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I: The Creation of a Serial Killer

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,059 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Prize-winning journalist Jack Olsen, armed with unprecedented access to one of the most infamous serial killers in American history, provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a murderer in the killer's own words . . .

In February 1990, Oregon State Police arrested John Sosnovke and Laverne Pavlinac for the vicious rape and murder of Taunja Bennet, a troubled 23-year-
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 20th 2002 by St. Martin's Press
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You may wonder why I would give five stars to a book I didn't finish--nor am likely to finish any time soon.

Jack Olsen, who died in 2002 at the age of 77, was much more than a crime writer. He was a gifted and insightful psychological analyst who might have been a neuroscientist in another life. His interest in violent crime focused not so much on the victims of murder but on the "victims" who committed murder. A quotation cited in his obituary in the Seattle PI sums up his approach:
"I start eve
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I read The Happy Face killer's daughters book, so I figured I would read one on him. Twisted mother fucker!!
This book was VERY graphic and detailed. I got interested in it because I read "Shattered silence: the untold story of a serial killer's daughter" a month ago. That was written by the daughter of Keith Jesperson, the Happy Face Killer, that this book is about. This book is unique in that it is broken down by sections. Every other section is voiced by the author giving a timeline story of the seriel killer's life, while the sections in between is voiced in Jesperson's own words. He details each o ...more
Aug 17, 2007 Allie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: True crime fans with very strong stomachs
I read true crime all the time, but this book was a little much for me. It actually made me feel physically ill at times, but I couldn't put it down.

As far as I know, this is one of the only books, if not the only book, of its kind. It's a first-person, as-told-to account of what it's like to be a serial killer. The writing is good, and the author tells the story pretty much in the voice of the killer.

What disappointed me about the book was that, even after wading through all the gruesome detai
Paulie Dude
Sep 18, 2008 Paulie Dude rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: True Crime fans
This is definitely one of the better true crime books out there. The murders themselves are perhaps not so noteworthy as far as serial killers go. They are not complex torture scenarios with knives and acids. They are the simple games played by a man fascinated by the pain inflicted through murder, and Olsen's writing captures the gritty struggle of ending a life.

Perhaps most important to note about this book is contained in the title. All of the murdering and generally sick behaviour is written
I have read other books by Jack Olsen and normally he is a good writer but this book is by far his worst. I have read many true crime books and this is one of the worst researched and written.

Olsen wasted his time and writing ability with writing this book. I have read other books by Jack Olsen about serial killers, and sociopaths/psychopaths that were well written. This is not one of them.

In this book he allowed both Jesperson and his father way too much leeway considering they are both psychop
A book written largely using the words of a serial killer is an interesting concept and one that I thought would help to provide fresh insight into an overcrowded true crime/serial-killer-profiling genre. But here's the thing: I don't think he's an interesting or insightful subject. He's a lying sadist who provides chapters of unchallenged borderline torture porn. Balancing the chapters from the POV of the killer with that of police or journalists who investigated the crimes might have helped to ...more
I couldn't believe that I read this whole book in 2 days. It was a scary though disturbing look into a killers' mindset that was so fascinating I couldn't stop reading.
Troy Cook
Keith is a killer who wants attention. His audacity and arrogance were his weapons and he loved what he did.A No remorse narcissistic waste of oxygen.It always amazes me with every book i read on serial killers that the common denominator is charm.Serial killers can turn it on and turn it off at will fooling even those closets to them. A lot of people a truly beautiful on the inside and serial killers are hideous creatures on the inside. I'ts a pity they don't look like their inner self as we wo ...more
A:How did jack olsen get every detail about keith jepersen? Besides his childhood, what possessed keith to kill all those innocent women? Did keith actually care about any of the women he killed?

C:I couldn't necessarily relate to keith jepersen, but i could relate to his life in a way that sometimes in life you are misunderstood and have a rough childhood, and later on in life, the mistakes you make, you blame it on your childhood, when in actuality you are responsible for all your actions.

Tommy Walker
A four-star book that continuously pisses me off in memory for Jack Olsen's insertion of himself as a personality into the telling. Keith Hunter Jesperson was no one's idea of a genius while Jack certainly was, and here would be the place to mention that I loved Jack Olsen's "The Rape of the Town of Lovell", "The Misbegotten Son" (about another serial killer) and "Son" (about a serial rapist). But having made a long and illustrious career out of true crime writing, he was surprisingly useless in ...more
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Karen Bullock
By far, the strangest true crime book I have ever read
Usually true crime starts off with a sinister look of a heinous crime someone has committed & you don't really get to read about the killer til the end of the book. But this one starts out right off the bat with the killer telling his story.

Ingenious but in NO way does it make me feel sorry for him--it boils down to his whiny excuses...

Book was sinister, creepy & enthralling all at the same time!!
Jackie Griffin
I read this because I just read "Shattered" by the killer's daughter. That was a very good book. This book is an insight into the mind of a serial killer. It is also creepy and horrible.
Read this in 3 days. Couldn't put it down, such detail and an amazing writer executed it perfectly. Gruesome crime and very vivid, but I enjoyed the book thoroughly.
Very well written book about the life of a serial murderer. The details were just enough, not to gruesome and not to light. The story line between father and son and family dynamic was a great way to shed light of motive and intent
Scott Sapp
Understanding how serial killers become who they are and the abnormal tendencies that they show at a very early age. a lil dark at times, but actually really fascinating
Nancy Gilliam

Another well researched book. It's like the author lived it. How many more would he had killed if he wasn't caught?
Sara Campbell
Excellent book about a lesser known serial killer. I love reading about what goes on inside the head of a serial killer! Well-written with a lot of gruesome details. 5 stars.
Ridiculously interesting, and way different from all the other true crime books which I have read so far. The way it is written - Keith basically telling his own story - is refreshing and anything but dull. I am a big fan of Olsen's way of keeping things exciting, informative, detailed but far from boring. I find that most true crime authors tend to repeat themselves almost endlessly. Olsen certainly does not. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick, rather simple read. Howeve ...more
Eric Macho

Ok be home by :) vCard :) kb know :/ gig. H. :/ f2f :) :/ :-/ Bibb BBC bb
The book is well put together by an author I've read before. The Happy Face Killer, whom the book is about, is a sicko freak!!! He is a narcissistic sociopath for sure. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but well written.
A bit self-indulgent, but it provides a more intimate look into the mind of a real serial killer than you will get almost anywhere else.
Frederic Fovet
Decent read but I think that - like many of its kind - it fails in its purported objective: explaining pathological killing with biographical details
Terri Jacobson
This book is about the "Happy Face" killer, who killed 8 women in the early 1990s. The book contains interviews with the killer and his family, and is often written from the point of view of the killer. He tries to blame his behavior on this father's abuse of him as a child, though of course the father denies this. He rationalizes his crimes to himself, thinking that the victims are to blame for their fate. He seems proud of the murders. An interesting saga.
Cindy Boss
Loved this book, interested all the way through, cant wait to read more by this author
I found this to be a very candid firsthand account from a serial killer and one of the more fascinating biographies that I've read. I read this book a few years ago and much of what was described in the book still haunts me today. I'd recommend this to anybody with an interest in the subject matter and a stomach to read through disturbing details.
I think the writer tried very hard to give a voice to this killer. That's why the book became boring after a while. Not because he was a bad writer, but because the guy speaking was a boring person.
Well-written, interesting, detailed, and written in a style that was pleasurable to read, I: The Creation of a Serial Killer is a great true crime read. Olsen documents the crimes and trial of Keith Hunter Jesperson. One of the best books I've read in the genre, Olsen has written a book that all true crime fans should pick up.
I would have liked to read more perspective from other people. Writing from jesperson's point of view was interesting but it fell flat. I watched an interview with the killer and it didn't even seem like the same guy. That tells me that the author didn't do a very good job of making the subject real.
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“Taunja Bennett kissed her mother good-bye and said she was off to meet a boyfriend. She disappeared from sight in the direction of a bus stop, her Walkman plugged into her ears. Lately the twenty-three-year-old high school dropout had been listening over and over to “Back to Life” by Soul II Soul. She carried a small black purse. Taunja was mildly retarded from oxygen deprivation at birth. She’d been a difficult child. In a cooking class at Cleveland High School, she assaulted a classmate in a quarrel over a piece of cake. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, she was committed to a state hospital for six months. At twenty-one, she frequented northeast Portland bars like the Woodshed, the Copper Penny and Thatcher’s. She hustled drinks, shot pool and got into trouble with men. She was petite and pretty—five-five, with glistening dark brown hair, liquid brown eyes, a trim figure,” 0 likes
“significant effect on the behavioral and intellectual development of their children.” —Robin Karr-Morse and Meredith S. Wiley, Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing” 0 likes
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