Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

Free Ebook Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

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Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

Free Ebook Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

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Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, by Joel Norris

  • Sales Rank: #5162981 in Books
  • Published on: 1990-07-19
  • Format: Import
  • Original language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 333 pages

Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
the chapter about the brain that provides the best description of human consciousness that I’ve ever seen
By Ania
I give the book 5 starts, however, I found it quite repetitive at times, so I wanted to take a star off, but I still decided that I’d go with the 5 stars, because this book deserves it – especially the last few chapters, specifically, the chapter about the brain that provides the best description of human consciousness that I’ve ever seen.

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful.
Psychobiological portrait of serial killers
By ealovitt
The thing that puzzles me about this book is that no-one else seems to have picked up on its author’s psychobiological theories, even though “Serial Killers” was published in 1988. I’ve read more recent books on true crime and haven’t come across Norris’s psychological or physical profiles of serial killers. I don’t know whether this means his assertions are being ignored, or whether his work has been superceded or found to be incorrect.
At any rate, it is very absorbing reading. Dr. Norris takes the reader right into the bizarre, distorted mind of a serial killer. The author should know how they think, since he is a psychologist who has worked within the American prison system and has had the opportunity to interview several serial killers face-to-face, including Theodore Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, and Bobby Joe Long. In his preface, Dr. Norris claims to performed five hundred interviews over a period of four years (my assumption is that he interviewed the same person multiple times, as I don’t think there are five hundred serial killers in prison even over a four year period). What he found was that the patterns of parental abuse, violence, neglect, childhood cognitive disabilities, and alcohol and drug abuse were virtually identical for all of the convicted killers that he interviewed.
One of most important developments in the battle against serial murder was the formation of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia. Dr. Norris discusses several of the cases they solved, and also goes into detail about patterns of behavior they detected. For instance, serial killers are compulsive trollers, who travel over ever widening areas to locate their victims. The trolling patterns appear very early, even before they commit their first rape or murder. They also experience a biological rhythm very akin to a menstrual cycle. For some, the cycles of behavior are akin to deep brain seizures that alter perception and behavior without physically incapacitating the individual.
Dr. Norris focuses about a quarter of his book on five serial killers who tell the stories of their lives and their crimes in their own words. The five are Henry Lee Lucas (sentence commuted to life in prison by then-Governor George W. Bush in June, 1999), Carlton Gary (still on Georgia’s Death row), Bobby Joe Long (still on Florida’s Death row), Leonard Lake (committed suicide while in custody of the San Francisco police), and Charles Manson (in San Quentin, awaiting parole).
The chapter on Charles Manson is especially interesting, because the author discusses serial killers in groups, i.e. ‘killing pairs’ or ‘families.’ Almost 28% of all serial killers bond with others and commit their crimes in company. Killing pairs such as Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, the father/son team of Joseph and Michael Kallinger, the Kenneth Bianchi/Angelo Buono team of Hillside Stranglers, and the homosexual companions Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole all emerged as subjects of study in the 1980s.
If killing pairs are so common, why were all of the criminal profilers (those on T.V., at least) so surprised when the Maryland sniper deaths turned out to have been caused by not one, but two men?
Maybe they should have read “Serial Killers” before going public with their theories.
Last of all, Dr. Norris develops his own profile of a serial killer, including a list of “Twenty-one Patterns of Episodic Aggressive Behavior” that includes items like “Ritualistic behavior,” “Extraordinary cruelty to animals,” “Evidence of genetic disorders,” etc. I found this author to have planted himself firmly on both sides of the nature versus nurture debate.
I bought this book second-hand and one of the more disturbing things I discovered while reading Dr. Norris’s list of twenty-one behaviors, was that someone who had read the book before me had initialed eight of the twenty-one items!

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful.
Misinformative and unreliable
By mark twain
Joel Norris’ book has been criticized as being dated; however much more important is the fact that his information is outright wrong. For example, he characterizes the Zodiac killer as a killer of children who earned his monicker because of the zodiac symbol he carved into the flesh of some of his victims. This is totally untrue. Norris’ misinformation cannot be excused on the basis of historical perspective. It is my impression that the author had little interest in getting his facts straight and likely derived much of his information from flawed single sources, without any cross-referencing.

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