Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Terry Sullivan and Peter T. Maiken

I can’t speak for the millions, or billions, of my fellow humans around the world who enjoy reading books and watching films and television shows about serial killers, or true crime in general, but I am fascinated by the criminal mind and abnormal psychology.  Why would someone kill another human being in cold blood for no other reason than to satisfy some sinister urge within them?  What clicks in the mind to enact a passion killing or revenge killing?  What compulsion forces someone to cook and eat another person?  How do they do these things and then pass themselves off as more or less normal?

John Wayne Gacy killed more than thirty young men and boys, buried them under his house and in his back yard, and found time to dress up like a clown to entertain sick children.  He was, also, a fairly successful businessman.

Killer Clown was co-written by Terry Sullivan, the prosecuting attorney in the Gacy case.  It’s a good read, I enjoyed it, but it’s not a book for every true crime aficionado.  He takes you, dryly, step-by-step through every maneuver of the investigation.  There is certainly no panache or flowery prose within these pages, it is just the facts and nothing but the facts.

For its shortcomings, it is still compelling.  The first hundred pages or so detail the surveillance efforts of the police and, believe me, it is very detailed.  Sometimes it is detailed to a fault, but swimming through the minutiae gives the reader a very clear picture of Gacy.  He was an arrogant man who always had to be the smartest person in the room.  Sullivan, and his co-writer, unsparingly present an incomprehensible evil that plagued Chicago and its neighborhoods for almost a decade.

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