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Whoever Fights Monsters

My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI
Narrated by: Tom Perkins
Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Face-to-face with some of America's most terrifying killers, FBI veteran and ex-Army CID colonel Robert Ressler learned from them how to identify the unknown monsters who walk among us - and put them behind bars. Now the man who coined the phrase "serial killer" and advised Thomas Harris on The Silence of the Lambs shows how he has tracked down some of the nation's most brutal murderers.

Just as it happened in The Silence of the Lambs, Ressler uses the evidence at a crime scene to put together a psychological profile of the killers. From the victims they choose, to the way they kill, to the often grotesque souvenirs they take with them, Ressler unlocks the identities of these vicious killers for the police to capture.

Join Ressler as he takes you on the hunt for America's most dangerous psychopaths. It is a terrifying journey you will not forget.

©1992 Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I was brought to this by MFM #ssdgm

this book was amazing, the depth and detail that it went into was absolutely stunning! a must read or listen to for any true crime fan. the history behind these cases and the thought processes explained are phenomenal

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating content. narration is brilliant.

This book is a fascinating look at the minds of serial killers brought to you by the FBI agent who worked tirelessly to fight for the importance of understanding what made these men do what they did. A must-read for any True Crime aficionado.

3 people found this helpful

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A great story held back

The narrator chosen for this title was a big miss. Lacks personality, is very monotone and sounds like he'd work best for reading factual information from a textbook; not from a person's point of view.

Ressler gets a little exhausting himself spouting his feats and shows fierce determination to ensure the reader knows ALL about ALL of his achievements. I'm sure failure was a huge part to his success along the way, though, we don't hear much about those.

Fascinating stories that travel through large peaks and valleys on the interesting spectrum, mildly held back by uninteresting personalities.

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic look into the FBI

truly enjoyed the inside look of the FBI and its BSU. The stories are as interesting as they are disturbing. #audible1

1 person found this helpful

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Egotistical

This could have been very interesting if the author would have included more stories and less bragging!

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engaging...

for a biography this is a very good book. it wasn't dry and boring. you want to learn the information that is being presented. it is not a mystery story or novel in any way.

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Rehashed but from Ressler's POV

Pretty good, mostly rehashed of other books he and Douglas have done independently and together. But still interesting to hear his POV

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fascinating read for true crime addicts

Ressler is incredibly intelligent and experienced - it was interesting to learn about his career. Honestly, just a great book by a dude who knows what it's all about!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah R Bongiovanni
  • 2017-06-16

Murderino checking in

This book was recommended on the My Favorite Murder podcast. It touches on several stories they go over on MFM so it really kept my attention. The narrator was great, really clear and authentic. Great read for Murderinos to get a professional perspective of some true crimes. Stay sexy, don't get murdered.

426 people found this helpful

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  • jennifer
  • 2017-06-21

extremely interesting

great material for murderinos ! do not let the publish date of this book, it was over 20 years ago, deter you from reading it or listening. It is filled with facts about serial killers and the man who started the serial killer profiling database and study of serial killer crimes and crime scenes.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-07-11

Did not fulfill its potential

This book had a lot of promise and I'm sure for some it will still be a worthwhile read. It chronicles interesting serial killers and some basic psychopathology. It also spends a lot of time talking about the FBI and tangential topics related to the bureau albeit in a self-congratulatory tone.

It's a book that doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a history of the FBI Behavioral Science Units? Kinda. Is it focused on pointing out how amazing the authors are while pretending to be humble about it? Constantly. Does it cover serial murder? Yes, but other books do it far better.

What stuck in my craw was the way the authors stressed that personality profiling of serial killers was not magic and then presented numerous case studies where profilers seemed to reach the conclusion almost magically or with only the most shallow of details.

However, anyone with even a passive interest in serial killers and true crime work knows that profiling has often been used to terrible effect. The Beltway Snipers were profiled as a single white male, something the police believed so fervently that they dismissed reports of the suspects being black.

If we'd seen both the good and the bad of profiling along with case studies and, perhaps, a little less rambling on things such as Silence of the Lambs. Then this would have been an excellent read. As it is I would strongly recommend checking out Peter Vronsky's, Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Which does an excellent job of giving case histories, examining police profiling and even shares the alternatives to the FBI's organized, disorganized, and mixed categories.

21 people found this helpful

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  • clint
  • 2016-09-20

Amazing insight

This read was better than I imagined. It covers many facets of many cases. It is a look behind the mask of the monster. It explains what happened, how, and what was happening in the mind of the killers. That leads to why these people did what they did. Super interesting and appalling at the same time. If you are prone to lock the doors on your home at all times, you will be.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Holly
  • 2017-06-25

Extremely informative!

I'm a True Crime junky, and this book still taught me things even I didn't know. While the narrator is slightly robotic-sounding, this book was still extremely interesting and worth the listen. Shout out to the My Favorite Murder ladies and fans

87 people found this helpful

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  • leelee8888
  • 2016-07-25

Recommended !!!

I'm a true crime buff that is hard to please, this was a really good listen.

33 people found this helpful

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  • 6catz
  • 2018-02-08

EEEeek!

Fascinating and horrifying by turns, Ressler’s story is nevertheless riveting and amounts to a textbook on the subject of compulsive murderers. One reviewer felt that Ressler was a bit self-aggrandizing in this book, but good grief, if this guy can’t toot his own horn who can? We owe him and other pioneers in his field a huge debt of gratitude.

8 people found this helpful

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  • fredbear2
  • 2017-02-27

Definitely recommend

The book was very good however the narration was a little over dramatized at times.

6 people found this helpful

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  • james clifton barker
  • 2016-08-18

Staring into The Abyss indeed

Thoroughly enjoyable, sometimes lurid, always very entertaining. I guess I can't fault a man with focusing on what interests him, which in this case seems to be Edmund Kemper. He was mentioned in detail multiple times (ultimately they all fit together to tell his story and there weren't any overly redundant details). I did find that Ressler seemed to rationalize a few of his actions from time to time, most notably some participation in the defense of Jeffrey Dahmer. Maybe it was because he treated it as a minor footnote at the end of the book, but I just think that Dahmer, be he tormented or not, should not be given even a single shred of sympathy. I also feel that the money spent on the legal process to put a serial killer to death ultimately does pay out, especially in the Bundy case, because staying alive was an incentive to get Bundy to confess to a good portion of the murders that could not be pinned on him.

Regardless of my minor disagreements, this is a fantastic book from the world's foremost expert and if highly recommend it to anyone that can stomach a few gory details.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Keajr
  • 2016-12-14

Fascinating and terrifying.

an older book but fascinating and very informative period gives a great background to modern day profiling and a great look into the minds of serial killers.

8 people found this helpful