primarily a retread over common ground. True crime enthusiasts and devotees of murder will not find much new in this book other than a few names that have slipped through the cracks of serial killer fandom. Where this book offers new insights is in Dr. Vronsky’s suppositions about what caused the serial killer epidemic in the first place. Namely, Vronsky cites the massive trauma of the Great Depression and World War II ... The final and most unnerving assertion of American Serial Killers is the author's belief that the United States is on the cusp of a new age of murder madness ... This is the dire warning that closes out a well-researched and engrossing book.
Vronsky has a great deal of experience researching these stories and then rendering them in vividly readable prose. He adopts a narrative tone throughout that's harsh but fascinated toward the monsters he's chronicling ... Vronsky's 'epidemic' years have an end-point; he notes that the numbers are falling – a hopeful development, although not quite knowing its causes is naturally worrying. If a new epidemic is currently incubating, we can at least hope Vronksy is on the case to analyze it.
Vronsky cuts to the core of American culture at that time and theorizes its contribution to the explosion of multiple murderers. Young men raised by parents traumatized from the Great Depression and World War II, seduced by graphic images of rape and domination easily available in men’s adventure and true detective magazines, and then tossed into the uncertainty and chaos of Vietnam: it was the perfect recipe for a generation of homicidal maniacs. Thoroughly researched and highly detailed, Vronsky’s analysis of the 'golden age' of serial killers is an essential true crime reference work.