The Misbegotten Son
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The Misbegotten Son

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  246 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The bestselling author of Predator and Doc dissects the shattering life of a charming, ruthless, and twice-convicted serial killer. Olsen delves into the psychology of Arthur Shawcross, who had characteristics of a pedophile, paraphile, misogynist, necrophile, and philanderer, yet still managed to charm a release out of a parole board.
Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Island (first published 1993)
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Best True Crime
124th out of 418 books — 700 voters
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Jim Thomsen
The late Jack Olsen was simply incapable of writing a bad book. First, few true-crime authors demonstrated such a stubborn insistence on chasing down every stray fact and every peripheral character as this former magazine writer from journalism's Golden Age. Second, his tender-tough-guy prose keeps what might have been exhausting expositions in the hands of lesser writers crackling along like ice cubes in a glass of whiskey.

And "The Misbegotten Son" is nowhere near Olsen's finest work. It's no...more
Tom Schulte
There is an amazing amount of details and research, including interviews around the life and crimes of Arthur Shawcross. First as a fiendish, murderous pederast, Act I of Shawcross' miserable life ends with him in jail. Act II finds him paroled and unable to live without being hounded out of community after community to end up in Rochester and accelerate his crimes to high frequency prostitute killings. I go back and forth on capital punishment. But, if someone cannot be successfully reintroduce...more
Re-read. A weird and interesting serial killer. He changed his M.O. from murdering children to killing prostitutes in Rochester, New York. Olsen was my favorite true crime writer, mainly because he just listens and lets everybody – Shawcross, his ex-wives, the victim’s family – tell their story, which is much more chilling than any dramatic prose could be. Everybody in this book is damaged. Here’s the mother of one of the child victims: “I go out to his car and my drunken husband was sittin’ in...more
Feb 01, 2014 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes based on true story cases.
Recommended to David by: A friend
Iread this book while deployed to Iraq. The author takes you on a mental walk through the areas where the murders happened. I am from the Watertown, NY area and some of the places he talks about I've never been there. I could actually see me walking through areas with the police.
Trixie Fontaine
The best true crime I've read (my favorite alongside Ellroy's _My Dark Places_). Horrifying and surprisingly (for the genre) challenging at the very end; without turning typical true-crime-readers off with a "bleeding heart liberal" approach, the information Olsen presents and the way he does it force you to recognize how truly fucked up a case like this is on so many levels and from so many personal perspectives. Felt truly objective to me while still being readably, grotesquely, exploitatively...more
This book was one of my first true crime novels that I read. It was riveting! I was able to recognize the locations described in the book because I lived in the area of where the story was based. Jack Olsen appears to be historically accurate regarding the details, right down to the District Attorney in Watertown, NY that still has strong family ties to the area today. This book really gets your heart racing and I highly concider this book a page turner! You wouldn't be wasting your time with th...more
A serial killer that killed two kids and was then let out for him to go on and kill street walkers it gives you a lot about of info about the killer from his school days to his arrest. A really big liar that could not live in reality and one doctor's quest to find out the truth about what makes Arthur Shawcross tick. This book is the first one i have read from Jack Olsen i have since bought three more of his.
Elizabeth Black
Excellent, excellent book. If I could, I would give it 4 and 1/2 stars. Enthralling, captivating, spine-tingling, goose-bumpy, and intriguing. I ate this book up as I cozied up with a serial killer.
Brandon Barnes
Back when I was in college I actually had mail correspondence with Arthur Shawcross for around a year. This book does a good job of capturing the facts of his crimes while also being an entertaining read.
Wana Rios
This guy is a psychopath. Very deranged and to know it is a true story is even more sickening.
Disturbing subject matter, but I recommend it for the insight it shares
Lisa Kelley
very disturbing can't believe it really happened
Andrew Vachss
The undisputed King of True-Crime.
Biography of killer, Arthur Shawcross
Hard to put this book down.
Sandy Henke
Excellent and well written!
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