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Book Review: The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer

?Richard Biegenwald had an early introduction to crime. He shot his first victim in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in 1958, when he was just eighteen. He was promptly arrested and imprisoned. Sixteen years later, by then a free man, he killed again and continued killing for the next nine years. Investigators linked him to nine murders between 1974 and 1983, and he was convicted of five. This book is an excellent account of Biegenwald�s crime, the resulting investigation, and his subsequent punishment.

Author John E. O�Rourke, CPP, a retired New Jersey state trooper, paints a vivid picture of the events that unfolded with illuminating descriptions and personal details that make this book intimate, free-flowing, and easy to read. The reader can learn how the story ends from the book�s jacket, but the narrative, the photographs, the daring and tragic exploits of the killer, and the thoroughness and persistence of the investigators make this book a page turner that is hard to put down.�

The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer would be useful to anyone wanting to understand how this crime spree occurred, how it was investigated, and how it managed to go on for so long. Anyone involved in personal protection can draw lessons for use in simulations and case studies on how a girl can be enjoying a night out one moment and be abducted the next. Because the crimes were committed over such a long period and within a fairly small geographic area, this book would be beneficial for not just law enforcement, correctional, and security professionals, but also for community and social workers, municipal administrators, and medical practitioners. The book does a great deal to help dissect the dark side of a community when individuals in it commit crimes.�

The author also takes the time to examine the flawed humanity of Richard Biegenwald and the circumstances that helped contribute to the turns his life took. His crimes are inexcusable, but this book helps the reader understand how they happened. As unacceptable as those crimes are, the pathway to them can be put in perspective and his victims remembered.


Reviewer: Vladimir Batinic, CPP, has more than 15 years of security experience. He is ASIS Young Professionals liaison for the Calgary/Southern Alberta Chapter and works as security advisor for the City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.