By Tim Philbin, Prometheus Books, $20.00, 263 pages
I, Monster by Tim Philbin is a conglomerate of interviews, court transcripts, and even handwritten diaries depicting serial killers in their own words. Philbin provides a summary of each killer’s history and crimes and also offers a warning if the descriptions to follow are particularly gruesome. I, Monster is divided up by chapter, with each chapter following a different murderer. Fans of true crime fiction or those wanting an inside look at the psyche of serial killers will find this book intriguing. The only negative comment that this reviewer has is that the section for Westley Allen Dodd is mostly comprised of copies of the killer’s own journal. Unfortunately his handwriting is almost impossible to read in some areas. However, it was fascinating to watch the handwriting change as Dodd progressed from planning to hunting and finally to killing his victims. Another fact that this reviewer found intriguing is that only one woman was listed in this novel and that is Aileen Wuornos. Philbin covers a wide range of killers from Jack the Ripper to the Green River Killer. His writing is clear and concise, and the book is organized well.
Reviewed by Jina Oravetz