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A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer

by Jason Moss with Jeffrey Kottler

Pub Date: April 8th, 1999
ISBN: 0-446-52340-2

A bizarre first-person account of a young man’s nearly disastrous obsession with serial killers. As a freshman at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Moss, who dreamed of a career in law enforcement, conceived the idea of writing to serial killers on death row, hoping to gain their trust and discover what made them tick. His most extensive contact was with John Wayne Gacy, who had raped and murdered 33 teenage boys. He also corresponded with Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez (a.k.a. the Night Stalker), and other killers whom he admired for their nerve. To gain Gacy’s attention—death-row inmates of Gacy’s notoriety are besieged by would-be correspondents—Moss posed as a sexually confused and highly impressionable boy, matching himself to the profile of Gacy’s victims. When this ploy worked, Moss felt that he had psyched out the killer and assumed that he would be able to manipulate and control him. Soon, however, Moss found himself identifying with, even sympathizing with Gacy, who began telephoning him regularly. When Gacy invited him for an expense-paid visit, Moss discovered that the guards behaved more like servants and left him alone and unobserved in the same room with the convicted murderer. Though aging and handcuffed, Gacy was able to break Moss down and turn him into the confused and compliant young man he had been pretending to be, demonstrating for him not only how a predator operates but how a potential victim feels. Fortunately, Moss, who could easily have become Gacy’s last victim, escaped with only his ego bruised. A prologue and afterword by psychologist Kottler comment on both Moss’s behavior and society’s propensity for glorifying violence and turning serial killers into celebrities. An engrossing and gut-wrenching read. (20 b&w photos)