“This an intriguing tale of Satan worship, drug abuse, obsession and murder that had me whizzing through the book in no time at all. The prose is written at a break neck pace which never slows as we follow the strange and meandering tale of Nigel, a young boy whose obsession with serial killers is taken out of text books and into reality. The knowledge and research of the author is well done here, from the serial killers to satanic practices to drug abuse. I always like to be taught something in a book I read, and this offered some intriguing nuggets of wisdom throughout its pages, although I wouldn’t like ask where all this knowledge comes from. 🙂 Highly recommended. I loved it.” – J R PARKS, SINISTER HORROR COMPANY
“Have a taste for the extreme? You found it within the pages of this story of a hapless writer who becomes the unwitting instrument of a serial killer’s twisted desire to impart his knowledge of and experience with killing in the form of a “confession.” Nigel Skinner possesses a ghoulish mind and certainly ranks high on the list of the most sadistic characters to ever grace the pages of horror fiction. Author Mortlock’s plotting is superb; his ability to write scenes of blood and gore are grisly and engrossing, and the story moves at an almost frantic pace to its utterly terrifying end. From start to finish, I found this story gloriously repulsive and impossible to put down.
And what makes this story truly chilling? That nagging thought that stays in the back of your mind throughout that the events so aptly described could actually happen. And, long after you have finished the story, the equally troubling thought that many such events have happened countless times in the past, and will likely happen again in the future. A pair of truly frightening thoughts.But good horror fiction breeds those kinds of thoughts, and this is a perfect example of it in its purest and bloodiest form, and by a writer that knows all too well how to leave you shivering in dread and loathing. Nicely done, Mr. Mortlock, a genuine Five-Star effort. – RICHARD RAVEN
As a young teenager, still seeking an outlet for my baulked instincts, I discovered a passion for literature; Patrick Süskind’s Perfume, Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, Tana French’s In the Woods, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, Rex Miler’s Frenzy and Slob, Colin Wilson’s The Killer and The Collector, Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs and the Hannibal Lector series, Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil, Dan Wells’s I Am Not a Serial Killer and the John Cleaver series, Ian Banks’s The Wasp Factory, Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse, Woony Lea’s Jack Knifed, Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars, Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, and not forgetting the original Psycho by Robert Bloch, to name just a few outstanding titles in this fine narrative tradition.
A particular favourite was Simin Wolfe’s Satan’s Apprentice. It is, in my humble opinion, an undervalued classic, even if some critics do say it goes too far. Easily identifying with the main character, an outsider to society like myself, I was carried away by the lyrical prose of mutilation and murder. This book, more than any other, was a huge inspiration to me. I would not be who I am today if I had never read it.
All the best serial killer fiction is inspired by real crimes; not just books, but also films. Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre were both based on Ed Gein. As was Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, with other details being lifted from the crimes of Bundy, who faked injury to get close to his victims, Gary ‘Green River’ Ridgeway, who violated his victims with foreign objects and dumped them in the woods, and Jerry Brudos, who dressed in his victim’s clothes. Harris has also written a whole series around Hannibal Lector, who was based on Dr. Alfredo Balli Trevino, a physician who murdered and mutilated his lover and his best friends, and probably many others. Plus the movie of Silence of the Lambs came out at the same time as Dahmer’s arrest, with the press tying his legend to the movie.
Serial killers have generated huge incomes for the entertainment industry. Scorpio, the killer in the first Dirty Harry movie, is clearly based on the Zodiac Killer. The Scream killer, with his ghost faced mask, is based on Danny Rolling, ‘The Gainsville Ripper’, who like Bundy and Stu in the movie killed with the intention of getting famous. More recently, the killings of Dennis Rader inspired the TV series The Fall. There are countless other examples.
My appetite for bloodthirsty literature gew fiercer still. I sought out books on real murders; ‘True Crime’, countless ghoulish biographies, and wherever possible the actual testimonies, confessions, diaries, and anything else said or written by serial killers themselves. I was surprised to learn just how many real life killers are, like me, keen readers of fiction. Wherever they mentioned books they enjoyed I made sure to seek out copies.
John Fowle’s The Collector is particularly popular, with Christopher Wilder ‘The Kansas City Butcher’ actually being found with a copy on his body after he shot himself. Leonard Lake and Charles Ng also confessed to being inspired by it.
Another favourite with a number of killers is J. D. Sallinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Mark Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon, infamously quoted from the book during his trial. John Hinkley Jr. had a copy among his belongings when he was arrested for the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Robert Bardo, who murdered the actress Rebecca Schaeffer back in 1989, also had a copy among his possessions when he was arrested.
Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, which has been made into a TV show, inspired 17 year old Andrew Conley to strangle his 10 year old brother. Canadian man Mark Twitchell, who lured two men to his ‘movie studio’ to play parts in what they had been told was a fictional movie about a serial killer, was also a fan. He was arrested after one of his victims escaped and continues to watch the series in prison. Here in England Mark Howe, who used a still of Dexter’s blood splattered face for his profile picture on FaceBook, slashed his own mother 53 times with a 12″ knife before leaving her to bleed to death on the bedroom floor. Another 17 year old Steven Miles has been jailed for 25 years after stabbing his girlfriend to death and dismembering her body. During his sentencing the court heard that Miles had a fascination with horror films and wanted to emulate Lindsay’s fictional serial killer.
Another is Stephen King’s Rage, originally published under the name Richard Bachman, which was taken out of publication after no less than three school shootings and hostage takings were linked to the book.
I soon became fascinated by the strange paradox between the killers of fiction and the killers of reality. I resolved to seek out copies of every books mentioned in the confessions, testimonies, trials and interviews with the real life serial killers, spree killers, and mass murderers I found myself researching. I spent long hours pondering on the implications of these fiction inspired crimes. Was violent and bloodthirsty fiction really responsible for the atrocities they apparently inspired? Is ‘life imitating art’ a legitimate argument for instigating violent crime, or are there more deeply rooted issues involved?
By 16 years old my library included many strange and unusual texts. I found myself reading not just fiction but philosophy too. Serial killers are often surprisingly deep thinkers. Each has their own unique approach to the eternal questions; the meaning of life and the purpose of death.
Many, such as the UK’s own Ian Brady, cite Nietzsche as an influence. Of particular interest are Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, which discuss such essential matters as the nature of guilt, the conscience, empathy for the weak and infirm, and why such defunct Christian ideals only serve to poison modern society like standing water. Brady’s own book Gates of Janus is also a must read for anyone thinking of taking up the hobby.
Richard Ramirez, Bobby Beausoleil, The Son of Sam, and a number of others are known to have been inspired by Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, with its inversion of the 10 Commandments, advocating freedom from society’s false restrictions and the indulgence of our darker instincts. There are also some interesting notes on ‘victim psychology’, observing how some people seem to actively seek out situations where they will be bullied, abused, or even murdered. So what is wrong with giving people a little of what they want?
Continuing with my research I found a surprising number of slayers, from The Zodiac Killer to the more recent Pazuzu, had been influenced by occultism of one kind or another. Not just serial killers but spree killers too.
According to the FBI commissioned report, The Official Causes of the Columbine Massacre, the ‘Trench Coat Brigade’ had been passing a number of books beween them during the months before they shot up their school. Besides LaVey’s works they were also reading up about secrete societies such as The Bavarian Illuminati, with fnord references throughout their diaries and in messages passed between them in class. Of particular interest among their library was Peter J. Carroll’s Liber Null & Psychonaut, the training manual for the black magic order he founded to herald in the Age of Chaos. Much to my surprise the file also mentions that the author is a resident of Bristol.
I constructed a shrine in my bedroom to the famous and not so famous serial killers and mass murderers of history. Most teenagers have pictures of pop stars on their walls, or their favourite football team. I had Bundy, Gein, Manson, Ramirez.. Dedicating the shrine, and myself, to the powers of Darkness I burned black candles, performed simple rituals, and gave prayers to that part of myself I identify with Satan; the source of my Telos or ‘True Will’.
Much to my delight I also found an online supplier catering to the ever expanding market of modern Satanism – for truly we are many – The Luciferian Apothecary. Borrowing my father’s credit card I purchased a red handled ritual dagger, its 9″ double edged blade inscribed with infernal sigils. With this knife I sacrificed on my shrine the family cat. Everybody has to start somewhere.
This is the story of how, from these simple beginnings, I came to be the serial killer I am today. Just as I was inspired by the books I read, be they fiction, confession, or philosophy, I hope my own humble offering will inspire others. May these pages be stained with blood and the hands that turn them choke a million necks.
From EVERYBODY NEEDS A HOBBY, a novella by Nathaniel J Harris, published as Nathan Mortlock, 2015