“ Author: Anna Gekoski / Genre: Crime / Thriller „
If there’s one thing the world needs more than another serial killer it’s another serial killer book. Right? Someone ought to chart the rise of serial killings against the number of words the subject generates. What’s the correlation? Not that I’m going to do a Colin Wilson and blame serial killing on pornography, or even on the pornography of true crime writing. It’s just that with the death of religion we’re no longer scared of Satan, hell or eternal damnation. The supernatural, currently undergoing a bit of a revival, doesn’t frighten most of us. Instead we like to scare ourselves with something of the here and now, and yet possessed of that quality of evil that separates it from the ‘normal’. Is it any wonder that Robert Ressler, ex-FBI and the man who coined the phrase ‘serial killer’, entitles his books ‘I Have Lived In The Monster’ and ‘Whoever Fights Monsters’. Demonisation is the name of the game; in this secular and confused age we’ll invent devils to frighten ourselves, and, just as importantly, to confirm to us the parameters of our ‘normality’. Which brings us in a round about way to Anna Gekoski’s ‘Murder By Numbers’. This is a detailed look at the life and crimes of British serial sex killers. All of the usual demons are included here: Christie, Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, Dennis Neilson, Fred and Rose West. However this isn’t just a case of going over the same old ground. There are chapters here on Robert Black and Colin Ireland, for example. The latter is interesting as there is practically nothing in print about this man who preyed on men from the gay SM community. The book looks closely at the childhoods of these deadly, twisted individuals. And even on the nth reading, the crimes these people committed are frightening. However, Gekoski (who now seems to be writing for the worst of the tabloids, unfortu
nately) takes her task seriously. What made these people commit crimes awful enough to cast them forever as demons? And in asking that simple question she steps away from the standard line. She does much more than make us shudder and check the locks on the door at night. Bt looking at these people as people, by probing their young lives she gives us a picture of young souls that are seriously damaged, of personalities that are recognisably vulnerable and which elicit sympathy as much as their adult crimes evoke revulsion. If you want to understand rather than simple to enjoy a frisson of fear and disgust, then this book is highly recommended.
An insight into the upbringings that created some of Britain's most dangerous men and women.