Review: Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History – Tori Telfer

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer

Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 10, 2017)

Print Length: 336 pages

Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins

Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are likely Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, and Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is one where women are the victims of violent crime-not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally male that, in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared that There are no female serial killers. Inspired by Telfer’s Jezebel column of the same name, Lady Killers disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Although largely forgotten by history, female serial killers rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite. Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different female serial killer and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media as well as the stereotypes and sexist cliches that inevitably surround her.

The Review

An entertaining foray into the dark world of serial killers, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History is a quick read meant to inspire its readers to dive deeper into what makes the ‘gentler’ sex commit heinous acts of murder.

Telfer’s choice to focus on female killers of years gone past was one I could wholeheartedly get behind. While some reviewers found the choice one that disconnected them from the information, I found that it allowed me to discover new killers in new time periods and how those killers compared to shifting social and political landscapes.

The reason I have for not rating the book higher is just wanting more information in each chapter. It felt, while reading, that I was only scratching the surface as to why each woman did what they did, and why, compared to their male counterparts, they don’t make the history books.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And those are my thoughts on Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer. Have any non-fiction recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.


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