Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America's Most Fiendish Killer” as Want to Read:
Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America's Most Fiendish Killer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America's Most Fiendish Killer

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,310 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Lured From The Safety Of Home--Into The Jaws Of Hell

"America's principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers" (The Boston Book Review), Harold Schechter shatters the myth that violent crime is a modern phenomenon--with this seamless true account of unvarnished horror from the early twentieth century. Journey inside the demented mind of Albert Fish--pedophile, s
Paperback, 242 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Gallery Books (first published 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
991 books — 1,424 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
True Crime
507 books — 568 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,310 ratings  ·  144 reviews

More filters
Sort order
In terms of sheer numbers, Albert Fish would seem to be little more than a lightweight in the annals of crime; he was only charged with and found guilty of one murder. But that one highly disturbing case--the brazen 1928 kidnapping and brutal killing of a New York City 10-year-old, Grace Budd--eventually brought about Fish's confessions to many more crimes of kidnapping, torture, murder and cannibalism: mainly perpetrated on young boys and occasionally girls, who, if prepubescent, were similar e ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Can a book be terrible? A book can be bad, it can be boring, it can be poorly written, but I like to think that just by being a book it’s exempt from being thought of as “terrible”. Terrible like Ivan. Terrible like children who are two. Terrible like some of the things Ann Coulter and Rick Santorum say.

Sadly, Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America’s Most Fiendish Killer, is, despite it’s eye-grabbing National Enquireresque title, pretty much a terrible book.

And worse, I didn’t find it ter
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The acts that Fish committed were the stuff that no fictional artist could imagine. It takes a specific kind of individual to even come close to thinking of the things that Fish practiced his whole life.

I am not a person that thrives on the lowest of humanity or on being able to stomach the horrific. Still, I chose to read a book, this book, which includes all of the above and more. I could not put it down – I read it whenever I could and was captured from the very first words: “Every period is
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mum
A true crime book that completely lives up to its title - I don't believe I've ever read of so appalling a catalogue of crimes before and am shortly off to give myself a good scrub to get rid of their taint.

Albert Fish was a harmless looking old man whose appearance masked a truly depraved personality - host to an incredibly long list of sexual and religious perversions, amongst other things Fish was a child killer who tortured and ate his victims.

I've never read such a shocking account of depra
Rouxmia Bougas
"Though his name has faded from public memory, his presence is inescapable."

Personally, for me this is one of the most terrible serial killers of all time. Albert Fish. This is one f#@*d up gramps. A detailed story of the difficult hunt for him by the police and of the atrocious crimes he committed in the late 1920s. He did not kill as many as other notorious serial killers, but his modus operandi and the fact that he got away with it for so long is absolutely shocking. This book focuses on man
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've always been fascinated by Albert Fish, and I thought I knew all about him. I was wrong. Schechter has a way of making you feel like you're there, and you can see it all perfectly clear. I knew Fish was incredibly depraved and disturbed, but the extent of the horrors he inflicted on innocent children was far beyond anything I thought I knew. It takes a lot to creep me out. Fish creeps me out. This book creeps me out. It's well-written and the facts are solid. Anyone who is interested in true ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
I do not mind true crime. I enjoy watching Criminal Minds. I understand why it's a popular genre. Many have a certain curiosity for the macabre; and delving into the deranged minds of criminals gives us a glimpse of how humanity can go to hell in a hand basket in no time flat. My issue with this book was not the content, not exactly. Sure, Albert Fish was a particularly disturbed individual and he did some horrible things. If he lived in a more current time, perhaps he would have been able to re ...more
Edwina Callan
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, bookcrossing
This is the story of Albert Fish - child killer and cannibal.
He was every parent's worst nightmare until he was caught by the cop who wouldn't give up the search.
This book will sicken and sadden you, but, in the end, when he is strapped in "the chair" you will breathe a sigh of relief ... knowing that this monster will never, ever harm another child.

Rest In Peace ...

Billy Gaffney (Age 4)
Francis McDonnell (Age 8)
Grace Budd (Age 10)
And the ones who remain nameless ..........
Albert Fish was a monster who preyed mainly on black children, by his own admission. This book only focuses on the white children. The author struggles to stay on topic, because of that, the book felt disorganised.

People were so trusting back in the day. "Yes strange, creepy man. You can take my daughter to a party...alone."

I also think Fish should of been studied and analysed before he was electrocuted.
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the worse killers ever the chair was to good for him.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of the true crime genre, I imagine you would really enjoy this. I don't generally like true crime books, but I really enjoyed Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and while walking through the airport recently, I saw he had another book out. Upon arrival at my destination, I looked up the reviews of Larson's new book and saw many readers recommending this author, Harold Schechter, if you liked Larson's books. I was intrigued and searched for Schechter, then purchased this, hi ...more
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I don't know if it's age or motherhood, but I feel an urge to bathe to "cleanse" myself after having read the book. Perhaps I no longer have the stomach to read true crime books of this nature, especially ones dealing with such atrocities committed toward children. I tend to agree with the defense attorney that Albert Fish must have been insane, for I cannot imagine how a sane person would have had committed so many depravities as he had done. In fact, in their own words, most of the jurors had ...more
Oct 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
On June 3 1928, a kindly, elderly benefactor showed up at the Budd family home and offered to take their daughter, Grace, to a niece's birthday party. Grace was never seen or heard from again and it would take six years for the ghastly truth of what happened to emerge. I read a fair amount of true-crime stories, and this is one of the most gruesome I've ever read. Highly recommend this if you're into the true-crime genre.
♥ Marlene♥
On Sunday, November 13, 2005 I wrote about this book:

My first book by Harold Schechter and still one of his best.
My copy is much older and 1th print

This was another really shocking story. I love the way this author writes.

Nov 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Horrible story and written like a 10th grade science report.
Kc Chapa
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
So disturbing. People thing Ed Gein (the inspiration behind Leatherface) was a horror figure...Gein has nothing on Albert Fish. OMG. I will never look at old, grandfatherly types the same.
Marissa Jager
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Albert Fish is a supremely disturbed man. The tortures he inflicted on small children are beyond some of the most heinous encounters I've ever read. It breaks my heart to think of the pain and torments he put his victims through. He should of died 100 times over in the electric chair.

I freaked out a little bit when I found a bloody fingerprint on one of the pages in my used copy of this book. Hopefully someone just nicked themselves and they weren't masochistically stabbing themselves with
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even is extreme horror, few characters match the horror of Albert Fish.
He lived the works of Marquis de Sade. Deranged indeed!
Nilton Teixeira
Sep 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disturbing. The subject and the writing. I will say no more.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
As in other true crime reviews, the rating I've given doesn't literally mean that I 'enjoyed' it, but that I found it a thoroughly interesting book that made me think a lot about the topic.

I am firmly against the death penalty, but this book is the only time I have thought that a person might truly be better off dead. More for the man himself than for the terrible crimes he committed. For his crimes the court should have put him in prison and thrown away the key, certainly, but this book made me
Katie Muriel
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I don't rate this book four stars for the content, because let's be real: any book that describes in detail the acts of a man so horrific as Albert Fish was (gory murders and cannibalism included), is not exactly a book you read for the content. I read this because I'm a criminal justice major and it's important for me to understand people like Albert Fish, even if I can't understand what he did.

I rated this four stars because the writing was pretty decent, if sensationalised sometimes to the po
What a disturbing man. Albert Fish is a monster. He was made, that's a given. I don't think many want to admit that a society can make such a dark and disturbing man. This book tracks the life and crimes (however not all the crimes) of Albert Fish and his years of abuse and fantasies. He carried out many of his sick and warped fantasies but what is creepy is thinking what sick fantasies did he really have--those that he didn't carry out.

I was creeped out by the man. This book isn't for the weak.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
You know that feeling when you get a little bit sick, cold and just feel the need for a blummin good shower, well that's how I feel having read this book.

The fact that it was a true account of one mans depravity and unbelievable cruelty just makes it even more scary. I live in the hope that if Albert Fish was around today, committing such heinous crimes, the police would be much quicker to act. The naivety of the 1920's police is nearly as shocking as the crimes themselves, although to be fair,
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well.....where do I start. The book? Well written and very to the point. Quick read. Kept me up late a couple nights.

As far as Albert Fish? Arguably the biggest waste of space and oxygen to ever walk the planet. Cuckoo crazy. When your day consists of trying to decide between killing and eating children, sticking needles in your taint or having someone poo in your mouth you've pretty much gone WAY off the deep end. One thing is for sure, if you have young kids, you probably will keep them on a l
I rated this 3 stars, not because it wasn't a well-written and fascinating, if disturbing, book; but because it was written too much like a novel. At several points I found myself wondering how Mr. Schechter could have possibly known certain things. I don't doubt that perhaps these things are written down somewhere, but I would like to know where the information came from.

That being said, I found this book to be well-written and extremely disturbing. Do not read this anywhere near mealtime unle
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Harold Schechter's account of cannibal killer Albert Fish. He lured 10 year old Grace Bud to her death by telling her parents he would like to take her to his niece's birthday party. He then took Grace to an isolated vacation cabin and murdered her.
Dustin Reade
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
if you like true crime. if you like serial killers. if you like to be made sick by a book about creepy old men with needles in their crotch. then i recommend you read the hell out of this book.
May 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well that was disturbing. The writing, I mean...
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I can't decide who was worse-- this guy or Ed Gein!
Schechter's treatment of the life and times of Albert Fish. You can't go wrong if you've got good material, and there is simply nobody crazier in American history than Fish.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers
  • King of the Godfathers
  • The Man With The Candy: The Story of The Houston Mass Murders
  • The Devil's Rooming House: The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer
  • The Best American Crime Reporting 2009
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • The Good Rat
  • Made Men: The True Rise-And-Fall Story of a New Jersey Mob Family
  • Hunting the Devil: The Pursuit, Capture and Confession of the Most Savage Serial Killer in History
  • In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth
  • In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland's Torso Murders
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • Couples Who Kill
  • Bad Boy: The True Story of Kenneth Allen McDuff, the Most Notorious Serial Killer in Texas History
  • Lethal Marriage: The Unspeakable Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
  • Cannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of Rotenburg
  • Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik
  • The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer
See similar books…
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
“Fish had already told both Wertham and Detective King that, in addition to shoving needles inside his body, he liked to soak pieces of cotton in alcohol, cram them up his rectum, and set fire to them.” 5 likes
“old” 0 likes
More quotes…