda to push. Littered with quotes from serial killers themselves, as well as real world examples, Killing for Sport is a somewhat blandly-written look at the world of murderers.

I guess as one of the most horrifying types of criminal in society – the serial killer – these murderers are at least a curiosity, if not a fascination for members of regular society. There are plenty of movie franchises, and book series about hunts for serial killers, and most people could rattle off half a dozen if asked – from BTK, the Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, Charles Manson and friends, just to name a few. The question that this book seeks to answer, however, is how much we really know about what goes on inside serial killers’ heads, beyond the fictional fantasy we see in the popular media.

I guess in considering where the value of the book lies, one has to look at the author, who is a criminal profiler in her own right, and she brings a lot of that sensibility to the book, although she is not afraid of a little self-aggrandising at times. Which is not to say that serial killers are worthy of anything more than our contempt, but her style really does start to wear on you after a while.

On the matter of style, I found that it was largely organised as a FAQ, with a few snippets of information and snark posed as responses to questions that she feels are the most commonly asked, or most common misconceptions. While I found the book informative, and more than a little disturbing, I also found that it became repetitive, and could have been organised more around topical chapters, rather than the way it was. If you are looking for information about specific cases or individuals, there are probably far better works on those. On the other hand, this is a competent, if dry, primer on the topic as a whole.

3 stars

Killing for Sport by Pat Brown

Killing for Sport by Pat Brown
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