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The Allure of Premeditated Murder

Why Some People Plan to Kill

Jack Levin Julie B. Wiest



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Rowman & Littlefield
15 February 2020
Any murder causes pain and suffering that ripple through families and communities-of both the victims and the perpetrators-but premeditated murders cause the worst kind of damage. The Allure of Premeditated Murder is about the worst kinds of premeditated homicide in which the perpetrator plans an attack over a period of days, weeks, or months, leaving behind massive carnage and unspeakable suffering. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with murderers, sociologists Jack Levin and Julie B. Wiest help readers understand why such vicious murders occur and what we can do to minimize their incidence. Throughout the book, they examine why people engage in acts of premeditated murder-planning and implementing terrible violence against others-from the perpetrator's viewpoint.

By juxtaposing the motivations for these hideous homicides against everyday social circumstances, these often-baffling crimes are explained in an easy-to-understand manner that paves the way for promising solutions. In the process of examining the characteristics of premeditated murder, the book also addresses those questions that are commonly asked about this kind of violent crime but usually unanswered. How could a killer have enjoyed his murderous rampage when he committed suicide right afterward? Why do sadistic killers sometimes regard their murders as great accomplishments? What can be done to effectively reduce the likelihood of this kind of homicide?

As violence remains such a prominent and troubling topic nationwide, The Allure of Premeditated Murder successfully explores the reasons behind the worst violence as well as the most promising solutions.
By:   Jack Levin, Julie B. Wiest
Imprint:   Rowman & Littlefield
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 226mm,  Width: 146mm,  Spine: 13mm
Weight:   272g
ISBN:   9781538138977
ISBN 10:   1538138972
Pages:   200
Publication Date:   15 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Acknowledgments The Most Hideous Homicides: An Introduction Chapter 1: Planning Is the Payoff Chapter 2: Going Out in a Blaze of Glory Chapter 3:The Thrill of the Hunt Chapter 4: Mind over Murder Chapter 5: Justice Is in the Weapon of the Beholder Chapter 6: Helping Yourself to Murder Chapter 7: Death for Dollars Chapter 8: Prevention: What Works and What Doesn't Work Chapter 9: An Epidemic of Epidemic Thinking About the Authors

Jack Levin is the Brudnick Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at Northeastern University, where he co-directs its Center on Violence and Conflict. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 books, most recently Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder, and The Violence of Hate: Understanding Harmful Forms of Bias and Bigotry. Julie B. Wiest is an Associate Professor of Sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She authored Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America, as well as scholarly articles examining the influence of gender roles in court case outcomes of filicidal parents; media coverage of serial murder, mass murder, and active shooters; and public interest in serial and mass murder.

Reviews for The Allure of Premeditated Murder: Why Some People Plan to Kill

This is, by far, one of the most comprehensive and well-researched scholarly works I have come across in quite some time. It is clever, masterfully written, and even a bit risky. This book is a 'must' for anyone who is interested in the systematic study of murder, both experts and non-experts alike. Levin and Wiest cover a wealth of material that is sure to be an invaluable resource for homicide researchers, criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, and students. I highly recommend this book. -- Robert Worley, Associate Professor and Director of Criminal Justice, Lamar University The recent arrest of ex-policeman Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, of Sacramento, reputed to be a serial killer in the 1970s and 1980s, propels The Allure of Premeditated Murder into the spotlight as a very relevant book. This text includes meticulous research of a wide variety of murders, insights into the motives of the murderers, and most, importantly, how well planned they are over months if not years. This book is an outstanding resource for law enforcement, students, clinicians, and community leaders as gun violence, especially of strangers, becomes more of a reality in America. The lessons learned in this book will advance murder investigations as well as provide serious debate over prevention of such crimes. -- Ann Wolbert Burgess, Professor, Boston College Focusing on the myriad of benefits killers derive from their crimes-benefits that outweigh the possible pains of punishment in the calculus of deterrence-Levin and Wiest offer a fascinating and unique look into the mindset of murderers. With a blend of criminological perspicacity and journalistic flair, they have produced a provocative and exceptionally readable addition to any library on violence. I, for one, shall keep this volume within reach on my bookshelf of favorites and often-cited works. -- James Alan Fox, PhD, The Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University; author of Violence and Security on Campus: From Pre-School through College Levin and Wiest offer a fascinating argument that some mass murderers get more pleasure from planning their crimes than from actually committing them. If more people would realize this, maybe their violent fantasies would stay safely in their imaginations and no longer have such devastating consequences for the rest of us. -- Adam Lankford, Criminology Professor, The University of Alabama In their new book The Allure of Premeditated Murder, Jack Levin and Julie Wiest offer insight into the most insidious form of homicide, first degree murders where killers plan their violence in advance. These types of murders may seem more difficult to understand than emotion-driven crimes of passion, but Levin and Wiest reveal the many ways in which these crimes may be better understood by analyzing the viewpoints of the perpetrators themselves. By considering the roles of fantasy, thrill, power, greed, infamy, revenge, sadism, and hate in premeditated killing, this book is a major contribution to the literature on homicide. -- Eric Madfis, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Washington Tacoma The Allure of Premeditated Murder: Why Some People Plan to Kill offers a fascinating compendium history of serial killings and mass murders from the 1940's to present day, many of which made national headlines. I was reminded of many of the events that received national attention and learned some details that revealed the potential reasons as to how & why such atrocities could occur. The authors not only provide summaries of these events and offer points of views from both the perpetrators and investigators, but they also offer opinions as to what solutions may and may not work to prevent the future development of serial killers and mass murderers. I recommend this book to all those involved in discussions and legislation on public safety issues. If it is true that Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana), it is essential that they consider the facts and opinions provided by these authors. -- Dennis Hilliard, Director RI State Crime Laboratory; Adjunct Professor, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI Levin and Wiest provide a unique exploration of a subject that has dominated the public's attention for years. The ample, detailed examples used to illustrate the motivations and contexts of different types of premeditated murder contribute significantly to our understanding of this relatively rare but greatly feared social problem. The authors deliver a candid discussion of both the strategies that are likely to be effective in reducing premeditated murder and those that are not. The book is a must read for homicide scholars, policy makers, and the general public. -- Wendy Regoeczi, Professor and Chair, Cleveland State University

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