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Psychopath (Crimescape #9)

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
"(A 69-page True Crime Short with photographs) H. H. Holmes was a central character in Erik Larson’s hugely successful The Devil in the White City, which is planned as a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Holmes is commonly viewed as a real-life Hannibal Lecter, a devious and cunning serial killer without equal. Holmes used the persona of a successful doctor and entrepreneu ...more
ebook, 69 pages
Published December 15th 2011 by Rosetta Books
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It's not that long ago I finished this book and still I find I remember incredibly little from it. As far as my memory goes, however, I'll say that this book isn't very scientific in its approach (something I had hoped for, as I find the subject of psychopathy highly interesting). It caters to our appetite for the grotesque, for that little devil inside us that thirsts for details. The very same thing that keeps us coming back to shows like Criminal Minds and CSI. Or me. I keep coming back to th ...more
May 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
In Psychopath, Dr. Ramsland discusses the criminal history of H. H. Holmes, a cold and skillfully manipulative serial killer who took advantage of the chaos of the 1893 World Fair to go on an undetected (at the time) killing spree. That's probably what he's best known for these days, thanks to Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City.

Holmes pulled a lot of cons and committed many murders aside from the ones that took place in his "Murder Castle," though, and it was one of those unrelated cons
May 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Like a 33 1/3 book about an album, only with a murderer. Which is pretty weird.

There wasn't enough detail here to equal a satisfying book, but too much information to be an interesting article. Really, I wish I had simply reread The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America?
May 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicago
Eh. Can't say I'd recommend it. Devil in the White City was far more interesting.
P.M. Bradshaw
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While only 60 – 70 pages, Katherine Ramsland has written a remarkably detailed and completely engrossing work on H.H. Holmes, possibly the most horrifying murderer in American history.

I was introduced to Holmes by the graphic novel The Beast of Chicago: The Murderous Career of H. H. Holmes, part of Rick Geary’s “Treasury of Victorian Murder” series. His black and white drawings, almost like 18th or 19th century woodcuts, are excellent. An instructor of forensic psychology and criminal justice a
Clarissa Draper
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a non-fiction book that not only chronicles the life of one of the most psychopathic serial killers but also delves into why a person becomes that way.

From amazon: "H. H. Holmes used the persona of a successful doctor and entrepreneur to draw untold numbers of young women to his three-story Chicago hotel to experiment on before killing them. Not one to waste, he’d often deflesh the corpses to sell the skeletons to medical schools. He enjoyed trying out methods of murder and watching his
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Chronicling the investigation and murder trial of H. H. Holmes, this short account delves into the mindset of a true psychopath. It focuses on and questions the implications of abnormal brain function as the cause of Holmes psychotic actions.

Holmes was able to blend in with his surroundings and use his education and profession to build a facade in which he could perform horrid acts of murder and go unnoticed for far to long.

Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Dr. Katherine Ramsland quickly tells the true story of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer in the 1800s. Holmes was extremely gifted at deception and persuasion; so much so that it is incredible that Detective Geyer was able to piece together the actual facts, thus solving the mystery of the missing Pitezel children and the death of their father, Benjamin Pitezel.

It is highly likely Holmes was guilty of other murders he was accused of (and many he wasn’t), but he never stood trial for them. In fact, th
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Dr. Ramsland tells the tale of H. H. Holmes, the serial killer who was able to work undetected in Chicago during the 1893 World's Fair. Holmes was actually caught because of a con he executed and the police gradually realized that they stumbled across a man who may be even more gruesome than the fictional Hannibal Lecter. Ramsland tells the story well, weaving scientific discoveries about the minds of psychopaths alongside the story of Holmes, whose tale was also told in Erik Larson's The Devil ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This informative look at the life and deeds of H.H. Holmes is a quick piece which reads almost like an outline for a larger work. It seems designed as an introduction to the ideas of psychopathy, but at the same time, Dr. Ramsland assumes that her audience is already at least cursorily familiar with the serial killer Holmes.

I would have enjoyed a more in-depth discussion of the psychology behind psychopathy (which is what I thought this book would be). As it is, Dr. Ramsland devotes only a singl
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This article espouses a theory that uses the case of HH Holmes as evidence. I use the term article because this reads like it comes out of a scientific journal and the author is a forensic and clinical psychologist. Psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong, they just don't care, and HH Holmes is the classic example of a Psychopath. Holmes has a silver tongue which enables him to take advantage of others who trust his position as a doctor and thus it cost them their lives. Holmes m ...more
Diane Lybbert
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This book analyzes serial killer H.H. Holmes, who admitted to 27 murders but probably killed many more. He built a hotel with secret rooms, ducts to introduce poisonous gas into other rooms, and even his own custom furnace to cremate bodies. A doctor by trade, he stripped some of the skeletons and sold them to hospitals and medical schools as teaching aids. Ramsland studies Holmes as a text-book psychopath, detailing his thought processes and actions. My biggest complaint is that the book is not ...more
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This short tract is a very good, succinct introduction to the minds of psychopaths, specifically concentrating on the criminal exploits of a particularly remorseless serial killer, H. H. Holmes. The tests and findings, tools and equipment used to evaluate the criminal mind to find out what makes incorrigible criminals do what they do were mentioned briefly, enough to whet the reader's appetite to do more research/readings if he wants to. I just wish this book was longer and went into more detail ...more
Jennifer Matwijec
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I previously heard about H.H. Holmes on a t.v. episode I want to say? So I thought it'd be interesting to read this book. Its not very long and it only took me a couple days to read it, but it was interesting and I liked how it had added photos to go along with it. There were quite a bit if information that I hadn't previously learned, so I'm glad I got to read this. I gave it a 3 only because it was so short, but I did enjoy it and would recommend it.
Arnab Das
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This is quite an intriguing book. The author tries to delve into the mind of one of the most dreaded serial killers of all time, H H Holmes. A lot of research is going on regarding the changes in the brain in case of psychopaths, and there could well be an anatomical explanation for their actions. The final chapter leaves up with a moral dilemma. Without spoiling anything I would highly recommend going through this book. A fast yet brilliantly interesting read.
May 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
I had high hopes for Psychopath, but it read like a minimally researched online article. I wish that Ramsland would have given actual information about the minds of psychopaths, rather than simply stating that research had been conducted and that the minds of psychopaths differ from normal minds. I learned nothing new from this book (though, to be fair, I have a degree in psychology) besides a brief outline of a sick man's crimes.
Paula Vee
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Worth the read however there was no new information for me as I have read other works about H H Holmes and extensively about psychopathy. More interesting for me than the subject of his crimes was the reaction of the public and the investigative methods used. Also the World's Fair and the impact of such a huge event in that time period.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good concise story. It condensed a tale that had span quite some time and filtered out the most gruesome bits. The book did an excellent job of focusing on the perp. Not his crimes as is so often the case. We will never get an answer as to why he commited his crimes but if the Psycopathy checklist had been available I'm sure he would have scored quite high.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Tells the story of H.H.Holmes, a serial killer around the turn of the century. The book gives little insight into psychopathology or serial killers as a whole and barely postulates the reasoning behind Holmes horrific acts. This story was told far better and in a more entertaining fashion in The Devil in the White City. I'd recommend reading that instead!!
A very quick look into the mind of a serial killer who haunted the Chicago streets at the turn of the 20th Century. Excellent follow up to Devil in the White City.

I wish it had gone into further detail, however as a long article, or short book, it was very good.

I just gave it another read after having a discussion about this guy and not being able to remember the details. Jan 8, 2016
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
An overview of the career of 19th-century psychopath H. H. Holmes becomes an excuse to give an overview of the most recent research into the brain function of sociopaths. Interesting as far is it goes, but it got me to wondering: What's the digital equivalent of a throwaway? There has got to be a better coinage than "delete-away"!
Ms. Rittel
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-2012
I decided to read this since I really enjoyed Larson's "The Devil in the White City." This book is an examination of the real-life serial killer discussed in Larson's book. This book did not have as much information and detail as Larson's book and failed to really bring Holmes to life.

Read Larson's book first.
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-read, meh
How anyone could make serial killers dull, is beyond me. This novella may be trying to be too many things - sensational true crime, neuro-psychology, history novel. I wound up skimming the last third, just to get it over with.
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
What is a psychopath? Ramsland uses the case of notorious murderer H. H. Holmes to discus what science tells us about psychopathy. Rather dry, this short book functions neither as satisfying history nor as illuminating science.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting short story about the infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes. Written from a psychologist's point of view it delves more into the clinical rather than sensational aspect of Holmes' crimes. Her style of writing was easy to understand and the pace stayed steady until the end.
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another great non-fiction from Ms. Ramsland about a serial killer and how he was tracked down and the inner workings of a killer's mind.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book because I really liked Larson's book, "The Devil in the White City." It was interesting, but Larson's book was better.
Jean Stanley
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I love true crime. Really gives you a look inside the crime inside the criminal psyche. Couldn't put it down.
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting, after having read Devil in the White City a couple of years ago.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This could have been so cool, there was so much interesting and compelling history here. Instead it was really short, more of a superficial overview, and definitely a let-down.
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I've loved books since I was 3, and the library was a highlight of my childhood. I've been fortunate to be able to find great joy in what others have written and sometimes to give this to readers. I follow my own muse, because it leads me on interesting adventures. If others benefit, so much the better.
More about Katherine Ramsland

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“This trickster demonstrated a hallmark behavior of a smart psychopath: Quick recovery once caught in a lie, so as to offer another that seemed more sincere.” 0 likes
“The hallmark of a psychopath is the failure to feel remorse. However, psychopaths demonstrate other significant behaviors. For example, psychopaths seem unable to read social cues. Hence, to pass as normal, they mimic others. They may be high-functioning intellectually and able to appreciate the difference between right and wrong, but they generally lack the ability to weigh risk or recognize quid pro quo. They rarely form a life plan. They also fail to respond normally to the threat of punishment and don’t grasp the emotional implications of their behavior.” 0 likes
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