First published in 1994, this book investigates the social construction of serial homicide and assesses the concern that popular fears and stereotypes have exaggerated: the actual scale of multiple homcide. Jenkins has produced an innovative synthesis of approaches to social problem construction that includes an historical and social-scientific estimate of the objective scale of serial murder; a rhetorical analysis of the contruction of the phenomenom in public debate; a cultural studies-oriented analysis of the portrayal of serial murder in contemorary media.

Chapters include: "The Construction of Problems and Panic," which covers areas such as comprehending murder, dangerous outsiders, and the rhetoric of perscution; "The Reality of Serial Murder," which discusses statistics, stereotype examination, and media patterns;"Popular Culture: Images of the Serial Killer"; "The Racial Dimension: Serial Murder as Bias Crime"; and "Darker than We Imagine"; "Cults and Conspiracies."