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My Life Among the Serial Killers
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My Life Among the Serial Killers

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  845 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Over the course of twenty-five years, Dr. Helen Morrison has profiled more than eighty serial killers around the world. What she learned about them will shatter every assumption you've ever had about the most notorious criminals known to man.Judging by appearances, Dr. Helen Morrison has an ordinary life in the suburbs of a major city. She has a physician husband, two chil ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,652)
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Petra Xtra Crunchy
Dated, but brilliant. The author, a doctor, says she uses the scientific method but it's all personal interpretation.

I never supported the death penalty before reading the book. I always thought that a quick needle then going bye-byes was too good for murderers. That the best of all possible punishments was what happened to Myra Hindley. Life imprisonment and always the hope of freedom, which was never granted despite all her protestations of religion and repentance, and then she died in prison
...more
MeganEileen
Helen Morrison has come into a lot of criticism for this book and I must say that I agree with most of it. Here is a list of problems with the book:
1. There is absolutely no evidence that she has interviewed 80 serial killers. Most other experts deny that this is possible.
2. Her definitions of serial killers are inconsistent at best and flat out wrong at worst. This includes things such as:
A. They have confused minds incapable of impulse control or order, yet they can methodically kill and dis
...more
Katie
A little too much about "my life" and not enough about "among the serial killers." I don't really care about this woman's personal life. Just tell me about the nuts, already. A lot of name dropping (if you can call it that with serial killers). The chapter about Ed Gein was totally pointless. Only included, I think, to prove she'd talked to him in person -- added nothing to the book.
Lisa
As a individual who holds a psychology major, and a criminology minor I was very excited to read this book... However behind the very intriguing title, lies a very disappointing read. Dr. Morrison, has supposidly spent a great deal of her life interviewing serial killers.. but she doesn't come to any concrete conclusions regarding their personality origins in this book. After trying to read the book - maybe completing 3 chapters... possibly 4, I felt that I could have done a better job describin ...more
Jen3n
I really think this woman has no idea what she's talking about. She makes broad definitive statements that really don't make any sense when put up against actual science; like her theory that being a serial killer is genetic and people are either born bad or they aren't. There are several other examples but I'm too irritated to get into it.

She also flip-flops and back pedals to suit what ever point she is trying to make at the time. One example is when she states that it's a myth that serial kil
...more
Elise
I was very disappointed in this book. It did deliver interesting synopses of various serial killers histories and crimes, and parts were interesting. However, mostly the book just came across as very defensive - this woman has often testified on behalf of the defense, and half the book seemed devoted to her re-iterating her critics words and then responding to them. Lady, I don't care what your critics say, I'm just interested in what it was like to meet and work with serial killers. On a side n ...more
Laura Gurrin
Initially, I thought this book would be a pretty engaging, first-person account of one psychiatric expert's travel through the world of serial killers. That was the introduction. Then we got into what was supposed to be the factual portion of the book, and things went awry. "No serial murderers are addicted to drugs, drink, or even smoking." Really? None, ever? A serial killer who likes to chew on panties does it because he likes soft things, and panties are the softest - there's no sexual angle ...more
Sheryl
My gut feeling on this book was that the author did not learn very much in her years of study. I think the book was more to convince people that she is a normal sane, empathetic person. She probably has been attacked as being odd for wanting to study serial killers. She theorizes that it is not childhood abuse that is one of the big factors that cause people to become serial killers and yet I believe all of the ones she discussed had abuse or at the least an odd childhood. I did not listen to al ...more
Erasmusser
1 word to describe this book? DISAPPOINTING

The author is inconsistent, regularly contradicts her own statements, sometimes it seems as if she wanted to write a novel, and she comes across as a pretentious arrogant person.

Next to that; I read the dutch version of the book, and it reminded me why I try to read most books in their original language. It is poorly translated which led to more confusion from my side.

No, I really didn't enjoy reading this book. The cover promised me so much more.
Meera
I am no expert on serial killers and I won't pretend to be. But this book was filled with vague unsupported assumptions to the point where I was constantly rereading chapters in attempt to see where Morrison gleaned her information. She made statements like "there was no sexual component in this act" and "the parents of this killer had no impact in his making" (not direct quotes) These statements seem random, if not a little ludicrous. Morrison goes on to write that addiction was their sole reas ...more
Skipper Ritchotte
It's time to put this one out of its misery. I thought I might be interested in serial killers in an "it'll be good for research" kind of way, in an "I'd like to better understand why this happens" way. Turns out I'm not all that interested in serial killers.

Barely out of school, a young Helen Morrison was asked by an FBI agent who'd seen her seminar on hypnosis to interview and hypnotize murderer Richard Macek. The agent wanted to find information that might show Macek wasn't guilty of the mur
...more
Liz
The author's primary aim here seems to be to chronicle how awesome she is. (Granted, this is something I've come to expect from authors who prominently mention their professional degree on books intended for general audiences.) In between episodes of talking about herself, Morrison throws in horrific stories about the deeds of various serial killers, some of whom she has corresponded with and some of whom she hasn't. (A few of these seem really gratuitous, despite the fact that she introduces th ...more
Rebecca
I find the author of this book pretentious, arrogant, and not an engaging writer. The work she presents is interesting, but her theory certainly isn't the ONLY one to explain serial killers, although she presents it as dogma. Also, the lack of appropriate use of DSM in the book is disheartening. Psychiatric terms are thrown about in the most ridiculous, inappropriate way, and the appropriate context of terms like, "borderline" and "schizophrenia" aren't explained, so the average reader has no id ...more
Lola
I get that this lady has talked to a lot of serial killers and got into a field that was, and still is, very male-dominated. Good for her, girl power. However I don't need to read an entire book of her name dropping and feeding me her theories on serial killers with little to no evidence aside from personal opinion. She also makes absurd claims like "No serial killers are alcoholics or drug users," and likewise "No serial killer is a psychopath." Really?

She states that this book wasn't written
...more
Tiffany McFly
I tried so hard to keep an open mind while reading this book and tried to find something to like. I gave up all trying half way through; something I've never done before.

I'm not in school for psychology or anything at all relating to this field. But I've always been interested in serial killers and have done reports in High School relating to the topic. So I have no proper or legitimate education in this area but I feel like (and I'm not trying to be arrogant) I knew automatically that most of h
...more
Israel
La doctora Helen Morrison es una de las expertas en asesinos en serie de mayor prestigio en Estados Unidos y ha pasado más de cuatrocientas horas a solas en una celda con algunos de los más renombrados criminales, internándose en las profundidades de sus mentes.

El libro pretende establecer un patrón del porqué actúan los asesinos en serie, que les hace "click" y a pesar de que la experta no llega a una conclusión o un motivo determinante (nadie lo ha hecho) nos deja un buen tajo de información i
...more
♥ Marlene♥
on Monday, August 25, 2008 I wrote about this book:

Well Now I remember why I did not like this book although it was such an interesting subject.
I totally do not agree with most of Helen Morrison's theories. Yes I am not a doctor but I've read so many books about serial killers and books from the people that have a different opinion than she does, I think I know a little bit and she is wrong.

One thing that comes to mind. She was asked if John Wayne Gacy would have killed if there would have been
...more
goodglory
I didn't know that a book about serial killers could be so boring. And nothing that this aurthor says about her beliefs of why people become serial killers make since. It's all her opinions, with no concrete evidence. If you have sexual relations with a dead person. Is that not necrophiliac? According to this aurthor it is not. Because the guy was just wandering what it was like. Uhm....pretty sure that if you rape only oncce, that that still makes you a rapist. Right? And she says that being ph ...more
Sonja Bakker
Erg slecht boek.
Behalve dat het boek zeer slecht vertaald is (maar net even beter dan wat Google Translate kan doen), zijn de methoden en technieken die de auteur beschrijft erg ongeloofwaardig. Ook worden de meningen van de auteur gerepresenteerd als de waarheid en is zij te overtuigd van haar eigen gelijk.
Daarnaast spreekt ze zichzelf (en de feiten) af en toe tegen. Zo zegt ze dat seriemoordenaars geen zelfmoord plegen, maar vertelt ze ook over Fred West, die zichzelf ophing in zijn cel.
Ze d
...more
Jacquelyne Aubuchon
I came to read this book after hearing the author interviewed on Darkness Radio in (I think) January of 2014. The interview stuck with me and I finally read her book. It was wonderful to find she hasn't spoiled her book in her fascinating interview.

I had a hard time putting this book down and found it a fast read. It's written in a way I find refreshing in a time where our media is full of exaggerated opinion pieces claiming to have "the" answer. She doesn't claim to have a specific recipe for
...more
Nick
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Noelle
Very good book! However during my read I realized I needed to stop my true crime spree that I had started :) Some parts of this book truly disgusted me. However if you can get over that she has some interesting opinions in this book!
J.S. Bailey
An interesting read. The author states that she was given a slice of John Wayne Gacy's brain, which she keeps in a jar in her basement. Creepy much?
Edie
Good, but yet another person with a degree who thinks they know more than everyone else.
Seth
Guilty pleasure reading. The conclusions drawn might have been compelling in better hands, but alas, the writing is so bad that I stopped keeping track of particularly laughable turns-of-phrase early in my reading. It was childish writing, the sort of stuff you see in workshops full of particularly unimaginative college freshmen. There was also a distressing lack of structure to individual paragraphs, with topics drifting hither and thither like an aimless serial killer on the road, lacking dest ...more
Steph
This is a fascinating look at a handful of serial killers that were interviewed by and sent letters to the author. Overall, I enjoyed it, but there was an awful lot of the author patting herself on the back for her unique theories and interpretations regarding the psychology of serial killers. I'm only giving it 3 stars because I wouldn't read it again, but I did enjoy it. It is pretty creepy-- I kept thinking that truth is horrible. The things some of these men did were just horrific, and as su ...more
Fox
My Life Among the Serial Killers was a fascinating view into the debate about what drives a serial murderer to kill. Although the book became technical at times, for the most part it was written in layman's terms and in depth enough to leave the reader feeling a bit more knowledgeable in regards to the somewhat esoteric subject.

Where the book went wrong were the long (at times more than half a chapter) rants about the author's life. While I understand that it is important to realize how deficien
...more
Ryan Zimmerman Carstairs
Interesting book, but I think the author is doing some serious wishful thinking with her theory that serial killing is a genetic defect. A lot of people, especially in the mental health profession, really want the horrible aspects of humanity to be genetic; that way it isn’t anyone’s fault. My problem here is if it is a genetic defect then where are the statistics showing the children of serial killers are more likely to be serial killers? She also has a tendency to read motives into the actions ...more
Buffy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
I have a morbid fascination with serial killers, and a newfound appreciation for true crime, so of course I was going to give this book a try. And here is where I'm torn. The author's psychological explanation for why serial killers kill is that they are addicted to killing, they are impulsive and incapable of controlling their actions once they are pushed too far, and they have the emotional maturity of a young infant. Ie. their killing sprees are impulsive rather than premeditated. That's a pr ...more
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