Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Deviant” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  4,199 Ratings  ·  148 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paul Bryant
Jan 31, 2008 Paul Bryant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Harold Schechter is an author with Tourette's Syndrome - consider some of his book titles:


Now imagine inviting Mr Schechter to dinner....

Vicki Willis
May 21, 2016 Vicki Willis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, z-2016
This is the kind of book that raises the hair on the back of your neck. A very chilling and gruesome retelling of Ed Gein's life. Starting back when he was child all the way to his death. It was horrifying and difficult to put down at the same time. Very engrossing and disturbing because of the effect on the town and society at that time. He, being the first of many killers, has a shock value of no other. A recommended read for anyone who enjoys this genre.
Nov 22, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  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
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Unbelievable! I'll never complain about my neighbors again!
Jun 29, 2013 Susanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I dated this guy.
I have to hand it to Harold Schechter. There are few in the true crime genre who can turn spin a creepy yarn the way he can.

Deviant: The shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original "Psycho" is written more like a novel than an act of reportage. The reporting is still there, but Schechter is quite adept at hiding the reportage under a sneaky tale-telling voice, that sucks his readers in to the horror he's conveying and makes us want to reach the mysterious revelation even if we already know the
Oct 08, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013booksread
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
Aug 06, 2008 M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Excellent study of the Midwestern serial killer -- the basis of the fictional characters Buffalo Bill, Norman Bates and Leatherface. Also played by Steve Railsback in a biopic, which should tell you a great deal. Proves that in America, anyone can become a big star if he has a low IQ and very weak personal boundaries.
Jan 22, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Renato Rodriguez
Harold Schechter delivers as always with another biography of one of the most famous psychopaths that ever lived: Ed Gein.
 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
J. Pacheli
Jan 02, 2015 J. Pacheli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2012 Traummachine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 13, 2016 Myriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Ed Gein's story is disturbing, even in a time where violence and death and murders and torture are banalised in the media, Ed Gein's story is still disturbing. It reveals the depth of evil that humans can have, the insanity that would lead a man to eat soup off bowls made from a human skull, own lampshades made of skin etc... These things should remain in the realm of urban legends and horror movies. ironically Gein had a huge impact on popular culture at the time, Psycho and The Texas chainsaw ...more
Mike Reid
Feb 27, 2012 Mike Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always had a fascination with Ed Gein but not in the Deviant way, just an odd curiosity about him and what was going through his mind when he was doing what he was doing. It is true his story sparked a flurry of horror flicks and he will always be the "godfather" of gore..The book was easy to read, gory at times and very informational. You almost felt for the guy as you learned more and more about his back story and his life..

I recommend it!
Miriam Smith
Jul 05, 2016 Miriam Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kept-book
I love anything to do with gory serial killers, and this is about a true life one, which inspired the Pyscho, Texas Chain Saw Masacre and Silence of the Lambs.....need I say more? Sadly I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is very shocking and saddening for the victims and families involved, but I was engrossed and read in virtually one sitting which is very unlike me. Not for the faint hearted but would definetly recommend.
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!
Feb 01, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I love Hitchcock so in that regard I was fascinated. It's a pretty unusual story and I always like the macabre and the psychology behind it. Ethics and psychology are fascinating topics to me.

I also really enjoy Schechter's writing style!

The scary thing about this book is that it's more twisted in some ways that the movie Psycho ever was...
Oct 21, 2010 Dale rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
Jun 22, 2011 Tim Hickey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 05, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I've always heard about Ed Gein and what he had done but never knew the details. This book not only gives details but also has little tidbits about other monsters I'd never heard about. When all is said and done Ed Gein was a sicko genius.
Dan Sharber
Jul 26, 2015 Dan Sharber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!! :(
Joslyne Viquez
Jun 28, 2013 Joslyne Viquez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and interesting. Eddie Gein, a sick twisted soul you can't help but feel sorry for. Reading every book written on him, this book portrayed his life most accurately.
Jul 15, 2012 Ginny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
- ̗̀ Unsolved Mystery  ̖́-
I had a review posted but Goodreads ate it.
Sep 03, 2014 Pepperpots rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating yet hard to believe someone like Ed Gein existed.
Jul 26, 2010 Brett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written for sure, but if you're a ghoul like me you need to know the full story of Ed Gein, instead of just the awesome details you get off of and wikipedia.
Apr 30, 2008 junior rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
he was very original
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mystery/Suspense/...: April/May 2016 - True Crime - Deviant 13 10 Jun 04, 2016 10:18AM  
. 1 8 Dec 11, 2014 01:32AM  
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik
  • Lethal Marriage: The Unspeakable Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
  • The Family
  • The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy
  • The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer
  • The Night Stalker
  • Manson in His Own Words: The Shocking Confessions of 'The Most Dangerous Man Alive'
  • I: The Creation of a Serial Killer
  • Cannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of Rotenburg
  • The Hillside Stranglers
  • Perfect Victim: The True Story of "The Girl in the Box"
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
  • Invisible Darkness
  • The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town
  • The Boston Strangler
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...

Share This Book