The Hillside Stranglers
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The Hillside Stranglers

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,860 ratings  ·  33 reviews
For weeks in the fall of 1977, as the body count of sexually violated, brutally murdered young women escalated, the Los Angeles newspapers headlined the increasingly alarming deeds of a serial killer they named the Hillside Strangler. But it would take more than another year and the mysterious disappearance of two young women in Seattle before the police would arrest one m...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 15th 2003 by Running Press (first published 1985)
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Christian Engler
I was always aware of Darcy O'Brien as an impeccable fiction writer, especially for his book, A Way of Life, Like Any Other, which won the prestigious Ernest Hemingway Award. However, I did not know that he was equally adept at writing true crime, and The Hillside Stranglers is indeed his pièce de résistance. O'Brien gets into the nitty gritty of the underbelly of the deviant Los Angeles sex scene where booze, violence and pimping all went hand in hand. Added to that is the depictions of the gru...more
Kimberly Pilya
Very disturbing but a graphic and grotesque wake up call to the kind of evil present in our society.
Adrian Phoenix
Again, as with most true crime, fascinating, but horrifying.
Jason Gusman
This is a good book about the Hillside Stranglers. It takes you through a background profile of each person up to the scare they put the city of Los Angeles into with their killing spree, and through the court process of Angelo Buono. There are some very interesting perspectives brought into this book. For example, the manipulative ways that pushed the duo to the point of killing. Also, there were some interesting aspects of how Bianchi played some mind games on a lot of people before, during, a...more
library goddess
Couldn't finish it. It's rare for me to stop a book without finishing it but I had to put this one down. It got so bogged down about 2/3 of the way through with Bianchi's attempted manipulation of the legal system that I found I just didn't care. The crimes were horrific and the murderers such scum! I could not believe that any woman would be attracted to either guy and yet the author contends that they had quite a harem. I did feel compassion for the effect that the crimes had on the investigat...more
Rebecca Martin
I really appreciate Darcy O'Brien's approach to true crime. This book is pretty hard to take though. I had no idea of the details of these crimes, though I remember the period when they were occurring. I still like O'Brien's Murder in Little Egypt (5 stars) for its meticulous picture of a relatively isolated part of the country and a way of life. In contrast, The Hillside Stranglers is only enlightening about the murders themselves and the relationship between the criminals.
I have always been intrigued by serial killers and thought I would read something about one I knew nothing about. This is a true story about two men who in the '70's would find prostitutes and kill them. I was deeply disturbed by some of the details and mistakenly would read this before bed, which meant a few scary dreams! But, overall if you like non-fictional stories about rape and murder, then you'd enjoy this. In all seriousness, it was interesting to enter the worlds of serial killers.
I read this book when I was quite young, maybe 12? (The reason I was aware of them was because of the made-for-TV movie that aired in 1989. It had a profound impact on me. I particularly liked O'Brien's conversational style, and how he added dialogue to the scenes that was likely imagined but "in the spirit" of truth. Amazing to think that if Bianchi had had a little more self-control up in Bellingham the two would likely have gotten away with it.
Carrie Bray
Well written kindle has a few errors that drives me crazy. Now the content there was a few places that I was gulping thought too much might be revealed (and I'm an ER RN , Paramedic , and Deputy Coroner ) so I have seen a lot don't get me wrong this isn't for the faint at heart but it wasn't grotesque... To me. This was well researched and I send prayers to all involved as it torn many lives apart.
Once in a while I have to read something to keep me from being a fairy princess about everything. It was hard to read in the beginning because it described the crimes. It made me sick to read but like a car wreck I couldn't resist craning my head toward the pages of the book. I have to say it was well written and researched.
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
This detailed nonfiction account of the Hillside Strangler murders alternates between the detective determined to find the killers, and the killers themselves.

Disturbing and grotesque, this book haunted me long after putting it down.

A little slow at times, but pretty good nonetheless.
Wholly disturbing. Period. I don't feel like this account really delves into the murderers minds to give you any kind of perspective regarding why they did this. But, this book does give a graphic account of each of the murders and does a fair job of describing the trial and outcome .
I LOVED this book. I couldn't read it at night, but that's just me. I couldn't put it down and couldn't wait to get back to it. Amazing the details Darcy put in his writing of this and all of his books. I haven't read one of his books I didn't like.
3Ralph Lemar
In my life time I watched a lot of crime shows and serial killers and a I must say in all my years I like stories about serial killers From David Berkowitz to Charles Manson The Green River Killer The Zodiac Killer Iceman Richard Kluklinski
i love true crime...and this book was well written...but i guess now that i'm a mom i can't stomache as much...i just couldn't finish it, the crimes detailed in this book and the monsters that carried them out were too much for me to take in...
A very well-written account of the Hillside Stranglers which many personal touches to make the book and the cases more meaningful. I would love to see a follow up to what has happened to all the major players in the last two decades.
Aug 20, 2007 Fanny rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: strong stomachs...
I used to read alot of books about serial killers, trying to understand them. There were passages in this book that put me off of reading this type of book for years. They should be dead for what they did to these women (and girls...)
Ugh. Grotesque, badly written trash. Not even good by the standards of the '80s True Crime genre, which were low. If you're offended by crap that turns misogynist psychopathology into entertainment, steer clear of this one.
I have a fascination with serial murder cases, and this one doesn't disappoint. It was well-written and high interest, with plenty of information about this real-life case I didn't know.
Well-researched, disturbing work. I appreciated that the author did not in any way glorify the killers as so many who write this genre tend to do.
Could not finish this - even though I'm not usually squeamish, this was far too graphic and somehow leering for my tastes.
The book was very well researched. The describtions of the murders is very graphic so it may not be right for every reader.
Detailed view of the lives involved, taken, ruined, & changed because of the pure evil these two murderers unleashed.
Again, this book is just a wake up call to what and who is nearer than we think.
An excellent read. Yet, another look on the darkside of humanity. Lock your doors.
It makes me never want to speak to or be nice to strangers...ever again.
Chris Bankston
Lock your doors, don't talk to strangers & carrie some protection
Stark descriptions of the crimes; not for the faint of heart.
Scary and happens all too often in this country.
Jul 15, 2013 Jill added it
I need a happy book now.
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Darcy O'Brien was born in Los Angeles, the son of Hollywood silent film actor George O’Brien and actress Marguerite Churchill.

O'Brien attended Princeton University and University of Cambridge, and received a master's degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkely. From 1965 to 1978 he was a professor of English at Pomona College. In 1978 he moved to Tulsa, and taught at the Unives...more
More about Darcy O'Brien...
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