[GUEST POST] – Richard Vasko’s Compendium of Killer Literature

A note from M. F. Sullivan: This was originally written as a comment for for reddit.com/r/serialkillers, but I thought we’d get some mileage out of it here. Introducing our first ever guest post with our on-staff serial killer expert, the artist Richard Vasko.

I have no real explanation as to what brings me here, my situation being what it is, and all, but I do have books to discuss with you all. Apparently it’s good to ‘get out’ and ‘interact’ and so this is what we’re doing here. And what better way to interact than violently? Here’s a list of my favorite serial killer non-fiction.

My interest is mainly in texts that are, (even if sometimes taken from context) as direct from the horse’s mouth as I can get. The products of killers are of highest importance in the pursuit of learning ‘why’.

And both copies feature covers by the genius Joe Coleman, which is just an added bonus. This is not that cover, but a great painting.

And, depending on your copy, it also features a cover by Joe Coleman.

  • One of Your Own by Carol Ann Lee is the story of Myra Hindley, who is no more sympathetic by the end of the book. If anything, I found I disliked her further, and while I by no means like Ian Brady, I find what little he has to say on his crimes more sympathetic and believable than Hindley’s stories. But, nonetheless, her story is important, and interesting in its own right, and it is important we should know both Brady and Hindley in our pursuit of understanding them. http://www.amazon.com/One-Your-Own-Death-Hindley/dp/1845967011
  • Ted Bundy: Conversations With A Killer by Michoud & Aynesworth seems to be unfairly dismissed in the Amazon reviews, but I enjoyed it more than Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me, which, as with most of her work, seems somewhat sensationalist. It’s just a conversation, a series of them, straightforward as much as a conversation can be with Bundy. Certainly worth the read, as his death row interview is similarly worth the watch1. http://www.amazon.com/Ted-Bundy-Conversations-Hugh-Aynesworth/dp/1928704174/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408843296&sr=1-1&keywords=Conversations+with+a+killer
  • My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, whom you may recognize from his work in the comic strips of your local, weekly, alternative newspaper. He went to high school with Dahmer (in my home state of Ohio, for those of you who know him as a primarily Wisconsin serial murderer) and offers a very illuminating perspective on a man we’ve come to know through news articles and documentaries. http://www.amazon.com/My-Friend-Dahmer-Derf-Backderf/dp/1419702173

We’ve all been there, Jeff. We’ve all been there.

I’ve always been fond of the cover.

Those are just the good ones. Maybe if I’m forced to write another article you’ll get my list of the shit ones. But, either way, be sure to read Delilah, My Woman, coming November 2nd. Because if these are as enlightening and informative as they are despite being however many steps removed from their true source, well–just think of all you’ll learn when you and I have had a chance to talk. Because it’s my hope that we won’t have another one between now and November 2nd–wait, what’s that? You say they released an Expanded Edition of The Gates of Janus just a few months ago?

Oh…very well. Be sure to look out for my expanded review of the new edition of Gates of Janus just as soon as I’ve had a chance to read it.

RJV

Footnotes:

1. While there are various DVD copies of Bundy’s final interview, it is available online. Those of you who have watched American Psycho may wonder, as I did, whether or not Christian Bale watched it in preparation. Then you remember he cited Tom Cruise as his inspiration, and that really makes you wonder.

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