Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America

By Dr. Julie Wiest; Reviewed by Kevin A. Cassidy

***** Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America. By Dr. Julie Wiest. CRC Press,; 401 pages; $69.95.

Serial murders captivate society in general as well as those who specialize in the law, crime fighting, and sociology.
In this work, author Dr. Julie Wiest provides detailed accounts of serial killers in America and looks at correlations between American culture and its fascination with serial murder. She includes theories as to why most identified serial killers are white, male Americans. She delves into motives for a single-murder killer’s crime and compares them to those of a serial killer.

Wiest appeals to the reader’s interest in discussing various case studies such as: Richard Speck, who killed eight nursing students in a Chicago townhouse; Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 13 people at Columbine High School, though one could argue that they were mass murderers, rather than serial killers; and John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who killed 10 people in various locations throughout Washington, D.C.

She looks at cases that date from the 1880s to current serial murderers. Charts and pictures effectively support her conclusions.

Law enforcement personnel, sociologists, and criminal justice majors will find this book valuable and educational, as well as an excellent reference guide.

Reviewer: Kevin A. Cassidy is vice president of business development and contingency planning for Quality Building Services in New York City. He is also an adjunct at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and lectures in the Protection Management Department. He is a member of ASIS International.



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