“Extraordinarily suspenseful and truly gut-wrenching. . . . A must-read.”—Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl
In this superb work of literary true crime—a spellbinding combination of memoir and psychological suspense—a female journalist chronicles her unusual connection with a convicted serial killer and her search to understand the darkness inside us.
"Well, well, Claudia. Can I call you Claudia? I’ll have to give it to you, when confronted at least you’re honest, as honest as any reporter. . . . You want to go into the depths of my mind and into my past. I want a peek into yours. It is only fair, isn’t it?"—Kendall Francois
In September 1998, young reporter Claudia Rowe was working as a stringer for the New York Times in Poughkeepsie, New York, when local police discovered the bodies of eight women stashed in the attic and basement of the small colonial home that Kendall Francois, a painfully polite twenty-seven-year-old community college student, shared with his parents and sister.
Growing up amid the safe, bourgeois affluence of New York City, Rowe had always been secretly fascinated by the darkness, and soon became obsessed with the story and with Francois. She was consumed with the desire to understand just how a man could abduct and strangle eight women—and how a family could live for two years, seemingly unaware, in a house with the victims’ rotting corpses. She also hoped to uncover what humanity, if any, a murderer could maintain in the wake of such monstrous evil.
Reaching out after Francois was arrested, Rowe and the serial killer began a dizzying four-year conversation about cruelty, compassion, and control; an unusual and provocative relationship that would eventually lead her to the abyss, forcing her to clearly see herself and her own past—and why she was drawn to danger.
Claudia Rowe is an award-winning journalist who has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Currently a staff writer at the Seattle Times, she has published work in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Women’s Day, Yes! and Seattle’s alternative weekly, The Stranger. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and the Journalism Center on Children & Families, which awarded her a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.
When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”
Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.
Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.
Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy's death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer -- the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew -- Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.
Face-to-face with some of America's most terrifying killers, FBI veteran Robert K. Ressler learned how to identify the unknown monsters who walk among us -- and put them behind bars. In Whoever Fights Monsters, Ressler—the inspiration for the character Agent Bill Tench in David Fincher's hit TV show Mindhunter—shows how he was able to track down some of the country's most brutal murderers.
Ressler, the FBI Agent and ex-Army CID colonel who advised Thomas Harris on The Silence of the Lambs, used the evidence at a crime scene to put together a psychological profile of the killers. From the victims they choose to the way they kill to the often grotesque souvenirs they take with them—Ressler unlocks the identities of these vicious killers. And with his discovery that serial killers share certain violent behaviors, Ressler goes behind prison walls to hear bizarre first-hand stories from countless convicted murderers, including Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy; Edmund Kemper; and Son of Sam. Getting inside the mind of a killer to understand how and why he kills is one of the FBI's most effective ways of helping police bring in killers who are still at large.
Join Ressler as he takes you on the hunt for the world's most dangerous psychopaths in this terrifying journey you will not forget.