Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Stranger Within Me...My Fascination with Serial Killers

Is it just me who loves a good serial killer plot? I seem to be drawn to the stories of these people. 

Ted Bundy grabbed some of his victims by pretending to be injured. A broken winged bird, leading his prey away from the crowd. I think of Ann Rule working next to the charmer, and never knowing his true identity.

I think of all the times I did something really stupid hanging out in bars, meeting new people, and making horrible choices. I was the girl in the slasher movies that decides to go to the basement to check out the creaking noises that has to be an open window letting in the rain. But it’s not in the movies. Thankfully the window was causing the sound in real life.

I’m too young to tell you where I was when Kennedy was shot; instead, I know when they arrested Jeffrey Dahmer. It was the morning after I had gall bladder surgery.

When I visited my sister in coastal California, driving the week away trying to figure out what I was going to do with my newly divorced life, a serial killer was stalking and killing women in the exact area where I took long walks, alone.

He, too, was visiting from Idaho – after they arrested him in California, local law enforcement dug up what appeared to be his first kills on a farm in a small town north of my home.

Maybe I’ve outgrown my fascination with these villains. Now, I rarely watch the news, tired of hearing about the shootings and drug related crimes. Now, I like my murder off the page. Like in a cozy mystery.

What about you? True Crime or cozy mystery? Or somewhere in between?


Kaye George said...

I can't help reading about them, either. They're like aliens masquerading as humans, very hard to understand. Or impossible. I, also, don't write them, at least I never have. I don't think most mystery writers' serial killers have much in common with the real-life monsters. How could a normal person relate?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I don't write about them either, but it's fascinating to try and understand they psychology. They just aren't wired like the rest of us.

Barry Knister said...

Each day, I look at the covers and blurbs posted on BookBub. Invariably, the day's offerings include a description that begins "Serial killer." This is my cue to skip reading further. It seems odd to say, but the serial-killer motif has become a genre of its own. And at least for me, it's been done to death (so to speak).

Jean Henry Mead said...

I no longer write about serial killers for a number of reasons, having written about them as a news reporter in California. I was often surprised and shocked to witness people at trial that barely stood taller than my shoulder who had committed horrific murders. I was told that guns were great equalizers.

Like you, Lynn, I only lived a quarter of a mile from a savage killing of a young woman in our rural area, knowing that it could have been me. It still gives me cold chills when I think about it.

Angela said...

The serial killer genre has become almost cliched. It's too formulaic in some cases. I like a good serial killer thriller, but I don't want a cookie cutter one - nor one ripped straight from the headlines.

Morgan Mandel said...

Seems we can't escape violence these days. It's becoming too much the norm. I may be wrong, but I think all the publicity eggs it on.

Lynn Cahoon said...

HI guys, back from the day job.

I think the aliens masquerading as human comment really hits home.

You never know when you'll run into the danger.

I sat on a jury for a murder trial once. I couldn't understand the reasoning - I wanted an explanation. The one we got was they were high when they killed the girl. Somehow, that just doesn't seem like enough.