A highly disturbing, in-depth look at notorious serial killers.
As a young Texan, Tony Ciaglia enjoyed a rambunctious childhood, but a near-fatal jet-ski accident left him comatose at 15. Suffering from brain damage, he was prone to angry rages, depression and obsessions, such as one with an Internet site advertising serial killer “murderabilia.” After intensive research and with his therapist’s blessing, Ciaglia mailed 41 introductory letters to—and received responses from—a laundry list of killers, including “Cross Country Killer” Glen Rogers, who meticulously described the details of his first murder. Regular communication emerged from the best of the worst: child rapist and cannibal Arthur Shawcross, neurotic sexual sadist David Alan Gore and Joseph Metheny, a career murderer who unremorsefully “enjoyed” the butchering and necrophilic molestation of women. Investigative journalist Earley (Comrade J, 2008, etc.) documents Ciaglia’s intensive interplay with a brilliant combination of scrutiny and unobtrusive narration, allowing the verbatim letters to do the book’s grisly spadework. The letters incrementally ramp up to reveal the killers’ shockingly intimate secrets, including stories of their traumatic childhoods, admitted details on abandoned case files, specific directions to shallow graves and the grotesquely detailed procedurals of a kill. Ciaglia’s involvement with these killers, many of whom were sympathetic to his plight, escalated to penitentiary visits, the attempted exhumation of unrecovered remains and, finally, assistance with police investigators working on cold cases.
Definitely not for the faint of heart, this as a macabre, stomach-turning glimpse at true crime’s most evil villains.