Title: Talking with Serial Killers: The Most Evil people in the World Tell Their Own Stories
Author: Christopher Berry-Dee
Publication: 31st May 2003
Genre: Nonfiction, Crime.
Around the Year in 52 Books – A book that intimidates / scares you.
An investigative criminologist, Christopher Berry-Dee is a man who talks to serial killers. In this book, their pursuit of horror and violence is described in their own words, transcribed from audio and videotape interviews conducted deep inside some of the toughest prisons in the world. Berry-Dee describes the circumstances of his meetings with some of the world’s most evil men, and reproduces their very words as they describe their crimes and discuss their remorse—or lack of it. This work offers a penetrating insight into the workings of the criminal mind.
I have a morbid interest in serial killers. If I could do any job in the world, without needing a degree or prior training, I would love to look into the psyche of serial killers; finding out their motivations and what compels them to commit these crimes.
There is no denying that Christopher Berry-Dee is a skilled interviewer, getting some of these murderers to talk to him and admit things, which they haven’t done for other people. In some cases they haven’t spoken to journalists in years, if ever. However, a lot of this book felt like Berry-Dee was giving himself a pat on the back.
“The Most Evil People In the World Tell Their Own Stories.” Except they don’t. I probably would have rated it higher had the title not misled me. There are only a few direct quotes from the interviews or letter correspondence with the killers, usually at the start or end of the chapter. This book is a series of mini biographies about the different serial killers. They usually started with the background of the place, then the background of the person before then listing the murders, some in more detail than others. Most of the information is stated as fact. Although the majority of it is, some of it certainly couldn’t be confirmed unless he witnessed it firsthand, such as the emotions of the murderers and the victims whilst the crimes are being committed, or in the case of McDuff, a detailed description of the lethal injection from the injectee’s point of view (eg. “he contemplated the end, which he thought would be painless…” “McDuff felt pressure in his chest. It was a suffocating feeling…” “He was dizzy and hyperventilating.”)
An interesting subject but the misleading title, lack of direct quotes from the killers, and unreliable narration left me less impressed than I hoped. I was going to get his conversations with female serial killers but after reading this book, I don’t think I will.