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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,352 ratings  ·  106 reviews
The truth behind the twisted crimes that inspired the films Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs...

From “America’s principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers” (The Boston Book Review) comes the definitive account of Ed Gein, a mild-mannered Wisconsin farmhand who stunned an unsuspecting nation—and redefined the meaning of the wo
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Pocket Books (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Harold Schechter is an author with Tourette's Syndrome - consider some of his book titles:


Now imagine inviting Mr Schechter to dinner....

Nov 28, 2011 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mum
Mothers, be careful how you raise your boys, especially if you're an overbearing religious wackjob who thinks the best lesson she can impart is that all women are wanton, wicked and deserve to be punished as this could lead to a host of mental illnesses and some terrifying life choices on the part of your child...

Ed Gein is infamous as the inspiration behind more than one of our cinematic bogeymen - Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill being the most notable exa
Bryn Dunham
This is the story of the guy who inspired Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs. Like Dahmer, a little pitiful man named Ed Gein, raised by a dominant mother and abusive father, drifted into insanity after the death of his mother and proceeds to murder two women, rob the graves of several others and uses their body for multiple goulish ends.

Easy read, well written, but overly simple; this book does not delve significantly in depth into the mind of Gein but just explains
This book was originally recommended to me by a psychiatrist I worked with when I worked in mental health. It's the story about the original psychotic killer, Ed Gein, the basis for "Psycho" and "Silence of the Lambs"'s Buffalo Bill. I've actually read the same author's book on the serial killer H.H. Holmes so I expected it to be pretty good.

I wasn't disappointed. This was generally an excellent telling of Ed Gein's life, his crimes, and the public revelations of those crimes. My only real criti
Maybe this book could be appeal to a certain audience, but this is written like a dime store novel instead of an informative exploration into the mind of what is possibly the most notorious killer that this nation has ever seen. Deviant is written like a tabloid article, when the subject should be thrilling enough to stand on its own feet.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Unbelievable! I'll never complain about my neighbors again!
If you have a sick fascination with serial killers, as do I, this book will be intriguing, addicting, and incredibly creepy. Gein is said to have been an inspiration behind the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a favorite of many horror movie fans, including this one, which made the book all the more addicting.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
After reading this I am simply floored. This is one of the best true crime books I have ever read. It gets into very vivid details on Geins and his crimes. I have to admit, part of the reason why I finally picked this book up from my bookshelf is because I went to see the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie (Which I liked). My liking of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies began when I was in my teens. It was later on that I learned that “Leather Face” as he was called was an actual real life killer ...more
Dan Sharber
poor crazy eddie gein. what a nightmare this whole thing was! i knew the broad outlines of the story and to be sure it was just as gruesome as i expected. but i did not expect eddie to be such a pitiful character. but man was he messed up!! :(
Debbie Evancic
This was probably the worst book that I have ever read and not because of the way it was written, but because of it's contents.

It is the story of a true "psycho". Many horror movies were taken off true events of Ed Gein's life. The ad from Bates Enterprises says, "to the guy who got it all started". Hitchcock's Psycho was the prototype for every slasher file that followed and Ed Gein was the true life patron saint of splatter, the grandfather of gore. They will never know the cases left unsolved
Hard to rate a book like this really.

I did a 14-page PsyCrim profile on Edward Gein for my Forensic psychology class in May 2014. A PsyCrim profile is basically a in depth report written after intense research into a criminal's personal and criminal history. This particular book was one of my primary source materials for my report.

The book itself seems to be very well researched and written much like a story. There are quotes, legal documents, medical reports and anecdotal stories sprinkled th
Maggie Kiel hinz
I loved this book. The author doesn't sensationalize the story in the first few chapters to keep the reader interested, only to disappoint with an overall-weak project. Each chapter lead to new excitement, new angles, new twists, new emotions. I felt that I got to know Ed Gein, the person, the neighbor, the sheltered son, the disgusting killer... I have loaded up my "want to read" list with Mr. Schechter's books. If they're as well written as "Deviant" was, I will not be disappointed!
Katie Bowie
This is the second book by Harold Schechter that I've read, the other being a biography of serial killer Albert Fish (my review here). Again, I reiterate my point that this is not a book you read for the content in the way that you don't exactly get enjoyment (unless you're really messed up) from reading about a man who murdered and bodysnatched and made lampshades and bowls and belts and gloves and many other items out of the skin and bone of the bodies he kept. This is the kind of book I read ...more
Jime Pach eli
As a result of my interest on famous serial killers, I came across this book. After previously having found a book about the famous cultist, Charles Manson, I wondered if maybe there was any piece of information about the killer that has always intrigued me the most: Ed Gein.
I took the plunge and bought this book on Amazon. I must say that it's well written, no complicated language is used and the thread is awfully easy to follow. It definitely grabbed me from beginning to end. Schechter explai
Had this book been published today, rather than in 1989, it would have contained much more detail than it does. And it likely would have contained more (speculative?) content about Ed Gein's psychology. Taken as the product of its time, however, it's a fascinating read about an even more fascinating character. It's hard to imagine the deranged schizophrenic who inspired Psycho as a sympathetic figure. But it's one of Harold Schechter's authorial gifts that he manages to make Ed Gein as sadly sym ...more
Fascinating yet hard to believe someone like Ed Gein existed.
This was a highly disturbing book mostly because it was true! I don't know how I missed this in the headlines when it came out. If you don't have a strong stomach, skip this book. What IS interesting is that the book and movie, "Psycho," was based on this wierd man's story.
Tim Hickey
Good book and scary. I always wondered if Ed Gein was one of the first psychpaths what happened back in the 50's or in that town in Wisconson that caused such a break with reality.
What he did is almost tame compared to what we are seeing nowadays.
Love forensic stuff but this guy is one of the biggest sicko ever. He's the guy that some movies were made after. Good read if you like this stuff.
Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner!! As far as the most whacked out killer I have read about that is. I've read quite a bit of true crime. Dahmer, Bundy, Ramirez, Ridgeway(to name a few)...all nutty to the core. But this cat was a little more kooky than the rest. Making furniture with body parts. Cutting off faces and using them as masks. Parading around the house in clothes made of human skin. Having a box of noses and....umm....women's "thingies". Yeah, Ed Gein was cuckoo as they come. A re ...more
It's been a while since I read one of Schechter's books, and he's just as good as I remember.

This was the story of Ed Gein, and it inspired Hitchcock's Psycho (actually, it inspired Robert Bloch's Psycho, which Hitchcock made into a movie). Many of the trappings of that movie are here: remote location, dead mother drives son mad, etc. To be honest, I think Gein inspired Texas Chainsaw Massacre even more. Although Ed Gein was no chainsaw-wielding maniac, he first cured and then wore the skins of
Christian Engler
Drawing on interviews and historical records, author Harold Schechter has written the definitive true-crime story of Ed Gein, Wisconsin's psychopathic and grave robbing necrophilic monster, whose disturbing momma's boy fetish impulses shocked the nation to its core.

Before getting to the actual horror of the Gein atrocities, Schechter gives the reader a good historical foundation of Gein's upbringing and of Plainfield. From that, he springboards into the gross and unspeakable depravities as commi
Alshia Moyez
I liked true crime, so I liked this. But it's one of those books you just don't want to read twice. I like author Harold Schechter's work, but I've kind of gotten myself out of this genre for now, so I won't be reading more by him anytime soon. Nor will I become a fan of his on GR because I'm stepping away from this type of stuff.

This was the first book I read on Ed Gein, so I can't say whether or not this book shed more light on him or not. I just don't know. It was well-written and edited but
Rachel Bare
Talk about creepy!!!

Twisted....but I think the part I found the most interesting was not the story of Guin but of the town and their rollercoaster of emotions. The signs they ignored, the denial, the rejection, the outcry, and more.... enjoyed the book thoroughly. Now onto Gacy.
Stephen Thorn
Probably Schechter's best. Riveting true-crime story of Ed Gein, the man on whom "PSYCHO" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" were based. Gruesome, but a page-turner.
The true story about Ed Gein was the basis for Hitchcock's "Psycho". While the movie Psycho scared me from taking a shower for years, it's nothing compared to the real life of Ed Gein and what he was able to do in a small Wisconsin town.

Because he was believed to be slow witted, this man was able to terrorize a town and still walk about unnoticed. Gein was sick but the man had skills... he skinned these women and preserved their skin so well that he was able to sew pieces of the skin together to
This is the second Schechter book that I read and I liked it much better than Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer . However, I still find it a little weird that a nonfiction book has absolutely no sourcing...the historian/researcher in me just can't quite get passed that fact.
However, this book reads like fiction and it is clearly very well researched. I honestly did not know that Psycho was "based," quite loosely, on the Ed Gein murders.
Overall, a very enjoyable read.
Ick...this sicko Ed Gein was wacked! For those who know nothing about him - he was the basis for the character in "Psycho." I remember my dad reading something about this dude way back when I was a little girl and the book had a lot of black & white crime scene photos... The images of the skulls on the bedposts stuck in my mind all these years. And I wanted to read more about this quack, especially b/c he was from Wisconsin. Why are there so many high profile sicko serial killers from WI? Ob ...more
David Scott
Harold Schechter is the preeminent true crime writer in the world. (That's my review. It says everything I want to say).
Bonnie Gregorio
sickening... don't be like me and finish this in the dark of night when you are hearing creepy sounds around the house.
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Aka Jon A. Harrald (joint pseudonym with Jonna Gormley Semeiks)

Harold Schechter is a true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he obtained a Ph.D. A resident of New York City, Schechter is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.

Among his nonfiction works are
More about Harold Schechter...

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