Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Spot a Serial Killer



Congratulations to Heather E, the winner of Kylie Brant's giveaway. Kylie will be contacting you directly. Thank you to all who participated!

Writing dark romantic thrillers, it’s a given that I spend an inordinate amount of time pondering serial killers. Not every novel features one, but enough do that I’ve spent more than my share of hours in the bad guys’ heads. A not always pleasant place to be, but unfailingly educating, nonetheless.

Based on the serial killers that have inhabited my novels and others I’ve studied, I’ve developed a checklist for you to be able to recognize one on sight. You might want to clip this post and carry it with you in your purse. It could save you some time on a blind date, or perhaps when introducing yourself to your strange new next door neighbor.

1—He collects road kill. Red flag. Follow this guy home and you’ll likely discover that his hobby is raising dermestid beetles. These rather unusual bugs survive by stripping dried flesh off skeletal remains. The road kill is just to keep them alive until he has a new corpse to feed them.

2—He carries a chain saw with him everywhere. Granted, I’ve never written about this but all those Texas Chainsaw massacre movies can’t be wrong. Never ever go on a date with a guy like this. Recall the Mae West quote. She did NOT say, “Is that a chainsaw in your pocket, or do you like me?”

3—He drives a yellow Volkswagon. Remember Ted Bundy?

4—He’s a religious zealot. Okay, maybe not all of them are serial killers but enough of them are whacko that you should just steer clear, to be on the safe side.

5—He keeps his dead mother stuffed in the home where they live together. Sure she might make a perfect mother-in-law in SOME ways, but this guy could be on the far side of weird…

6—In his childhood, he hit on all three counts of the terrible triad—bed wetter, fire setter and animal torturer. Run. Fast and far.

7—The guy in your cooking class might seem charming but people he invites for dinner often end up as the main course. Don’t even exchange recipes with the very charming Hannibel Lector…especially the one for liver, fava beans and a fine Chianti…

8--Every time someone goes missing—surprise—this guy has planted a brand new garden. Check out the fertilizer that makes those prize roses so special.

9—He’s an amateur spelunker and he offers to show you this out of the way cave he’s found. This is a no-brainer. You just know that’s where he stashes bodies. And even if he’s on the up-and-up---caves = bats. Which means this guy is plain weird even if he isn’t a serial killer!

10—Despite his kindly demeanor, sweater vests and command of trivia, there was likely a reason for the tall fence keeping Wilson separated from the Tim Taylor clan. Just beware of sweater vests in general. Nothing good can come from the fashion impaired.

Have I missed one that would be a dead giveaway?  What’s your trick for recognizing the truly deranged among us? <g>

I’m giving away a copy of the charity anthology SEAL of My Dreams to one lucky commenter today.

Giveaway ends 9pm EST Feb. 24th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

31 comments:

  1. I've always felt it is the person who lives down the street that you never see out and about. They obviously have nefarious ways if they can even mow the lawn and nobody sees them. It's always the quiet ones who's neighbors comment about how "I am just shocked, he always kept to himself, but he was a good neighbor". :)

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    1. Does he wear a sweater vest??? That's what I always want to know. Or a buttoned up cardigan. That's always shady :) I know, it's always the average looking guy. The ones that look unbalanced would be too disorganized to get away for murder long!

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  2. The neighbours that comes out to smoke and watches from the shadows and see everyone at all hours night and day

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    1. I always wondered what those smokers were contemplating out there! Now I know. They're hatching murderous plots amidst their smoke rings.

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  3. I agree...beware of neighbors...especially the quiet ones that make your spidey-sense tingle.

    djmrtrm at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. I have a next door neighbor who fits that bill :) My kids have a not so affectionate name for him based on his physique and habit of yelling at the top of his lungs. Yeah, he could fit the bill. But I'm betting I could outrun him :)

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  4. If he has a part-time job as a clown. Everyone knows clowns kill people. Your frown isn't the only thing he wants to turn upside down.
    wlweddle at gmail dot com

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  5. Clowns have a built in disguise, which makes them so effective. I have a couple kids who are deathly afraid of clowns...maybe they know something we don't....!

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  6. I think the biggest tip-off is the maniacal laughter. ;)

    I write serial killers, too, so I LOVE this list. (And I'm still laughing about Whitney's comment too. We used to have a painting of a clown hanging in the hallway outside my bedroom when I was a kid. Creepiest thing, even though it just depicted the clown in profile, applying lipstick. Of course it was right in my line of vision as I fell asleep each night... *shudder*)

    Thanks for the great post, Kylie!

    annemariebecker at me dot com

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  7. Great post. I read a lot of true crime and now my hubby wonders why I lock all the doors and set the alarm when we live in suburbia. Another prime candidate for serial killer (or maybe just killer) is the charming boyfriend who turns possessive. Mysteriously all his old girlfriends suffered some horrible fate. Whoa is him and new girlfriend takes pity on him ~ until she's his next victim!

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    1. Absolutely, Alison! A possessive boyfriend is a huge red flag for lots of problems down the road, even if he isn't a serial killer! You're a good woman to be locking your house. I still leave my keys in my car. I know...crazy :)

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  8. BWAHAHAHAHAHA :) Like that??? I love Norman Rockwell figurines and I have one of a clown drying a little boy's tears. I have a son who insists the clown has more nefarious intentions Whenever he walks by it he affects this childlike falsetto and says, "But Mr. Chuckles, why are you drawing tears on me?" I laugh now everytime I look at it!

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    1. LOL.... I always think of it as "Mwahahahaha"... my brother does a mean impression of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons...steepled hands and all. ;)

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  9. I always keep an eye on the loner guy that lives down the street and drives his unmarked van ever so slowly down the street, leering at each child, or house like he is making a mental map.

    I got a great chuckle from the clown comments. My sister is a clown and more than a little bit off her rocker!

    Thanks for the giveaway. I've wanted this anthology for a while!

    Heather E
    hregtedt@aol.com

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  10. Heather, I always wondered if there was a psychological difference in clowns who use sad faces vs. happy ones. Hmmm...something to research!

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  11. The perfect guy. Perfect hair. Perfect teeth. Perfect life. No one is perfect. This type always gives me the chills. He's so perfect no one would believe anything bad of him.

    Great post. Oh, yeah, I agree about the clowns. Don't like them. Never did.

    autumnjordon at yahoo dot com

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    1. Autumn, agreed, those guys always seem smarmy to me :(

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  12. I wonder where the "group fear" of clowns come from. I am not keen on clowns either, though I will give a thumbs up to rodeo clowns as they have a real function.

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    1. Gayle, I've also heard of a widespread aversion to mimes. Hey, there's an interesting villain...!

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  13. Yikes! The carrying a chain saw and keeping his body's body around is a DEAD giveaway for me. I think also if he was an eerily calm demeanor and steady, expressionless eyes. That would be a sign I would look for.

    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Dead eyes I always call them. And yes, they're a giveaway for sure!

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  14. How about if you go on a blind date and he says he's Norman Bates and "Would you like to come to the motel and meet my mother?"

    janet(underscore)kerr(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Ugh...this is likely why blind dates should always drive separately. If necessary you can drive *over* him!

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  15. If he is just to good to be true. He dresses better, is more well read, plays a musical instrument like a virtuoso, has traveled the world and cooks like a master chef. Then invites you to his home for dinner, it's cleaner than a model home, you use the bathroom and it smells of bleach, at that point you run screaming for the sweet dork you have been ignoring at work that wants to take you to Taco Bell and a movie. He has to be a serial killer you are really not his type!

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    1. Exactly why I never wanted to date guys who were better looking than me :) And also guys who had a smaller butt than mine but for completely different reasons...

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  16. Very interesting post and checklist. Sometimes there's something about the eyes, especially if they're staring at you.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Dead eyes...or shark eyes I sometimes think of them as.

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  17. I like to read the in Death books and I have noticed that some of those killers have some of these traits. I hope I never come in contact with a serial killer so I won't have to look for the signs!

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  18. A great list to watch out for. I'm leery of the strange car parked up the street with a lone figure sitting in the driver's seat.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Somehow everything is creepier at night, especially the lone figure!

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