Credited with superhuman intellect and abilities, the serial sex killer emerged in the 1980s as a dominant figure in American popular culture. In a decade marked by conservative politics and fundamental protestantism, the serial killer was accused of attacking the traditional values underpinning society and was used to manipulate public fear for political gain.
Using government reports, trial transcripts and correspondence, Better to Reign in Hell examines the people and events that led to and perpetuate this panic, notably President Ronald Reagan, the New Right, the FBI and the media.
- As well as detailing high profile cases such as Son of Sam and Ted Bundy, the book features interviews with law enforcement officers and convicted serial killers.
- Interviews with law enforcement officers (Robert Keppel, who investigated Ted Bundy), and convicted serial killers (Lawrence Bittaker).
- Insight into the working procedures and cultural significance of such organisations as the FBI.
- Examines the social consequences of the inflated media presentation of ‘serial killers’ (in nightly TV drama shows, etc) which has helped to create quasi-celebrities of killers.