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The book that got me thinking about Feminism and Serial Killers

Huntress Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

Brief recap - FBI agent Roarke unwittingly gets involved in murder investigation as a result of seeing an undercover agent killed in broad daylight. Initially thought to be a hit-job, he finds himself chasing a serial killer. We also get some one on one time with the alleged serial killer, a woman who favors turtlenecks to cover her past. The book follows a basic procedural format until Roarke has an aha moment where he realizes that this turtleneck loving woman may not be a hired assassin or mafia, but may actually be a serial killer.

Probably not the intent of the author, but this book took me off on tangents related to what is or isn't serial killing and sent me examining the role of gender when it comes to serial killers. Well, I'll be darned if I just opened up a pandora's box of opinions.

The author's take through the main character Roarke:

...female multiple-murderers fell overwhelmingly into two types: the "Angel of Death," almost always a medical or health care professional who killed patients as the ultimate control, ore even in some twisted desired to end their miser, or the "Black Widow," a women who married or mated wit the intention of killing her spouse or lover for his or her savings or insurance money.

Serial killing was a completely separate psychology, more accurately known as sexual homicide. As with rape, the motive was sexual gratification by violence, often, accompanied by sadism. And women didn't do it.

So here we have the stipulation that serial killing technically tied to the motive which must be sexual in nature. Perhaps this is an important technical distinction, but it feels a bit sexist to me. Now now young lady, you don't want to be part of that big bad serial killer club, you just did what a troubled mis-programmed female would do when you killed all those men/babies/competing women. Given that the author is a woman, I don't think this is blatant misogyny, so before I get all ragey about this, I figured I would consult two experts. The FBI (for obvious reasons) and my ex-husband (cause he's obsessed with serial killers).

The FBI BAU published a nice booklet called Serial Murder Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators (why they didn't add "true crime enthusiasts" to the the intended audience?). Among other things, it states that serial killers are not defined by motivation. Ok good, they are equal opportunity profilers, and that seems to contradict the author's premise. The publication goes on to say that one of the myths about serial killers is that they are white males. This assertion is followed up by a list of 5 non-white MALES who are serial killers. Two steps forward, one step back.

My ex-husband is obsessed with serial killers. If you see me reading anything about psychopaths or true crime stories, he is probably involved in some way. So I asked him about the popular belief that women are rarely if ever serial killers. He is really focused on the foibles and missteps during investigation, and didn't have much to say about gender other than serial killers are not necessarily sexually motivated. He was really happy about the link to the FBI publication that I sent.

Oh I digress, let me get back to the book... One facet of the story is that agent Roarke is a former criminal profiler. He left his position in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit because, well, apparently delving into the minds of a killers can be stressful. Roarke has demons, and I feel like this was an important angle that could have been explored a bit more. There is also an interesting connection between Roarke and Cara which cannot be forgotten. Given that this is the first in a trilogy, I am not spoiling anything by saying that there is more to explore the inner workings of Roarke, Cara and their connection.

Audiobook comments - (I received a free copy from an AudiobookBlast promo in exchange for an honest review). This was my first listen with R. C. Bray as narrator. He comes highly acclaimed and I thought he did a good job. There was one instance where his interpretation of Roarke's emotions really came though, and I only wish there has been more of that. Production quality as good and I would definitely check out the next in the series. There is a Kindle/Whispersync deal where you can get the audio for only $0.99 when you purchase the $3.99 kindle book. If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, you can't beat the deal.