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The Ultimate Evil: The Truth about the Cult Murders: Son of Sam and Beyond

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  787 ratings  ·  59 reviews
On August 10, 1977, the NYPD arrested David Berkowitz for the "Son of Sam" murders that had terrorized New York City for more than 13 months. Berkowitz confessed to being a lone murderer — one who had carried out eight senseless shooting with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver. The case was officially closed. Journalist Maury Terry was suspicious of Berkowitz's confession, con ...more
Hardcover, 538 pages
Published May 10th 2004 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1987)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Sir Michael Röhm
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Generally, the people who discuss this book are either conspiracy nuts who believe the government is spying on them through their cereal or something equally crazy, fundamentalist Christians who are eager to prove that Satan is out to get everyone or professional skeptics who have an axe to grind against the former two and a desire to look very smart and very clever on top of it.

I had read this book back in my high school days, but only remembered some bits and pieces from it (crazy death cults
...more
Lea
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Re-read for 2016. Still one of my favorites, this is an amazing piece of investigative journalism by author Maury Terry. This is one I have to keep replacing -- I never get it back whenever anyone borrows it. :)
...more
John
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Oh the good old days before DNA and real good forensics, where one Fire Island obsessed NY reporter could toil away on a single story for decades. Where a good juicy serial killer could make the career of a plucky young journalist.

When Terry is not "recreating" conversations between himself and police, himself and District Attorneys, or himself and other newspaper men, he is retyping prison letters from inside snitches.

See, here is the thing about this: Berkowitz did it. Alone. Because he is a
...more
Kevin Denton
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Awesome
Recommended to Kevin by: John R. Graves II
One of the most underrated books of our time, "The Ultimate Evil" is a "can't turn these GD pages fast enough" romp through the most convoluted murder mystery of our time. Was the Son of Sam merely a cover up for one of the most devious Satanic cults in the world? After reading Maury's long, really long, tale, I'd say "maybe?"
Cwn_annwn_13
Interesting and entertaining but at least some of what is put out and theorized here is bullshit. People just love their spooky stories by the campfire.
Lisa Hernandez
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Best Book EVAHH!
Scott Revels
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is very creepy to read when you are alone. I thought this was an excellent investigative book into the multiple killings in New York City in the late 70's by the "44 Cabiber Killer" or the "Son of Sam" killer (s). Too much evidence suggests that this was in no way a one man job. Even the cops investigating this case at the time always thought it was more than one killer. Every crime scene had a different description of the shooter/shooters. The only reason this was all pinned on David Berko ...more
Steve
I've loaned this one out a few times, and never seem to get it back. One of great cult books of all time. (The dog didn't do it.) And Berkowitz probably only did some of it. Read it and see. The book drips purple prose, which no doubt turns off some, and gives skeptics ammunition to shout down Terry's theories. And yet, I wouldn't want it written any other way. Terry raises some points that are hard to ignore. The main one being that there were others involved with the killings.
Tammy
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have finally finished this book. It was fascinating. I ended up liking it so much that I looked for the book that he was supposedly working on about the Lisa Steinberg murder; however, it looks like this was the only book he has written. This book was really scary and it really makes you wonder about unsolved murders and missing people.
Carla Senna
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Compulsive read, very scary implications. Brilliant!
One of my favorite book, read it many times over!
Steve Cunningham
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Scary book on several levels, and is very clearly on the money by and large. Great research. I even checked out the Carrs' home and surrounding area on Google Earth when re-reading this recently; quite a cocktail.

Strangely, a minor point of detail towards the end slightly undermined some of the other research: the star symbol used by the rock band Rush is not a pentagram and has no satanic connotations whatsoever. Lazy heavy metal / devil worship cliche that was given significance where there wa
...more
Annie
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fascinating theory on the Son of Sam murders! Maury Terry really seems to have done his research and raises some interesting questions.
Rebecca McNutt
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very eerie book, which dives into a strange true crime case akin to the Manson murders, a case featuring a cult responsible for eight deaths.
Dreadlocksmile
Apr 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Terry offers an interesting and novel look on the Son Of Sam killings that terrorized America. He delivers the notion that Berkowitz did not in fact act alone, rather, he was merely a scapegoat to divert the attention away from what was apparently 'really going on'. Terry's theory is that a nation wide Satanic cult, with connections in the highest and widest places is responsible. He even goes on to identify the cult as an apparent off shoot of the Process church. Connections are then swiftly ma ...more
Steve Tannuzzo
What happens when true crime meets conspiracy theory? An 800-page brick of actual crimes tied very loosely together in the most unconvincing ways.

I couldn’t put it down.

The Ultimate Evil, published in 1987, makes a valiant (and ridiculous) effort to prove the existence of a Satanic network of killers that includes David Berkowitz (alias Son of Sam) and ties his actions back to the Manson family.

Author Maury Terry uses his own (hopefully steel-trap) memory to recreate his conversations (What!? N
...more
Jhef
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
An absolutely fascinating story and in-depth review of the Son of Sam murders. Maury Terry takes this to the deepest level of the cultish underground of New York, ultimately indicting the Process Church of the Final Judgment. I've come across some contradictory information regarding Terry's conclusions, especially an interview with Timothy Wyllie who found Terry's work laughable, but no one has taken the time to carefully deconstruct the events in a similar matter and prove Terry otherwise. I hi ...more
David Corleto-Bales
An exceptionally long tome about how the Son of Sam case in the 1970s was probably tied to a broader conspiracy that David Berkowitz got involved with after being exposed to a deranged group of self-styled "Satanists" while in the military in North Dakota. Maury tenuously ties the Son of Sam to Charles Manson's group, but this is not convincing to me. This is a re-read of a book that I thought was thrilling back in the 1980s, but it could have done with an editing down.
Val
Mar 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book scared the bejesus out of me. I don't think I slept during the entire time I was reading it.
Crystal Scruggs
Very difficult for someone with a very busy life to read but, very well written.
Terry Cornell
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
A long book, and a slow read. So much to take in and process. The author was an investigative journalist that spent years studying the Son of Sam case. With the assistance of other journalists and investigators he lays out compelling evidence that demonstrates David Berkowitz did not act alone in the killings. The group of people involved in the killings were likely part of a cult, with links to other similar organizations spread throughout the country. The author shows links between persons of ...more
Jennie
Being Boring Is The Ultimate Evil

I'm torn between a 2 and a 3 star because some parts were (unintentionally) amusing.

OK, I do believe that there was more than one individual involved in the Son of Sam shootings. And you certainly are some kind of hero if you can get a nice clean, brief explanation out of this book.

This book is a hot mess. It's so hard to get through it and it manages to make mass murder, some Satan, crazy people, blood, blood, nutso really, really boring and frustrating.

So, awa
...more
Kirsten
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was actually a little better than I expected. The author makes a pretty good case that Berkowitz was not the sole killer involved with the "Son of Sam" killings, and that he had connections to people who were possibly involved in all manner of shadiness, primarily drug dealing. I'm willing to buy that, and I'm willing to buy that Berkowitz put in some effort to appear crazier than he actually was prior to getting caught.

Other stuff, I'm less willing to run with. Terry tries to link anything
...more
Mike Bevel
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This book. Guys. I.

Listen: 100 pages of this does a great job of explaining the Son of Sam/.44 Killer crimes. Terry also does a good job in using witness accounts to suggest that it may not have been as simple as David Berkowitz Did It All.

But there comes a point where he starts to go full Sunday New York Times Crossword, reading clues on clues within some of the SoS letters that just don't pass any sort of razor, Occam or otherwise.

He gets lost in his own forest.

Also, this book did not at al
...more
Cory Eadson
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
An entertaining, if sensationalist, piece that connects a whole lot of dots. It's fascinating and well-written, even if Terry's ego becomes more inflated as his crusade to uncover the truth continues. Part of me thinks he wrote it with one eye on somebody snapping up the movie rights!

It's hard to come to any real conclusions by the end as so much of the 'evidence' is based around 'he said, she said' type scenarios, but it's still a very good insight into the murky depths of America's dark under
...more
Charles
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
100% fact based book with a long and thorough investigative process.
I find that the book left me with one very strong and scarey take-away ,that is, that EVIL does exist!... and in its purest form.
The investigative journalism is superb!The Son of Sam aspect is just the beginning of the many,many, connections or spokes in the wheel that are tied in to the Cult aspect, the Process church and Devil Worship and murders is astounding and ,I might add ...at high levels of our sick society.
Maury Terry'
...more
Ian
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime, satanism
I really enjoyed this book on the whole. There were times when I wondered whether I would finish it or not, as there were times when it didn't keep me gripped, but I plodded on and was glad I did.

Starting with a Satanic murder in California in 1974, it then goes onto New York's 'Son of Sam' killings, claiming David Berkowitz didn't act alone and was part of a Satanic cult. This makes up a large part of the book. It goes back to California and even brings in Charles Manson and a Manson II, linkin
...more
Robert Fila
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On target

This book exposed much that had been hidden or ignored. As a Yonkers resident I hung out bob Untermeyer park in the late sixties and early seventies. My friend and I would see these brown robed figures with the goods over their heads walking through the park heading toward the woods. They were given wide birth and word was passed not to comment, stare or ask any questions. This book brings all those moments back.
♥ Marlene♥
on Sunday, June 29, 2008


OMG It took me 10 days to read!!!! Not a good sign is it? It was interesting but I must admit at the end I thought O what the hell, get on with it. This book was good but too long.
Very small print more than 650 pages and a lot of repetition.
Interesting though, but I am just glad I have read it. I think this must have been a record. 10 days! wow.
Fishface
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book started out spectacularly, with the atrocious ritual murder of Arlis Perry, but after that went haring off in so many directions -- trying to make the murder into a tint detail in a massive conspiratorial tapestry -- that I totally lost interest and couldn't finish it. I wish I still had my copy because they're selling for a king's ransom now, but don't ask me to try to read it again.
Susy
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faves
next to Peter Levenda's 'Sinister Forces' trilogy,Maury Terry's book is must reading for anyone interested in learning about the occullt that churns along
in it's own parallel world as we pat ourselves on the back for being "oh so very well informed".. No lizards here, but plenty of monsters.
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