Saturday, August 1, 2009

Couples Who Kill by Carol Anne Davis

Couples who kill comprise only twenty per cent of killers, but they often murder serially and are responsible for particularly inhumane deaths. Comprising thirteen case studies, this book, which focuses on the psychology of murderers, explores the formative influences of these killers and their deadly dynamics.

As soon as we see "couples" we immediately see "man and woman" right? This book covers 13 cases of couples who have killed but it actually refers to killer duos rather than "couples" as we know it.

This book is one of the books I bought used from my little bookstore with the dodgy guy with the ladder who lurks in the backroom unless a customer needs him to reach a high shelf so he appears with his ladder and then returns to the back.For E.H. who wanted to know what he does at the back,he actually fixes toasters and stuff unless he needs to help out customers by getting down the very high books.This book is also one of the ones I promised to review in the last blogiesta which was a 1000 moons ago.

Back to the book,this was a good read.It blends psychological facts into a well researched storyline.Most of the case studies has childhood background on the main characters,the crime itself and the victims,once caught it delves into the defense strategy of each participant,the prison sentences each received,the myth on each specific case i.e. what actually happened,who killed who,etc...,then the dynamics between the killers which resulted in the murderous spree,and finally (I love this!)an update on where the killers are now.

Case 1-Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris
former prison friends who kidnapped,raped and killed teenage girls

Case 2-Frances and Marc Schreuder
Mother and teenage son who conspired and killed the mother's father and the son's grandfather.

Case 3-Alton Coleman and Debra Brown
They were a couple in the conventional sense of the word.This pair is unusual in that they were a killing black male/white female duo.They killed multiple times.There was no apparent MO, with males and females being killed,the only striking similarity is that all the victims were black.

Case 4-Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono
These were two cousins who embarked on a serial torture-killing spree.(There is a full book dedicated to this true crime story called The Hillside Stranglers:ISBN 978-0786711581)

Case 5-Dean Corll and Wayne Henley
This is also a couple in the conventional sense of the word.They were homosexiual lovers who went on to torture and kill at least 27 boys.

Case 6-Diane Zamora and David Graham
This is the fairly well known true crime story of a young couple who after a fight,David pretended to have had sex with another girl.Diane Zamora,in a fit of jealoysy and anger,decided that David must kill this girl in order to preserve the sanctity of their relationship.

Case 7-Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
These two murderers killed babies as well.They also filmed the killings.Thi is quite a well known and publicized case.There is a book devoted entirely to this true crime story:ISBN 978-0786019267)

Case 8-Marlene Olive and Charles Riley
Marlen Olive had a highly abusive childhood and no doubt from that developed her manipulative nature which ended up with her manipulating her teenage boyfriend Charles Riley into killing for her.

Case 9-Lucas Salmon and George Woldt
A pair of friends where Lucas was a sexually repressed misfit and George Woldt,a wife beater,eager to take the dominant role in this killing relationship.Together they killed one girl.For a full book on this specific true crime story read my review here on Partners In Evil by Steve Jackson

Case 10-James Daveggio and Michelle Michaud
This killer couple sexually assaulted 17 female victims,ending up in murder.

Case 11-Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson
A young teenage couple who decided the best form of birth control was to have the baby,strangle it,and then throw the baby away with the garbage.For a full book dedicated to this true crime story read my review here on Always In Our Hearts by Doug Most.

Case 12-Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
A killer couple who over the period of their crime spree killed many young victims.(I am not too happy with this writer's views on Myra Hindley being more battered than an equal member of this killing couple.Considering she is the one who would coerce young victims to their death,I find that viewpoint a bit sickening)

Case 13-Rose and Fred West
The ultimate killer couple,this couple raped,tortured and killed their victims,even their own children.(Review coming soon on the book Fred And Rose by Howard Sounes)

Further a chapter on British couples who kill children,another chapter on British couples who kill serially,another on British couples where one partner is exonerated.

Chapter 17 is on bizarre couples who kill with quite a few examples with very interesting storylines including brief backgrounds on each.

The final chapter entitled "The Abuse Excuse" provides a brief summaration of the case studfies mentioned earlier this time delving into the psychology of each crime and the after effects of abuse.

I would recommend reading this book if you are especially interested in the childhood background and psychology of killers.

Here are some more book details:
Couples Who Kill
Country: United Kingdom
Format: Softcover
Publisher: Allison & Busby
ISBN: 9780749081751
Publication date: March 2007
Pages: 398

And some more books by Carol Anne Davis which run along the same formats but about a different type of crime

Women Who Kill: Profiles of Female Serial Killers

Children Who Kill: Profiles of Pre-teen and Teenage Killers (2003)

Parents Who Kill: Murderers of Newborn, Pre-Teen and Teenage Children

Youthful Prey: Child Predators Who Kill


  1. Interesting write up by your good self. I'm now ordering a copy of this book as we speak.


  2. Hey Jimmy Bastard all the way from Scotland,you will not regret it.Come back and let me know, was it "bollix" or was I right???

  3. Sounds like a fascinating read! I often wonder about couples who seem to have similar emotional or mental issues. We had a couple who used to live here in town who were definitely obsessive compulsive. They hoarded every little thing and their home was piled from floor to ceiling with boxes and stacks of junk. It was an absolute fire trap and, yes, it did eventually burn down. After the fire, they sifted through the rubble to save anything they could salvage.
    Very sad situation. But, to them, all that junk was 100% important and couldn't be thrown out.

  4. Your review reminded me of a book I read some years back called The Soldier of Fortune Murders by Ben Green. After I read it, I lent it to a friend to read and afterwards we marveled at how these people always seem to find each other.

  5. Hey LuAnn
    This book was really fascinating.The background (which included childhood)details are written to include psychological perceptions and then the actual psychology with the participants and crime itself.
    About this OCD couple you knew I wonder if one of them was like that or both or maybe they were both normal but had a little OCD but when they got together it erupted into full blown OCD behavior.Similar to my thoughts on these killer couples.About the only similarities I could see is some form of abuse in childhood.It really is mind boggling!!

  6. Hey hon..

    Thanks for clearing up what the little guy with the ladder does in his spear time when you do not need him...

    I am liking the layout and organization behind this book.... I am guessing this is a tried and tested method for this author...

    The Interracial couple was definately a surprise for me - never hear of one before...

    I think I am going to check this one out - or at the library at least... sounds good...

    P.S. - I am catching up on all of last months post - so you will see my grubby little paw prints all over your blog this weekend...


  7. I agree it does sound like a good read and thank you for including the links to the full books.

  8. Hey Dixie thanks for the tip.I am going to check out the book.The title sounds good.
    Heidi,this book was good and the full versions even better.I checked for the other cases(with no lins provided) and didn't see any books written about them which is a pity.

  9. This sounds like a really good book. I will have to look into this. I love reading true crime books, but when I get books I always go right for the YA or chick-lit. lol

  10. I want to read this book. I've only heard of the couples from case 12 and case 13. Tha last chapter, "The Abuse Excuse" sounds fascinating. I've always been interested in psychology.

  11. Trishalynn,I am going thru an autobiography phase and I just cannot get enough...
    Kate this book has some really good chapters about the psychological aspect of the crimes.You will enjoy it


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