I found Red Dragon far superior to Silence of the Lambs in this respect.
Michael Slade's Headhunter is also a good one in giving the first-person account
from the POV of the killer. It also keeps the killer's true identity a secret,
which leads to a real shocker of an ending! Slade (in all of his/their
manifestations) has not reached the heights of this debut since.
>The strength of COLLECTOR and RED DRAGON (another Harris title, which I think
>is also an excellent representative of this subgenre, of which I agree there are
>damn few) are that they don't "explain" the killer's behavior, even as they
>present a full and vivid first-person account of it. We learn the killer's own
>justification and analysis of what he's doing, much as we do in THE KILLER
>INSIDE ME and other Thompson works, and that justification is just skewed enough
>to provide tension between what is happening and what he says about it. That
>tension, with the hyper-logical but still off-center observations of the killer,
>in the hands of a great writer, can carry a book. It's the killer's mind that
>intrigues us, not the killings, which is where a lot of these fall short. (I
>haven't read I WAS DORA SUAREZ yet but I can't help but think that Derek Raymond
>would nail this.)
>More importantly, perhaps, the really good books in this genre show how
>eminently human the killers are while still being clearly strange, and don't
>make them out simply to be monsters to be slain by the white knight. I remain
>chagrined at how many crime novels reduce to a retelling of St. Michael vs.
>Lucifer or St. George vs. The Dragon. (Or Dudley Do-Right vs. Snidely
>So-called profiling pretends to explain, and though interesting for a few books
>as a plot device because the science was relatively new, it grew stale precisely
>because it put the behavior in a box and made it safe for the squeamish. And
>profiling, like a lot of financial planning, relies on what has happened before
>to predict what will happen again -- which is of course true of a lot of forms
>of inquiry, but remains the equivalent of driving down the highway while looking
>in the rearview mirror.
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