Whoever Fights Monsters

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Brandon Lewis
Whoever Fights Monsters Book Review
The book, co-authored by Tom Scachtman, is about the development and application of serial killer profiling techniques in the 1970s and 80s and details Ressler’s FBI career and his personal dealings with some of America’s serial killers including John Wayne Gacy, Edmund Kemper, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. The story is told by one of its main participants, Robert Ressler, who largely developed the art of serial killer profiling. Ressler was profiling as far back as the 1970’s, long before films like silence of the lambs and shows like criminal minds made the public aware of what the Behavioral Analysis Unit based at Quantico, Virginia was all about. The story begins with a description of the "Vampire Killer" Richard Chase, a crazed young man who though that by killing people and drinking their blood, he could replenish his own blood that he was convinced was being poisoned by Nazis. After killing several people and drinking their blood near Sacramento, he was eventually caught, partly due to Ressler's very accurate profile. Ressler then goes on to tell how he initially became involved in law enforcement and then moved to the FBI and began profiling. Once at the FBI, he began a program to interview serial killers that later turned into the Criminal Personality Research Project and into a full-fledged profiling unit at the FBI. During this time, Ressler traveled around the country interviewing famous killers and collecting their stories into the files that he would later use to develop his profiling method. Sometimes these interviews became dangerous, like when Ressler interviewed Edmund Kemper who, jokingly, threatened to kill him. Overall though, the interviews allowed Ressler to get a better hold on the psychology and motivation of the killer that he was trying to catch. Over time, Ressler began to develop different ways of distinguishing and identifying serial killers. Almost all serial killers...
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