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Lethal Intent

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  400 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In Lethal Intent: The Shocking True Story of One of America's Most Notorious Serial Killers, Sue Russell investigates one of America's most cold-blooded female serial killers, Aileen Carol Wournos. Wuornos, a hitchhiking prostitute who had a difficult and cruel childhood plagued by abuse and drug use, murdered 7 men in a 13 month period in 1989 and 1990 in Florida. Lethal ...more
ebook, 556 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Kensington (first published October 5th 1992)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  400 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Erika Nerdypants
Prior to reading this book my only exposure to Aileen Wuernos was Biography and American Justice on A&E. I found the book both informative and heartbreaking. One wonders how Aileen could have become anything other than what she turned out to be. It seems that from them moment of her birth to her execution she was on a collision course with disaster. After reading this book I have no desire to see "Monster". I don't feel that anymore can be said, or that it could be said better than it was done i ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime, audible
Russell does an excellent job in covering the background and history of Aileen Wuornos. She covers the mitigating factors that might have contributed to Aileen/Lee becoming who and what she was, a serial killer.

There is not enough empirical data on female serial killers. As a result it is difficult to analyze her with any certainty, but Russell consulted and interviewed psychologists who did work with Wuornos. The consensus is that she falls into the guidelines established by expert Robert Hare
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I am quite disappointed by this book. Granted, I wanted the information and not to be entertained, but this was almost unreadable. The plot was all over the place- one would think a real live report would have some semblance of order. Not so. We flipped back and forth from people to murders to other people, to shrinks, and even flipped around what year we were in. Way above (or below) my paygrade. What I had been looking for was an accurate account of both sides of the Aileen Wuornos story, and ...more
Michelle Zearing
Well written and very engaging. Let my room-mate borrow it as well and she isn't an avid reader like me but she is enjoying it.
Harry Shannon
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched and intensely focused, this account of Wuournos and her murders is riveting. Kudos to author Sue Russell for a terrific presentation, it is good to see this one back in print as a True Crime Classic. Now let's get a Kindle version out there, too.

Merged review:

A terrific job, carefully researched and presented. Author Sue Russell has become an expert on Wuornos, her life and crimes. Highly recommended.
Andrea Corley
For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals

I just have to start out by saying that I have never in my life rating a book a 1-star book, and it absolutely kills me to do so, but I have to admit that it was probably the most painful book that I will ever force myself to complete, and that's what it was, total force!

I was quite excited to read this because after watching the movie monster, it was a subject that caught my attention! But once I got started reading, I quickly
Emily Thompson
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is extremely informative and well-written. It swiftly became one of my favourite true crime books. You can see how much work Sue Russell put into bringing us an accurate story. It genuinely makes you look at Aileen Wuornos in a different light. Due to the erroneous version of Aileen’s motivation as portrayed in the Hollywood blockbuster, Monster, many cannot help but feel sorry for Aileen and in a way, feel as though the men deserved what they got. People tend to forget that these men ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about the incredible story of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Aileen Wuornos. Aileen has killed multiple men on the side of the road while doing her "job" as being a prostitute. This story captured headlines and sent everyone into a panic, but for Aileen she was just trying to escape her own personal hell that she has been living, dealing with all her life. She claimed these men brutally raped her or was going to and deserved to die. I have always found the story to ...more
Jessica Hintzman wurtzler
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: TRUE CRIME READERS
Shelves: books-ive-read
LOVE THIS BOOK! Highly recommend it to anyone interested in true crime, Aileen Wuornos or her victims. Author Sue Russell put together a very informative, attention grabbing book. I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN, and plowed through all 576 pages in a few short days! The picture selection is great too, as it allows the reader to get a glimpse of everyone included in the book and also Aileen’s childhood.
May 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sue Russell adds every fact she found in researching this book whether it fits the narrative or not. It breaks up the flow of the story and just makes it confusing. It's a really tragic, fascinating story, but the author can't get out of her own way and let the story stand on its own.
Breann Bianco
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sue did such a great job at writing this!! Very detailed clear from Lee's childhood all the way up to her execution!! She was a sick woman who had to have power over men at such a young age. Lee deserved what she got!
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I'm fascinated by true crime but bored by reading about white dudes. Aileen has always fascinated me because she's a woman who is also a serial killer, and there aren't nearly as many examples of this as there are of male serial killers (obviously). I was looking for a book that would give me insight into her life, her background, and her crimes.

SO, my thoughts:

PROS- this book was obviously really, really well researched. The writing style was easy and accessible (
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a long book, so I was relatively sure that it would be full of information. Ms. Russell did her research, and the book was fast-paced and read like a novel...until the last 15%. After Aileen Wuornos had been arrested and charged with murder, the last of the book dealt with her trial. All the documentaries I've seen about Aileen garnered sympathy for her and made people wonder, 'what if she had had a normal childhood or a more stable family growing up. This book erased any sympathy I may ...more
Lynne Claybaugh
Apr 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, this had potential with the main character a rare bird, a female serial killer. There was far too many repetitious parts, long, meandering character descriptions, very boring trial details, and lots of , what I considered, non-essential events or narratives. I actually skipped the last part dealing with the trial as it was excruciatingly boring. It's as if the author could not bear to omit any of her research so she put it in this book. It was on my Kindle or I would have been able to ferret ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been meaning to read a book about Aileen Wuornos since I saw Monster and while I wouldn't mind reading another one I think this was an excellent source of information and a well written book. If you're interested in the topic this was suggested to me by someone and I in turn would recommend it to you.
Tricia Oleson
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Working on a report about Aileen Wuornos and needed some more detailed information. I found this read and just couldn't put it down, even though I needed to finish my paper. Lots of good insight on a tragic story from beginning to end.
Rob Pruden
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This was certainly an interesting book, but it just went into way too much detail, and in my humble opinion it would have been much more interesting at half the length.
Patrick Thomas
Very wordy and published prior to the execution
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am just about finished reading the book,which I The work was very well written.
My feeling is. Very dysfunctional sociopathic person that was help early in her years maybe she wouldn’t become the person she was as an adult
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Wow! What an amazing story and NOT told in hideous, graphic detail.

From back cover:

"On November 30, 1989, in a lonely place off Florida's Interstate 95, 51-year old Richard Mallory shuddered under the impact of four .22-caliber slugs being pumped into him by a naked, hard-faced blonde hooker. While he suffered a slow, agonizing death, she stripped him of his valuables and drove his Cadillac back to the motel where her lesbian lover was waiting. In 1990, her killing spree kicked into high gear, w
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly Ní Bradaigh
Fascinated with Aileen Wuornos, I thought I knew everything about her. This book made me realize that I only knew partial truth and inaccuracies. From the beginning of this book, it was clear that the author had done an amazing amount of research and interviews. Sue Russell provides an in-depth look into the very complex Wuornos, her dark and troubled life, and her crimes. This book was very difficult for me to put down, and is one of those few books that I will go back to read periodically. I c ...more
I don't know why I venture to read this stuff; i guess i'm expecting some sort of insight into the criminal mind. This is not the trashiest or most sensationalist true crime piece to be had, and the author does (eventually) foray into what made Aileen tick, but it's a still a long, drawn-out, and only semi-organized fact file. A few interesting observations and some descriptions of bottom-feeder lifestyles of the Florida drift variety.
Robert Gowens
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best account on Wournos life ...

If you want REAL background on the life of Aileen Wournos..this is the book for you ! Sue Russell has gone above and beyond in her research of Aileens formative years..taking you back to her strange family life and the sadness of her teen years. This book will help you understand how Aileens warped ideas were shaped ,early on in life. Great book from beginning to end..a must read !!
Big H
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good and in-depth, telling of Wurnos' life from childhood until before death, but near the end (say, when Wurnos is in court and thereafter), the amount of detail becomes overwhelming, and the story becomes hard-to-follow. Even so, this book made me want to research this case more and read more about it.
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this woman has a messed up childhood, goes into prostitution, upon which starts killing her customers...then calls it self defense in court. Thankfully, no one on the jury buys her “I am the victim" claims and sentences her to death. She was executed in 2002.
May 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a female serial killer Aileen Wuornos who herself was a victim of physical and sexual abuse in her youth. It's a long read but Sue Russell gets in Wuornos head and makes her story riveting.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wuornos is no monster in Russell's eyes, that is apparent. Yet her depiction of the facts doesn't come across as biased. Although you do end up feeling sorry for Wuornos and nothing for her victims. However this is a book of Wuornos' life and not that of her victims.
Ruth E. R.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. Especially the concluding chapters. Spoiler alert: Toward the end of Aileen's life, not long before her execution, is it true that she had repented and turned her life over to Jesus while in prison? Along the lines of "Dead Man Walking."
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Sue Russell is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about crime, criminal justice, forensic science, health, and just about everything under the sun. Sue is the author of "Lethal Intent", a biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos (new edition released Dec. 2013) and co-author, with artist Elizabeth Williams, of "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art."

"The Illust

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