What is it about serial killers that people find so entertaining? Is it the inventive manner in which they torture and dispatch their victims? The way the investigators trap and catch the serial killer? The inner workings of sick minds excited and aroused by dispatching other human beings? I just don't get it.
Now, Dexter, I get. He's a serial killer, born in his mother's heart's blood when she is dismembered by thugs, drug dealers, and killers who felt she had turned on them, which she had, and her two boys were made to watch. That's not the heart of the Dexter story, nor is it a Miami police officer finding and adopting Dexter while his brother is sent off to an institution. Dexter was a baby and could still be saved and, when the officer found he couldn't save Dexter, turned his murderous impulses on dispatching criminals that evade justice. Now that I can get behind because it's not just about dismembering and enjoying the thrill of serial murder but now a murderer unable to curb his darker impulses fits into normal society and performs a service -- of sorts.
Thrillers come in two types: serial killers, the tracking and inner workings, and political intrigue where countries and ideologies are at war, which is just another form of cold war without the Russians as the focus of our covert intentions.
Over the years I have read about numerous serial killers and I don't find them inventive or all that interesting, merely disgusting. I like horror, enjoy it in fact, but I don't consider giving serial killers this much print and paper a good idea. It seems there are serial killers under every third rock and the number is growing. Why not? If you're going to be immortalized for something, it might as well be the torture, murder, and dismemberment of other human beings.
I suppose you could go so far as to say that law officers are serial killers, except they are tracking and dispatching murderers of the innocent, and not so innocent, or that the commanders in chief of countries are serial killers on a much larger scale since they send tens of thousands to war to kills tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of others. Some of their own are killed, well, it's war after all. Serial killers are a whole different breed, men, and the rare female, who get the same kind of sexual and emotional arousal that arsonists get from setting fires and rapists get from having another person's innermost being in their power.
I often wonder if by applauding, dissecting, and memorializing serial killers, arsonists, and rapists that we in effect begin to create them, spawning them out of fictionalized imaginings that eventually become reality in someone's twisted mind when, on their own, they might have been no more than a serial abuser of women, spouses, and children, not to mention animals and pets. Thrillers of the bloodier version do sell by the millions, which also gives me pause. People are becoming very jaded or are pining for the days of old when gladiatorial battles, public hangings and drawing and quarterings, and gunfights satisfied those dark stirrings that craved blood and destruction.
I find it all a bit sordid, but you won't see me hiding my eyes when the good gladiator dispatches the evil tyrant and his minions. I'll be shouting with the rest of the blood thirsty crowd, and yet I find novels about serial killers tasteless and somewhat boring as the author goes into loving detail about each milestone on a serial killer's journey to infamy. No wonder I prefer science fiction, fantasy, and the occasionally well written literary novel.
I'm done with all the police procedurals, private investigators, and serial killers no matter how exotic and deep into the diseased mind they go. Give me vampires and werewolves and dark faeries, at least there's a bit of magic involved, but serial killers begone.
Well, it's time for me to get back to work. I have to finish reading and reviewing a serial killer novel and another police procedural out of the UK. The life of a book reviewer is seldom her own.