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Book Review: Serial Killers and The Aftermath

Serial Killers and The Aftermath. By Rosemary J. Erickson, Ph.D. CreateSpace Publishing;; 252 pages; $19.95.

An intriguing combination of a memoir, a novel, and a serious work of nonfiction, Serial Killers and The Aftermath explores the author’s work in premises liability security civil cases. The author states in the preface that the book is “a personal, first-person, sometimes fictionalized account.” Some passages are also written by her husband, Arnie Stenseth, and describe his point of view.

Throughout the book, the author describes her upbringing, education, professional career, personal life, and thoughts about the profession of a forensic sociologist. She also details case work from four serial killer cases she was involved with. Throughout the cases she provides diagrams, newspaper articles about the cases, checklists, figures, and photos of perpetrators and victims. That is the serial killer part of the title. 

The aftermath concerns the author’s role as an expert witness in civil cases that arise from violence, such as when a person is injured or killed as the result of a violent crime at a shopping center or other public place, and the owners are sued for not providing a safe environment. Her research on each case includes understanding the mind of the perpetrator and how and why he selected a particular place or victim. 

All things considered, this interesting book is a unique read with many focus shifts. It is and is not technical literature, and the reader is not quite sure what is real and what is fiction. Nonetheless, the author succeeds in her goal to “inspire young men and women to become forensic sociologists or…to think like sociologists.” The book will appeal to a general audience as a nontypical view into the world of serial killers and those who try to understand them.

Reviewer: Poul Nielsen, PCI, Certified Security Manager, is an intelligence analyst at the Copenhagen Police Department. He serves on the ASIS International Investigations Council.