ANGEL OF DARKNESS by Dennis McDougal


The True Story of Randy Kraft, His 67 Victims, and the Most Heinous Murder Spree of the Century
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 An account of Randy Kraft, a serial killer responsible for perhaps 67 murders of young men between 1971 and 1983, with mini- biographies of many of his victims, by investigative reporter McDougal (The Los Angeles Times). Beginning in 1971, bodies of young men began to be found along the California freeways, as well as in Oregon and Michigan. The victims were often nude, had been strangled, and showed evidence of alcohol, drugs, rape, and torture. The evidence police collected could be linked to no one--until 1983, when a weaving car was stopped and its driver, Randy Kraft, was arrested for drunk driving. A dead body was in the passenger seat, Polaroid of nude men, stoned or dead, under the floor mat. Five years and four months later, after the longest--13 months--and most expensive--in excess of $10 million--trial in Orange County history, Kraft was sentenced to death. Curiously, his murderous side was totally unknown to his family and many friends (who appealed to the judge for leniency)--to them, he seemed simply an affectionate homosexual lover, skilled computer programmer, or dog-lover. A still-unanswered question is whether he had an assistant, as some of the evidence suggested. Today, despite that overwhelming evidence, Kraft, incarcerated in San Quentin, still maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals. For the most part, McDougal, writing in appropriately matter-of-fact prose, juggles his mass of material well; but the huge cast and shifting points of view do confuse at times, and brief biographies of the lawyers and judges involved would have helped to anchor the narrative.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-446-51538-8
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1991


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