Killer Collections: Dark Artifacts from True Crime by Paul Gambino: A curious and compelling social and cultural history of true crime – book review –

Killer Collections: Dark Artifacts from True Crime by Paul GambinoKiller Collections: Dark Artifacts from True Crime by Paul Gambino
Killer Collections: Dark Artifacts from True Crime by Paul Gambino
Why do people commit heinous acts of violence, why do some seem to be pure evil, and why are they sometimes released from prison only to kill again and again?

Delve into the dark and dangerous side of humanity with Paul Gambino’s intriguing overview of artifacts and ephemera relating to some of the world’s most infamous criminals and criminal acts, and discover why some people choose to collect items from society’s darkest and most inhumane moments.

Gambino – bestselling author of Morbid Curiosities and Skulls – has been an avid collector of the macabre for over 20 years and owns an extensive collection of Victorian memorial photographs, antique funeral items, mug shots, and vintage religious items.

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But his two decades of collecting have also gained him access to some of the world’s most elite collectors of the macabre and Killer Collections documents the most morbid true crime artifacts while offering new insights into the perpetrators’ troubling psychology and infamous crimes.

Featuring 175 specially commissioned photographs, as well as access to the best private collections, the book is a curious and compelling social and cultural history of true crime, but is also unafraid to dig into ‘the shallow grave of the human psyche’ to understand why some people are drawn to collecting what is known in some circles as ‘murderabilia.’

Gambino introduces readers to the collectors who have unique and privileged access to dozens of dangerous and disturbed perpetrators, including American serial killer John Wayne Gacy, 1970s serial killer Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, Richard Ramirez dubbed the Night Stalker, and former US Army soldier David Berkowitz who became a serial killer.

From an 18th century hangman’s noose to cult leader and killer Charles Manson’s cremation ashes, a document signed by 19th century axe murders suspect Lizzie Borden and the circular saw confiscated from the home of Robert Berdella, the infamous Kansas City Butcher, many of these pieces will be shown outside private collections for the very first time.

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This unique book offers a rare opportunity to explore numerous personal archives, showcasing murder weapons, crime scene photography, police files, diaries, letters and other criminal ephemera, alongside the fascinating and often disturbing stories behind them.

Murder most foul…

(Laurence King Publishing, hardback, £25)

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