Serial Killers

Joel Norris, Author, William J. Birnes, Photographer Doubleday Books $18.95 (249p) ISBN 978-0-385-23730-7
Citing studies suggesting that violence is a disease requiring medical intervention, Norris, a psychological consultant to the correctional system, calls for further research into the biological, psychological and social influences on serial murderers. He argues that the legal definition of insanity is inaccurate and that sociopathic multiple killers should be medically diagnosed and treated. As illustrated in case histories of and personal statements made by such murderers, each episode of violence is followed by ritualistic phases from fantasy to the disposal of the body, performed, according to the author, as a symbolic and compensatory reenactment of a traumatic childhood experience. Interviews here with killers reveal that most of them share a pattern of genetic factors and/or brain damage often caused by parental and sexual abuse, malnutrition, drugs and alcohol addiction, and that many suffer learning disabilities. Norris provides a profile and list of symptoms of the serial killer and urges that such predictive data be studied by judicial, correctional and medical personnel. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-385-26328-3
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