River of Blood: Serial Killers and Their Victims, Volume 1

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Universal Publishers, Aug 1, 2004 - Social Science - 372 pages
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Popular culture would have us believe that serial killers are an obvious threat to the public, a deformed creature that snarls, drools and hides in the shadows. In reality the serial killer is less like the maniacally out-of-control character of Mr Hyde and more like the subdued Dr Jekyll, a human being with a family, a job, and ambitions. We examine killers such as John Robinson, once Kansas Man of the Year, a successful businessman and family man, but also the killer of eight women. There are also killers such as Elizabeth Bathory, the wealthy and influential Countess in Hungary who, during the sixteenth century, murdered over 600 women and girls. River of Blood brings together two criminologists, from England and Australia, to give detailed biographies of serial killers from history and from across the world. River of Blood exposes the ordinariness of the serial killer, showing how the killer blends into society, successfully avoiding the stereotype assigned to the genre.

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This is a thoroughly slapdash production, as just a glance will tell you. Just two examples: This book claims that Gordon Northcott killed boys in Wineville, Canada. This reads like the product of hastily-assembled research. The Northcott killings were in Wineville (now Mira Loma), CALIFORNIA. Northcott was born in CANADA, and fled there.
The book is an attempt to catalogue serial killers, and often superficially at that. The very first entry begins: "Police gunned down Forty-three-year-old Abdallah Al-Hubal..."; the capital F in "Forty" betrays slapdash editing as well as dodgy research and/or writing.
Neither the peppering of mistakes nor the amateur book design is much of a surprise given that the book comes from a "co-publishing" (vanity) press, which alone serves as a warning that the authors might not be approaching the responsibilities of publication as professionally as one might wish.
 

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About the author (2004)

Martin Smith is manager of a Social Services Emergency Duty Team. Since qualifying in social work, he has specialised in work with older people and their carers and with mental health service users. He has researched and published widely on fear and stress in health and social care settings.

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