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Book description

Why do some people engage in serial killing for sexual pleasure? This book considers the phenomenon of sexual serial killing from the perspective of motivation theory, as advanced in psychology and neuroscience. By examining biological, psychological and social determinants, it develops a model of sexual killing that integrates widely dispersed existing literature. The first part of the book reviews scientific data and theories, while the second part presents biographical sketches of 80 sexual killers and links their early development and later killing to current theoretical understanding. The book examines cases of serial killers from the USA, Western Europe, Iran, Australia and South Africa, and it also includes an account of killers from the USSR, made available to non-Russian speakers for the first time. Deliberately written to avoid jargon, Understanding Sexual Serial Killing is accessible to students, scholars and professionals across psychology, sociology, forensic science and law.


‘Understanding Sexual Serial Killing fills a hole in our theoretical narrative while offering a comprehensive overview of this type of offender. With updated psychological and neuroscientific research, this book dissects the motivational roots of the most depraved sexually compelled serial killers. It should be in the library of anyone who deals with or teaches about them.’

Katherine Ramsland - DeSales University, USA

‘This is the most comprehensive book on lust serial killing ever published. As well as including a detailed biopsychosocial perspective on this type of offending, it includes a series of biographical analyses which are logically grouped to provide the reader with a deep understanding of the psychological development of lust serial killers. One of the most interesting and thought-provoking books in the field!’

Clare Allely - University of Salford, UK

‘Understanding Sexual Serial Killing conveys complex ideas regarding the biopsychosocial elements of lust murder in prose that is refreshingly succinct and easily understandable. Complementing their sharp intellects with a pervading wisdom, the authors offer an indispensable contribution to the field. This book is among the best on sexual homicide to appear in the twenty-first century. No serious forensic psychologist or criminologist would risk omitting it from their library.’

Lee Mellor - author of Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder, UK

‘This engaging, easy-to-follow text examines the profiles of different types of serial killer. These profiles are brought to life vividly through in-depth analysis using description and theory. This combination makes the text an invaluable source of archival information for general readers, students and academics alike.’

Sandie Taylor - University of South Wales, UK

‘The development and motivations of serial lust killers are detailed using case profiles combined with neuroscientific and biopsychosocial research vividly explaining the concepts by the authors. Understanding Sexual Serial Killing is a must-have guide for researchers, writers and readers who want to understand sexual homicide.’

Carrie Anne Drazewski-Keller - Anthropologist, Colorado Western Slope, USA

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