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Robert D. Keppel ç 3 review

Signature Killers

Tale identifiers their gruesome calling cards at the scenes of their crime They are driven by a primitive motivation to act out the same brutality over and over With brilliant detection high tech analysis and a little luck they can be caught But what does the signature killer seek from victim to victim? The answers are hidden among the grisly evidence the common threads that link each devastating actSparked by a growing concern over the steady rise of signature murders Robert Keppel A grim grisly read detailing the atrocities visited on the victims of about 15 different serial killers the escalating pattern of violence and the evidence of signature in each crime scene Geared to be educational this one rarely becomes textbookey because it is so grounded in the horrific sights seen by homicide detectives The text focused on lesser known serial killers who were especially clear examples of this or that type of signature crime but touched on some of the best known cases as well and I even managed to learn new facts about the well worn cases of Bundy and Dahmer I have to say the arguments tended to fall apart when the authors were discussing Bill Heirens as if they were not sure of themselves in discussing this case The way Keppel uoted Ted Bundy as if he were an expert on pattern crimes rather than someone who killed 36 women because he had issues made me almost as ueasy as the crime scenes themselves

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Explores in unflinching detail the monstrous patterns sadistic compulsions and depraved motives of this breed of killer From the Lonely Hearts Killer who hunted the most desperate of women in 1950s America to the savage Midtown Torso Murders that stunned the NYPD to such infamous symbols of evil as Jeffrey Dahmer Ted Bundy and John Gacy these are the cases horrifying graphic and unforgettable that Keppel ingeniously taps to shed light on the darkest corners of the pathological mind I read this book so many times growing up that the pages are falling out I know that sounds creepy but keep in mind I was planning on being the next Clarice Starling Haha

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In a real life scenario straight out of The Silence of the Lambs Robert Keppel went one on one with the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy who advised Keppel on the detective's highly publicized search for the elusive Green River Killer Bundy's chilling revelations were chronicled in The Riverman a page turner Ted Montgomery Detroit News praised by Ann Rule as the definitive book on serials But Ted Bundy wasn't the first killer of his kind or the last Signature KillersThey leave tell The only part of this book I liked was the foreword The rest of it was repetitive just one example apparently one of the killers' blood types belongs to only 13% of the population A fact the author told us a minimum of 3 times within one chapter and frustratingly uninteresting What I very often dislike about non fiction books is that authors always seem to struggle to remove themselves from the subject matter Often their opinion just seems to creep in when I would really like an impartial retelling Maybe I'm being too ambitious in this thought I probably wouldn't mind hearing an author's opinion if it wasn't so obnoxious and big headed


10 thoughts on “Signature Killers

  1. says:

    I certainly enjoyed reading this book and never felt bored it was very interestingI also had absolutely no problem with the writing style andor the terminology like some others seemed to have hadHowever I noticed that there was some false information about Jeffrey Dahmer included especially concerning the alleged animal abuse a rather sensitive topic in this type of genreI do not know if this is down to lazy research or if it seemed like the correct information back when the book was publishedI'm not familiar enough with the other crimes that are described in great detail so I'm not able to judge if this is a recurring problem or if it just appears within the Dahmer caseI also felt like the author was a bit too set on the picture perfect traditional family during the last chapterMaybe it was intended differently but to me it came off as if he was trying to say that parents should stay at home 247 and stop living their lives as soon as they decide to have childrenA viewpoint I definitely do not share


  2. says:

    Dr Keppel is a visionary ground breaking criminologist and an excellent analyst I admire him greatly But he needs someone to edit the living shit out of his proseI will give only one example because it's like shooting fish in a barrelThe killer's MO was extensively refined and stylized as he continued killing In practically every circumstance the killer did something to clean up the crime scene after him He took jewelry purses and clothing from his victims In New York the motel fires could even have been interpreted as an effort to cover up physical evidence of the crimes The killer also may have tried to prevent identification in the New York murders by removing the heads and hands of his victims at one scene but he really didn't need to worry After his two New York City mutilations Cottingham didn't have to fear that the identification would lead police to him None of his other crimes had put authorities on his trail Like serial killers near the end of their arc of violence part of Cottingham believed he was completely invisible and could commit rapes and murders at will Another part of him remained obsessively paranoid about leaving evidence at the crime scene Therefore in the arson murders where the act of setting the fires was the last act of the killer at the crime scene the setting of the fire may not have been some sexually perverted paraphilia with fire that some offenders possess It might simply have been Cottingham's attempt to lead Manhattan detectives down a blind alley73Let me clean this paragraph upCottingham's MO became increasingly refined and stylized with each murder Like other serial killers near the end of their arc of violence the end of the arc being their arrest not their choice to stop killing because they will never make that choice sm part of Cottingham believed he was completely invisible and could commit rapes and murders at will Another part of him remained obsessively paranoid about leaving evidence at the crime scene even though none of his crimes thus far had put the authorities on his trail In practically every circumstance Cottingham did something to clean up the crime scene after him He took jewelry purses and clothing from his victims In the West 42nd Street murders he went farther both removing the heads and hands of his victims and setting the fire as his last act at the crime scene Given that his other crimes did not include arson but did include this obsession with removing evidence it seems most probable that his actions in the West 42nd Street Travel Lodge rather than demonstrating a paraphilia for fire were a further ritualistic and partially successful attempt to destroy evidence of the murders of Deedah Godzari and Jane DoeI've interpolated information mostly antecedents from earlier paragraphs but otherwise all I've done is rearrange the information Keppel provides in order to give it a logical throughline What it still lacks is the signposting that tells you how it relates to the thesis of this section of Keppel's argument which is that a serial murderer's signature is not the same as his modus operandi and I'm honestly not uite sure HOW it relates Is he saying that Cottingham's experiments with evidence removal were part of his evolving MO or that Cottingham's obsession with evidence removal was part of his signature?This is why you need editorsBirnes did a better job of taming Keppel's stream of consciousness prose in The Riverman Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer at least I assume perhaps incorrectly that that's Birnes' contribution; Signature Killers reads like it was written and published too fast Other than that I found this book interesting and compelling Keppel has the range of knowledge to support his argument convincinglyHe discusses Morris Frampton Harvey Glatman William Heirens Richard Cottingham Timothy Spencer Cleophus Prince Nathanial Code Steven Pennell George Russell Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy John Wayne Gacy shows up freuently in comparisons and he couldn't include Gary Ridgway because this book was published in 1997 before Ridgway was caught talking in each case about how to discern the signature and how the signature helped detectives find and stop each man and noting parallels between them ways that they are all demonstrating the same wrong turn in their psychesIt's important to note SOMEWHERE and here is as good as anywhere that women are very rarely sexual signature killers Aileen Wuornos being the token exception But that isn't the same as saying women aren't serial killers They just tend to kill people they have relationships with husbands children patients etc rather than strangers and they don't seem as often to fetishize the act of murder itself Mary Ann Cotton is my favorite example but there's also Amy Archer Gilligan and Mary Ann Geering They aren't as SHOWY as the sexual signature killers but they are there And they were there long before Jack the Ripper People mostly men who commit serial murder for sexual reasons may be a product of modernity but serial murderers are not Keppel has an elaborate argument about how sexual signature killers are created by the collapse of the extended kinship group as unit of family leading to fewer people to do the parenting plus he doesn't uite say women entering the work force leading to babies being neglected at a critical stage of the development of their psyche which results sometimes he does say in psychopaths who kill for anger or for pleasure And that may be why there are so many angry psychopathic men roaming the 20th century killing women for sport But it's not why human beings sometimes commit serial murderIf you are interested in signature killers psychopaths who commit serial stranger murder for reasons that inevitably betray their presence in the way the crimes are committed this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it


  3. says:

    The only part of this book I liked was the foreword The rest of it was repetitive just one example apparently one of the killers' blood types belongs to only 13% of the population A fact the author told us a minimum of 3 times within one chapter and frustratingly uninteresting What I very often dislike about non fiction books is that authors always seem to struggle to remove themselves from the subject matter Often their opinion just seems to creep in when I would really like an impartial retelling Maybe I'm being too ambitious in this thought I probably wouldn't mind hearing an author's opinion if it wasn't so obnoxious and big headed


  4. says:

    On the whole I think this book would be great for someone who just as a one off wants to read a gory true crime and just wants to pick sections concerning certain serial killers' crimes to read up on However for someone like me who us pursuing a career in forensic psychology and therefore is already familiar with the details of the case and thus came seeking the advertised look into the psyche of serial killers I was uite disappointed The book was heavily repetitive both within and across chapters and probably could have been about half the size Whilst the commentary was interesting and raised some interesting ideas I felt that a lot of the views on why the serial killers became what they did was uite lacklustre and nothing groundbreaking There was also zero referencingnot a single one which I found uite surprising given some of the claims made in the last chapter which certainly would benefit from having evidence to support them as Keppel concerns them as facts and not just his opinionsKeppel inarguably is fantastic in his field and at what he does but I don't think writing is his forte Like I say the book was very repetitive and often seemed to just clump random facts about serial killers together with no background or interaction with the analysis of their psyche On the whole not necessarily a bad read in regards to having the gory details of serial killers but offers nothing that you couldn't get elsewhere from a YouTube video or online article summarising the crimes


  5. says:

    A grim grisly read detailing the atrocities visited on the victims of about 15 different serial killers the escalating pattern of violence and the evidence of signature in each crime scene Geared to be educational this one rarely becomes textbookey because it is so grounded in the horrific sights seen by homicide detectives The text focused on lesser known serial killers who were especially clear examples of this or that type of signature crime but touched on some of the best known cases as well and I even managed to learn new facts about the well worn cases of Bundy and Dahmer I have to say the arguments tended to fall apart when the authors were discussing Bill Heirens as if they were not sure of themselves in discussing this case The way Keppel uoted Ted Bundy as if he were an expert on pattern crimes rather than someone who killed 36 women because he had issues made me almost as ueasy as the crime scenes themselves


  6. says:

    Even by true crime standards this book is pretty nasty Robert D Keppel delves into a number of sado sexual serial killings and the result is a lot of “young woman hacked apart by weirdo loner man” casefile detailKeppel tries to give some meaningful analysis of “signatures” and how they differ from MO – and indeed maybe his analysis was groundbreaking when the book was published but now it all seems very old hat To make things worse Signature Killers is really really badly written This isn’t Stephenie Meyer “for the love of sparkles” purple prose bad writing; this is just plain clunky flunked out of high school English bad writingHowever this is one of those books that I find tricky to review because despite all the ways it is nasty and pedestrian it was exactly what I needed to read I’m researching serial killers and Signature Killers was incredibly helpful So am I glad I read it? Yeah Do I recommend you read it? Hell no


  7. says:

    While Robert Keppel was a splendid detective and is a good writer I just want to take a moment to vent When I was a junior in college I had an opportunity to take a course at the U Dub called Murder To this day it remains one of my all time favorite classes Ret Det Keppel was co teaching the class This man was such a terrible teacher Seriously he was able to make Ted Bundy boring We got to listen to the actual interviews Det Keppel had with Bundy and Keppel's descriptions of what was going on was excruciating Okay I'm glad I got that off my chest Sorry Det you should stick to the chasing bad guys and writing Teaching is not your thing


  8. says:

    I read this book so many times growing up that the pages are falling out I know that sounds creepy but keep in mind I was planning on being the next Clarice Starling Haha


  9. says:

    325 Stars


  10. says:

    Keppel’s work on signature killers is second to none When reading this book you can tell he’s devoted his life to this which is exactly why it’s a bit of a bad read Keppel is not a writer by any stretch of the imagination but damn if he doesn’t know his shit Most of the information in the book is common knowledge if you’ve done research on serial murders for any length of time but the psychology that he delves into is truly fascinating Interestingly I uoted the section where he mentions that serial killers rarely cross racial lines to a friend who proceeded to tell me I directly uoted Holden Ford in the new series of MINDHUNTER the trailer of which I hadn’t watched it which is just a fun little story that shows Keppel knew his stuff


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