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If it weren’t true, it wouldn’t make great fiction…

Lisa Jackson, author of the number one New York Times bestseller FATAL BURN* and of the upcoming LOST SOULS, never anticipated that her writing would lead to spending so much time on the dark side of life. But it has, as she researches and writes about the pain and horror of murderers and their victims and, most heinously, the cruelty and seeming indifference of repeat killers.  That said, it’s still hard to believe that in reality—not just in films, on television and in novels—serial killers do fit profiles and do, indeed, seem to follow common rules of behavior, many of which lead to them being identified and caught.  Some of the “dos and don’ts” of serial killing apparently are…

Do appear to be a normal, friendly neighbor, either outgoing or the sort who likes to “keep to himself”

Do be a young white male

Do use the same method of killing over and over to avoid going undetected

Do collect souvenirs of your victims

Do pursue a cat-and-mouse relationship with at least one of the detectives hunting you down

Do call the victim from your, or a relative’s, home phone before the crime

Do keep meticulous computer logs of your victims’ comings and goings

Do skip appointments with your parole officer or mental health specialist

Do start killing closer and closer to home as you become more confident

Do get thrown in jail for a minor, unconnected violation and brag about your crimes to a fellow prisoner

Don’t get rid of all evidence connecting you to the crime--keep a scrapbook of your victims and newspaper coverage or, preferably, tape them all over the wall of a locked room

Don’t hesitate to establish a pattern in selecting victims so they don’t get lost among the random murders

Don’t  make extra work for yourself—go back to the same store to buy all the tools you need from duct tape and extra-strong rope to plastic sheeting and disposable gloves

Don’t  live alone if you are unmarried—move in with your mother

*April 2, 2006

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