chapter  4
29 Pages

Thinking seriously about serial killers

This chapter is concerned with a topic of apparently great fascination. Serial killers seem to be all around us – judging from films, books and magazines of the ‘true crime’ genre. And yet, thankfully, they are a relatively thin on the ground in the ‘real world’, despite the attempts of some to ‘talk up’ the problem. Although your chances of coming across an active serial killer in one week’s TV viewing are quite high, you are unlikely to meet one as you go about your everyday activities. Why the fascination with the topic? Does it connect with deep-seated anxieties and fears, providing an ambivalent mix of repulsion and excitement, giving us the ability to feel a rush of adrenaline from the safety of our armchairs? Are there vested interests at work, realising that careers and fortunes can be made riding on the back of the topic, if packaged in a particular way?