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Alone With The Devil: Psychopathic Killings That Shocked The World
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Alone With The Devil: Psychopathic Killings That Shocked The World

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  282 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
This is a riveting, behind-the-scenes look at the perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes in recent history: the infamous Vampire of Sacramento; the Manson family; Norma Jean Armistead, who was willing to kill in order to steal children; and a host of others. Photographs.
Published (first published April 1989)
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Kae Markman tried to use mostly non-celebrity killers, but some of the ones mentioned are

- Orlando Camacho
- Kevin Green
- Jason Nelson
- John Sweeney
Markman tried to use mostly non-celebrity killers, but some of the ones mentioned are

- Orlando Camacho
- Kevin Green
- Jason Nelson
- John Sweeney
- Anthony David Dontanville
- John Zimmerman
- Louis and Laura Schindler
- Richard Chase
- (have not read further...)(less)

Community Reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
Incredibly well-written true crime novel that offers a look into a psychiatrist's various cases, some of which are known around the world to be some of the most deranged and horrific cases recorded.
J.H. Moncrieff
Jul 29, 2016 J.H. Moncrieff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book. It's a slow starter, but if you can get past the pedantic, steeped-in-academia, holier-than-though opening chapters, it's riveting.

Written by a forensic psychiatrist in LA who often has to testify at famous trials, Alone with the Devil is a critical look at the failings of the American justice system. Markman explores why criminals are set free, even though it's well known they are still dangerous; why obviously disturbed psychotics are deemed sane in the eyes of the
Jun 06, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: richard chase fans, polanski fans, charlie manson fans, students of abnormal psychology
Recommended to Rebecca by: no one.
Shelves: books-i-own
This book is written fairly well compared to most "serial killer gets analyzed by high profile psychologist" books.

The thing that drew me to it is that it contains the most information about Richard Chase, aka 'The Vampire of Sacramento', that I have been able to find.

In my opinion the book was worth the price just for the Chase story, as the author seems to have been on of the people to speak with Chase the most in the short time between Chases' incarceration and suicide.

There are, however, o
Miko O.
Jan 19, 2010 Miko O. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I mean, it IS amazing, but I wouldn't read it over and over. It's pretty disturbing.
Halli Villegas
Interesting book that is actually more of an explanation of the insanity defense and all the ways it is used and abused by the justice system. Lots of information.
Tom Schulte
Feb 05, 2017 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of true crime, and have for years. It is not often any more that I come across one that truly impresses me. This one really did for the author's insight and open revelation of his struggle with the difficulties from a psychiatric system that does not communicate with a judicial system resulting in the dangerous out on the street, or the insane receiving incarceration instead of treatment. Not all the cases are famous, but they are all delivered with insight. Perhaps from taking effi ...more
May 04, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes to be scared
Recommended to Travis by: Tex
scary book. I read this book when I was relatively young, and I remember being terrified and yet compelled to read more. It is about serial killers and the psychiatric assessment of them (psychopath or sociopath.) I was truly frightened at what humans can become. I was more scared of the psychopaths, because they don't know what they are doing and I think I felt sorrier for them, although what is written in this book are gruesome, detailed accounts of their murders, which is terrifying. I still ...more
Angela Mcentee
May 05, 2014 Angela Mcentee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was extremely informative and deeply fascinating. The author is able to clearly and concisely explain what is the difference between sociopath and psychotic killers, and what constitutes the definition of legally sane. That being said, this book is deeply disturbing. I have read a lot of true crime but this book truly frightened me. I couldn't leave the book in my house, I had to leave it in my car! Also for about two weeks after finishing it, I had to push a heavy trunk in front of my ...more
Very interesting. It is obvious that the author does not really agree with his role in court decisions. He states many times that the courts are biased toward the defendant and not the victim. In the many cases he lists this does seem to be the case. The courts are full of people whose crimes are argued down based on diminished capacity at the expense of the victim and what they have suffered.

This overall was a very interesting read with a good mix of clinical, legal, and dramatic information.
Josh Bayer
I read this in 2007 and recieved a crippling panic attack after reading the section about a team of serial rapists from the 70's who terrorized Malibu. Its like reading about genocide. Depressing and painful. I had been biking with my then girlfriendand we lost eachother and i became convinced she had been abducted -something i blame this book for. it put me off of true crime for years. read at your own risk
Misty Skaggs
oh man, this one had a dollar general store tag still on it when i found it. two bucks. and i paid a quarter at this creepy/cute little old ladies' yard sale. she had trashy true crime and taxidermy eeeverywhere. while said old lady was awesome, i'm glad i didn't pay two dollars for this book. and i especially didn't like how this read inspired me to have a sex dream about Tex Watson.
This book is remarkable in that Dr. Markham gave psychiatric evaluations to many very famous criminals, including two of the Manson family members. However, it's also quite dated. This book was published in 1989; the laws pertaining to criminals and the mentally ill have changed significantly since then. So I couldn't give it as many stars as I might have. But it was a good book.
This was interesting, but it was a rough read. There are a few stories I wish that I had skipped over, due to the graphic details of brutality. If you've ever wondered whether a criminal was really crazy under the law, this book gives you a better idea.
May 16, 2012 Whitney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow!! If you love reading about infamous crimes, this is THEE book to read. Some of the stories are extremely graphic and disturbing.. while I was reading this, eating red meat was not an option, weird, I know!! Highly recommend if you follow The Manson Family, Bundy, or any other famous terrors.
I read most of this years ago and I will finish someday. It is a really good true crime book. I have to admit that there are some stories in it I that I will never be able to get the visual out of my mind. This book is truly intense and NOT for the squeamish!
This one was pretty good but it didn't really hold my interest that well. It seemed to be more about proving the author's expertise than about getting as deeply as I would have liked into the heads of these criminals, none of whom remotely resembled the devil, BTW.
Sep 20, 2013 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
some truly grueling stories of sick criminals, but I didn't care for the writing so much.
Bob Conder
May 05, 2012 Bob Conder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first began reading this book I was not sure it was something I wanted to finish. I was sucked in to the bizarre things people do.
May 11, 2008 Rae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A forensic psychiatrist recounts his creepier cases including the Manson family murders. This was extremely interesting and, at the same time, maddening. Justice is not always served, in my mind.
Sarah Capstick
Dec 15, 2013 Sarah Capstick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books absolutely loved reading it and would recommend to everyone and anyone!
Hoping to find more of his work absolutely cracking writer and psychologist!!!
Parts of it were really good, but some of the legal stuff was boring and some of it was very gory. Overall, not horrible.
Marlene rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2014
Brittany Feldmeier
Brittany Feldmeier rated it it was ok
Apr 29, 2015
Melissa Grace
Melissa Grace rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2008
Jonathan Hickman
Jonathan Hickman rated it it was amazing
Feb 23, 2016
Papu rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2013
Caitlin rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2016
Christy Krouse
Christy Krouse rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2015
J.T. rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2013
Niobium rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2012
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Do the courts serve the accused or the victims? 1 9 Oct 29, 2008 12:18PM  
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