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

Two of a Kind: The Hillside Stranglers

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,654 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Based on hundreds of hours of recorded testimony from the trial, Two of a Kind reveals the incredible true story of the two men who brutally murdered 12 women and nearly got away with it. 8-page photo insert.
Paperback, 423 pages
Published March 3rd 1987 by Signet (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Two of a Kind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Two of a Kind

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
Rebecca McNutt
Disturbing beyond belief yet definitely well researched, The Hillside Stranglers is like reading a criminology file, and it's one of the most extensive and suspenseful books I've ever read.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Gruesome just gruesome

One of the best true crime books I’ve read
Kimberly Pilya
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very disturbing but a graphic and grotesque wake up call to the kind of evil present in our society.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book due to a strong sense of curiosity. I lived in Glendale at the time of these murders and well remember the fear we all lived under. I was in junior high at the time. As I read, I could picture all the places mentioned. I remember that after we all found out of Buono's guilt, we were especially horrified when we realized that we had used his shop! He did auto upholstery and he had done one of our cars. Then as I read the book, I also discovered that one of the teachers at my scho ...more
Trav Rockwell
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable! Great read, review to come.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive and thorough investigation into the crimes and trials of the Hillside Stranglers

Mr. O'Brien has written the quintessential account of the murder spree perpetrated by Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi and done so in a manner that reads like a novel. The nearly 450 pages are filled with facts that are so bizarre the story probably wouldn't have been accepted it offered in the form of a novel. While these murders occurred nearly forty years ago, the crimes were so horrendous and the tw
Valerie Zink
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me awhile but not because it wasn't good. It was amazing and incredibly disturbing. This is the first true crime I have read in awhile and the author was great at starting by getting into the minds of the killers, and that is what was creepy and disturbing. Excellent writing!

The last part about the trial and all the players therein was also amazing. I would highly recommend this one. I learned a lot that I did not know. I was a child when this was going on and I do remember it ma
Rebecca Martin
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gruesome but fascinating

This book was well written and well researched. The details of the murders were hard to read, but the rest of the book was fascinating. The courtroom drama was almost unbelievable. All in all a great book.
Adrian Phoenix
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, true-crime
Again, as with most true crime, fascinating, but horrifying.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I think firstly, I'll get what I didn't enjoy about this book, out of the way. I wasn't a fan of the 'fictional' feeling I got from the writing. There were times when it felt more like a fictional story, than a non-fiction book. I'm quite picky when it comes to authors reading transcripts and interviews, and the likes, and then constructing a reenactment of sorts. I feel like there's a little too much room for dramatisation in that respect and it has me wondering if that really happened the way ...more
Sam Biddick
This book starts off slow, but boy once it gets going it gets going, ya know what I mean?

Ok for starters, this book is a trip because it's about some murders that take place in the sixties and seventies in hollywood. There are tons of prostitutes and strippers, and once they start getting murdered the cops are interrogating all kinds of scuzzy witnesses. They often hypnotize their witnesses too, which is totally commonplace in Hollywood, apparently. The story follows the investigation and the m
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
Aside from the awfulness of the actual murders, the latter part of the book that discusses the trial is fascinating. It was such a spectacle. Anyone who is interested in true crime and the “insanity defense“ would enjoy this book.
Barbara Roush
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I dislike calling any book dealing with such painful subject matter brilliant but the fact is,this book is written with high sensitivity,respect for the victims ,a dry prose,which conveys the truth without frills.
Anthony Ambruso
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book

The author took a known story with a known outcome and filled in all the blanks, and he did it in a very telling fashion. I recommend this book to all true crime enthusiasts.
Margaret Bechtol
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These were a couple of creeps. The book is graphic and tells what sadists they were. Some think they wouldn't have killed separately but one moved to the Pacific Northwest and killed again then tried to claim insanity. It didn't work, this is a good read if you like true crime.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Half way through I thought : "why am I even reading this?". I do not enjoy reading about the lives of these two pig turds and the details of their crimes. The disregard for human life and the way the girls were killed made me sick to my stomach. So I quit, The writing is good though.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too much novelizing, too little reporting.
Mystic Faerie
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read this as part of the curriculum for a criminology class.
Jennifer Giles Hinojosa
Although I had some issues with the first part of the book I thought the rest of the book was very well-written and researched. The first chapters of the book came across as a fiction writer writing true crime (exactly what it is). I didn't like the supposed conversations between the killers that had no basis in fact. Once I got through all that though things were well researched and kept me interested in the material. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime or the ...more
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
I'm not a huge true crime fan, and I read this because it cost me $1.00 to buy it on my Nook. I can remember this case, although it didn't get a ton of play in the Midwest because, well, California. The author does a decent enough job, but falls into the usual true-crime trap of inserting too many of his own opinions, in this case decidedly pro law and order. (Understandable, since these would have been two of the toughest criminals to side with that I could imagine.) The graphic detail the auth ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gleeful in its depravity, "The Hillside Stranglers" is targeted for the sort of people who get their jollies googling crime scene photos. Granted, rare is the book about serial killers that ranks very high on the taste-o-meter, but O'Brien aims for the lowest common denominator and barely manages to hit the ground it stands on. When one picks up a book about two cousins who strangle women, the misogyny is a given; you don't need it enthusiastically spelled out at every opportunity. It's just the ...more
Oct 12, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was interested in the story of the Hillside Stranglers, but although this is well written and detailed, it is too detailed for me. The introduction of Buono and Bianchi, their actions, conversations, degradation of women and so on are so specific, it can't be all real and it is beyond disgusting. I made it to 30% and can go no farther. I am sure they were disgusting men and said things much like that and worse, but I can't just keep reading it.

Many great true crime writers do take these liber
Bill Gray
The true crime genre often draws the wrong sort of writers. This isn't, in my opinion, an instance of that. I notice that a lot of reviewers accuse O'Brien of having an eye to the lurid here. It's the story that's lurid, not O'Brien. For heaven's sake, if you have in your hand the story of two guys who strangled, tortured,and were convicted of murdering ten women, do you really have any business being shocked by what you read?

I've read a fair amount in this area, and think this is one of the mor
library goddess
Jul 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This author's style could be described as competent at best. The book reads as if he spent most of his time pouring through his thesaurus in a hunt for "fresh" adjectives.
But the real flaw is the lack of understanding and insight. The author is unable to give us any sense of what made these men tick. We never learn what led them to progress, with apparent ease, from a lifestyle of misogynistic promiscuity to a spree of serial murder.
There is an abundance of factual information here -- names, dat
Jul 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • The Search for the Green River Killer
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • Invisible Darkness
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik
  • Lethal Marriage: The Unspeakable Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
  • The Boston Strangler
  • Son
  • The Ultimate Evil: The Truth about the Cult Murders: Son of Sam and Beyond
  • The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy
  • The Night Stalker
  • Cruel Deception
  • Perfect Victim: The True Story of "The Girl in the Box"
  • Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case
  • The Family
  • Deadly Innocence
  • Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door
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 about Darcy O'Brien

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court
    $11.99 $4.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
“He then, again by way of reference to legal precedent and authority, reminded the District Attorney’s Office that it was charged with grave responsibilities which demanded integrity, zeal, and conscientious effort in the gathering and presentation of evidence. He quoted the American Bar Association’s standards for prosecutors: “In making the decision to prosecute, the prosecutor should give no weight to the personal or political advantages or disadvantages which might be involved or to a desire to enhance his or her record of convictions.” 1 likes
More quotes…