Recently I was going through my massive supply of what I call my “surplus books” (usually purchased in huge lots off of eBay) and came across I, Monster: Serial Killers In Their Own Words by Tom Philbin and thought, “Hmmm, sounds interesting.”
I’ve read an untold amount of books by serial killers. I admit, they fascinate me. But, for the most part, these books have been written from a third person account; a sterile reading environment, in a manner of speaking. So a quick glance through I, Monster made me think it could be different enough to hold my attention.
Well, let me put it this way, “different” and “interesting” are understatements.
Serial killers such as David Berkowitz (a.k.a. Son of Sam), Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Westley Allan Dodd, Albert Fish, John Wayne Gacy, H.H. Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Edmund Kemper, David Parker Ray, and several others have a voice through this book through their writings and/or interviews with detectives.
Although some of the author’s own summaries of some of this cases are so wrong it’s really laughable (i.e., on Ted Bundy, Philbin says he murdered women who parted their hair down the middle “just like his mother.” It’s hard to imagine there is anyone who doesn’t know the parted hair was symbolic of a former girlfriend) but the written or spoken words of these cold-blooded murders are just downright chilling.
Sometimes attempting to justify or other times simply explain their horrific deeds, their stories are riddled with madness, self-righteousness, evil and, more often than should be, indignation at their punishment. Because of the latter, even though the coldness and randomness of their victims chilled me to the core, it was often replaced by an outrage which made sleeping at night much easier.
Some of you will have landed here not because you’re a true crime fan but because you’re looking for something to scare the britches off you as we near Halloween. Well, let me say, you’ve found what you’re looking for in I, Monster by Tom Philbin. Even this jaded true crimer of many decades couldn’t shake the evilness reeking from these pages.
Lastly, to Halloween thrill-seekers and true crime fans alike, I do recommend purchasing a used copy of the book or reading the (much-cheaper) eBook version. At $19.00 USD for paperback, it’s just a bit too pricey in my opinion. But, hey, what do I know? :)