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This is the autobiography of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

 

No other such criminal has sought to write their autobiography so in this sense this book is unique.  What Nilsen wanted to achieve with his autobiography was to show the general public that he was not a monster but a human being, albeit an aberrant one (which he admits). I should point out that apart from the grisly details of his crimes, which have been heavily redacted, every word was written by him.  It took him 18 years.

 

Nilsen comes across as articulate and clever.  He is also aberrant and highly inadequate - both of which he acknowledges. He has never questioned his homosexuality and he never once questioned his crimes. He has never denied his crimes and claimed to understand the devastating effect these crimes had on the victims' family and friends.  Oddly he did not seem to consider the effect that they had on his own family and was highly critical of them when they did not inform him of his grandmother's death or his brother's death. He was informed that the reason for not being informed of his brother's death was that the family didn't want him turning up at the funeral as they thought that would be upsetting. 

 

This was easy to read as it was well written and I chose to read it because Nilsen and his crimes have always interested me.  I read Brian Masters' Killing For Company - the only book to give me nightmares - and watched the three part docudrama starring David Tennant as Nilsen (he was outstanding). There are no answers in this biography, Nilsen doesn't know why he committed the crimes he only describes them and how he was feeling at the time.  There was large amounts of alcohol involved and he indulged his aberrant fantasy. In jail he thought that the system was inhuman and the book has more in it regarding his time in jail than it does his crimes, but then he was longer in jail. Nilsen does not glamourise his crimes nor does he seek to justify them. 

 

I'd recommend this if you are interested.  It's not as horrific or blood thirsty as you'd imagine and I'm glad that I read it. In my opinion Nilsen succeeds in bringing his personality into the public consciousness and, as expected, it's not the nicest personality in the world and there are those that would still consider him a monster. He was frustrated that the Home Office would not allow him to publish when he was alive but put the manuscript in the care of his friend to be published after Nilsen's death.

 

 

 

  

 

 

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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