Overkill: Mass Murder and Serial Killing Exposed

James Alan Fox and Jack Levin

Fox and Levin got in on the ground floor of a trend in 1985 with Mass Murder: America’s Growing Menace, one of the earlier ‘80s books to take an overview of what would soon become better-known as serial killing. In Overkill, they deliver essentially an update on all the carnage of the past 10 years, liberally salting the volume with excellent, well-written and concise case studies of famous and not-so-famous mass and serial killers, many of whom have received little, if any, coverage elsewhere. Surprisingly, given one of the author’s Ph.D. credentials, the analysis side of the book is pretty simple-minded; more what you’d expect from USA Today than from a serious academic study. But then, they’ve been on enough talk shows to know which side of the bread the mass market likes its butter on. JM

Publisher: Plenum
Hardback: 280 pages

Hate Crimes: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Bloodshed

Jack Levin and Jack McDevitt

Who else but Morris Dees would be worthy enough of writing the preface to this book, which analyzes scores of hate crimes throughout America. This book is packed with every conceivable tidbit of rancor imaginable. For instance, a quote from Louis Farrakhan: “Listen Jews, this little black boy is your last chance because the Scriptures charge you with killing the prophets of God… You cannot say ‘Never again’ to God, because when he puts you in the oven, ‘Never again’ don’t mean a thing.” Or how about the facts behind the “Temple of Love” in Miami? Their charismatic leader, Yahweh Ben Yahweh (God, Son of God, in Hebrew) preached that all whites were “serpents” and “demons.” As part of the initiation ceremony for joining the temple, devotees had to murder a “white devil.” But several victims were blacks who somehow challenged Yahweh’s commandments. In his sermons Yahweh told his followers, “All hypocrites must die.” Strange that he saw no irony in that directive. JB

Publisher: Plenum
Hardback: 287 pages