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Two of a Kind: The Hillside Stranglers
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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)
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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.
Helga
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.
Lynn
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
...more
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
...more
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.
Kari
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.
Jennifer
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.
Nat
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
...more
Alison
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
Brilliant

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.
Serewyn
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.
Skrot
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
Sherrie
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
Paul
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
Lynn
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
...more
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
...more
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
Paul
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
...more
Kelli
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.
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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
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“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
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