Sons of Cain – Peter Vronsky

Who doesn’t love a book about serial killers?

I was browsing through my local Barnes & Noble and came across this beauty. I had seen it on Berkley’s page awhile ago and made sure to keep my eyes peeled for it’s release.


I had heard nothing but great things about his other books, so I was anxious to get started.

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Here’s the synopsis for this one:

From the author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters comes an in-depth examination of sexual serial killers throughout human history, how they evolved, and why we are drawn to their horrifying crimes.

Before the term was coined in 1981, there were no “serial killers.” There were only “monsters”–killers society first understood as werewolves, vampires, ghouls and witches or, later, Hitchcockian psychos.

In Sons of Cain–a book that fills the gap between dry academic studies and sensationalized true crime–investigative historian Peter Vronsky examines our understanding of serial killing from its prehistoric anthropological evolutionary dimensions in the pre-civilization era (c. 15,000 BC) to today. Delving further back into human history and deeper into the human psyche than Serial Killers–Vronsky’s 2004 book, which has been called “the definitive history of the phenomenon of serial murder”–he focuses strictly on sexual serial killers: thrill killers who engage in murder, rape, torture, cannibalism and necrophilia, as opposed to for-profit serial killers, including hit men, or “political” serial killers, like terrorists or genocidal murderers.

These sexual serial killers differ from all other serial killers in their motives and their foundations. They are uniquely human and–as popular culture has demonstrated–uniquely fascinating.


My Thoughts: 5/5 stars!

Alright, so you’re talking to someone that loves history (the more facts, the better!) and it’s a bonus that this is about serial killers. I loved that it also included serial killers that I hadn’t heard of before and that we went so far back into history to study them. I’ll warn you now, this one is a lot more technical than you would expect (which could translate into a more dry read for some). The amount of research that went into this book is amazing.

SONS OF CAIN focuses more on the serial killers that commit sexual crimes and killings. What makes them different than other killers? As a warning, these killers engage in rape, torture, cannibalism, and even necrophilia, so if those topics are ones you wish to avoid, then this won’t be the book for you.

This dives deep into the minds of these killers and also examines why the public seems to be so fascinated and mesmerized by their horrific crimes. I think the most captivating and creepy part of this book was hearing about the author’s personal brushes with some of these killers. Makes you wonder if you’ve ever interacted with or encountered someone like this. This is why I will always love to read true crime novels and why they will scare me the most. These people exist(ed) and these crimes actually happened, if that’s not chilling and terrifying, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re a fan of true crime and are curious about a more in-depth history of these kinds of killers, then this will be a truly fascinating read. Again, this book is very technical and heavily researched, so it may read like a textbook or encyclopedia for some readers. I will be going back to find his other books about the more modern serial killers!


What’s your favorite true crime novel?





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