on March 1, 2007
This is a fast paced true Crime novel about the murderer John Robinson, who started off his criminal career with fraud and embezzling money. Later as the Internet became more popular he would surf the net looking for his victims. Finding women who he could lure into his sadistic life.
This book has some really graphic parts and also deals with the world of S&M, getting into detail about his relationships with some of the girls and how he made them sign slave contracts.
Once again it is amazing to see what someone can accomplish and get away with for so many years just by being a smooth talker and knowing how to read other people. Compiling more and more information on them through casual conversations and then using that knowledge against them. Quite sick. Makes you really think about how much information you give out over the internet, do you really know who you have been talking too???
This book also contains 8 pages of photos of John Robinson and some of his victims.
on June 13, 2004
This is my fifth John Douglas book, the first I've read with Stephen Singular. Like many true crime books, it is not great literature. The story feels stretched out for extra drama over too many pages and the books strays off into Douglas' discourse on cybercrime fighting it loses it's momentum. The sections on cybercrime fighting should have been in the appendix. John Douglas is a passionate crusader for both law enforcement and victim's rights, but he really was a snooze here--his knowledge of the internet is not very deep and the listing of government agencies is bland. However, the John Robinson story was completely new to me. He is truly a one of a kind serial killer...from white collar criminal to murderer is not the "usual" route. I wonder if he is proud of being the first internet serial killer. His wife Nancy is also a tragic, yet frightening woman. How could she not know? Or more likely, how could she deny, deny, deny his nature? Wow. However, the focus should remain on the monsterous deeds of JR. He again shows us the banality of evil. Not great literature, but a fascinating case that I had never even heard of until I read this book.
on January 11, 2004
If you're a fan of true crime stories, and I am, you'll want to
read ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE by John Douglas and
It is the tale of John Robinson, the Internet's first serial murderer . . . I
found it fascinating to see how he evolved from a petty con man to
a master of technology in the last half of the 1990s who could
attract women from all over the country to do virtually anything
Although I knew the ending when I first picked up the book, it
nevertheless kept me fascinating until the very ending--a mark
of really good writing.
Also, I liked the Appendix at the end . . . the first part gave tips
for helping adults and kids avoid the dangers of Internet
predators . . . however, the second part dealing with the
following "tips adults can share with children" that I found
1. Never give out personal information (such as name, age, home
address, phone number, school, town, password, schedule, or
your picture) or fill out questionnaires or any forms on-line.
2. Never meet in person with anyone you have met on-line without
mom and/or dad present.
3. Do not enter a chat room without mom and/or dad's presence or
supervision. Some "kids" you meet in chat rooms may not really
be kids but adults with bad intentions. Remember-people on-line
may be very different from who you think they are.
4. Be suspicious of anyone who tries to turn you against your parents,
teachers, or friends. They may have a hidden agenda.
5. Never respond to or send e-mail or instant messages to new people
you've met on-line. Talk to your parents first so that they can check
out the situation. Never engage in an on-line conversation that makes
you feel uncomfortable; log off and tell your parents. If you get such
a message, DO NOT respond. Sending a response only encourages
the person. Instead, show it to your parents and let them handle it.
6. Use Control-H while browsing the Web to see a list of Web sites that
have been accessed by your computer in the last few weeks. This
can help you determine if your child is visiting any dangerous sites.
7. Install filtering software like CYBERsitter, CyberPatrol, or Net Nanny.
The software costs about $50 and acts as a digital chaperon,
blocking any inappropriate content. These programs work by checking
which sites your child visits against a list of disapproved sites, complied
by the makers of the software.
8. Install software that will actually record images of every Web site that
your child visits. The software won't stop them from accessing sites,
but it will let you know if you have a problem. For truly concerned
parents (or employers), you can now buy Investigator, which allows
you to track every mouse click made by your child when on-line. It
reads secret passwords, records everything that has been deleted,
catalogs Web sites that have been visited, shows credit card usage
on the Internet, and can even tell you what your child purchased.
At present, it is the most sophisticated software yet created to spy
on those in cyberspace.
9. Be a part of your children's on-line lives as well as their off-line ones.
Talk to your children about what sites they visit, whom they
communicate with, and who are on their buddy lists. No software
will ever be a substitute for being and active parent.
on December 10, 2003
As true crime books go, this may not be the best-written, or the most scintillating, but it is as scary as it gets, especially to those who think they know their way around the Internet and are confident that they know all the scams.
Convicted mass murderer John Robinson, who is currently on Death Row for his gruesome crimes, trolled the Net for women, luring them to his home state of Kansas, involving them in kinky practices, then killing them and hiding their bodies in barrels. His unspeakable crimes went on for years and years, while at home, he was the model husband, father and grandfather, a pillar of his community and his church.
How could this happen? All too easily, as former FBI profiler John Robinson, the author of many other such books, describes in painstaking detail. Think you couldn't be roped into such a scheme? Think again. Robinson was brilliant at what he did; he fooled not just naive "prey," but thinking women who knew the perils of the Internet, including at least one psychologist who walked right into his horrible web (no pun intended).
The chilling story ends with a series of warnings for parents about supervising their children's activity on the Net, and also reminds adults to be careful. It's a worthwhile book for that alone. For those of us who like true crime stories, it's probably a C plus due to the stilted writing. But the story in itself is grade A...well worth the read.
on October 28, 2003
As a big Douglas fan, I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with this title, and I'm really sorry about that. The story of Robinson is fascinating and truly makes you wonder how these women could be so easily led. The problem I have with the book is in the delivery.
Robinson managed to get away with being a successful criminal for several decades before his insatiable need to push boundaries became his ultimate downfall. You'll read how he scammed people from THOUSANDS of dollars and walked away from bilking legitimate companies, all with barely a slap. You'll be horrified that women would travel incredible distances to be with a complete stranger, a man they 'knew' only as an online persona. The actual story left me a mixed bag of anger, sadness, and frustration.
That said, I move to the delivery of the action. In several places, the author breaks in thought from the actual story with these pointless asides. In one part, he mentions the double murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. While this is mentioned in the context of outlining the 3 basic types of killers and how invesitgators can tell a scene is created by one perp or more, it's not necessary. The mention of that crime scene taints the one you're reading about, the sick world of Robinson.
There are other places where the author breaks from the story to include asides. While some of them are important to the overall theme that the internet can be a dangerous and strange place, I felt that some of his information would have been better in an appendix. The author includes 2 appendices, one that addresses safety in surfing and chatting.
A great story, but I gave it three stars because there are too many places that the story just breaks, like a book with commercials.
on October 28, 2003
Well, quite frankly, if the book leaves out as much of the truth as the review does, it's probably not worth reading. It doesn't even mention the on-line and real world slavery that's been going on for years by the goreans / gors in places like the ActiveWorlds 3D chat program, which, if you didn't know already, was one of the places the Slavemaster went, and I believe met Suzette Trouten, and some of his other victims. I've been trying to warn people about them for YEARS on my site, and to ask them to contact the FBI, but nobody listened. Then, later, I heard that she was killed. The only thing that ActiveWorlds did was to create a small memorial spot for her using her gorean slave name (faithh) along with many others near AlphaWorlds' middle, or GZ (short for Ground Zero). The gor worlds still remain in that program, and many others like it, to lure people into the gorean lifestyle, and to become slaves. Silly person that I am, I thought that slavery was illegal in the U.S. but it seems that it's A-OK with places like ActiveWorlds and the U.S. Government, since they're not doing anything about it. Even in this review (and possibly the book?), their existance isn't mentioned, so the general public isn't aware of the danger. Should the next serial killer send thank you notes to the authors for keeping their victims ignorant?
on October 8, 2003
This book lacks any photographs, which is unusual for any true-crime book. It uses Roman numerals for its chapters. The purpose of this book is to educate, and entertain, the reader. Its description of that video reads like a pornographic novel. It warns everyone of the dangers in the on-line world. This book is about a serial murderer who trolled the Web seeking willing victims. There were criminal acts in John Robinson's past before he started on murders. His embezzlements were discovered but did not result in jail time because of his restitutions. Most white-collar criminals are not violent. People trusted him; he could have been a politician. The authors say this is one example why career criminals can't be rehabilitated (p.13). Repeat offenders know how to present themselves (p.14).
JR was born in Cicero Ill in 1943. He became an Eagle Scout at 13, and senior patrol leader; he had a lot of talent. JR then entered the Quigley Preparatory Seminary, but was remembered for shrewdness not academic success. He then attended Morton Junior College, and then worked at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park Ill. He was accused of embezzlement, but was not prosecuted when he agreed to pay it back. JR then moved to Kansas City with his family (p.8).
One of JR's businesses was hydroponics, a way of growing vegetables indoors. (No weeds?) JR manipulated the Kansas City mayor by creating faked letters from real people; it was discovered (p.31). Page 23 says prisoners who become jailhouse ministers want to exert power and control over others. While bouncing between jobs (fired for embezzling) and scams, JR discovered the new world of personal computers (p.26). He also started a prostitution business, and continued to lead a busy double life. (The authors noted his many escapes, but never mention any links to organized crime.) He attracted the notice of the police and FBI, but nothing happened. (Jack Ruby?) In time, his past crimes caught up to him and he went to jail. JR received an education in computers while in prison. After his release he went back to his old pattern. Women would meet him, then disappear without a trace. The Internet gave him a superhighway to his goals.
The case against JR was tangled and multi-dimensional, involving multiple states and jurisdictions, with financial and computer issues (p.159). (JR may have survived so long because there were no insurance claims as in the case of HH Holmes.) Serial killers collect mementos of their victims, evidence that is used in court. JR was extensively surveilled before his arrest (p.163). The authors explain S&M as a way to escape adult responsibility by those who are emotionally vulnerable (p.164). (I once worked with a woman who joined EST so they could tell her what to do.) These seem to be lonely women who befriend strangers. Money and sex were the bait. Communities hate being fooled by those they liked and trusted, their feelings turn to anger and hate. (Does this explain the problem for OJ Simpson?) This can splatter innocent associates (p.194). People think a serial killer should look like a monster, but they look like anybody, even someone who wouldn't hurt a fly (p.211). JR was "a clever man with a remarkable ability to appear normal" (p.220).
on June 10, 2003
Fascinating and horrifying. I also read John Glatt's "Internet Slavemaster," which is about the same case and covers much of the same ground, but ends before the trial and verdict. I love books that peer into the criminal mind, and John Douglas has written some good ones, particularly "Mindhunter," "Journey into Darkness," and "Anatomy of Motive." What's particularly horrifying here is how John Robinson was able to get away with his crimes for so long. He would get caught in some scam and go to jail for a short stretch or get probation, then just carry on, always cooking up new schemes. When a woman he'd hired would disappear, the family would receive a poorly-typed letter purportedly from her, and the police would drop the case. Why wasn't this guy nailed sooner? It reminds me of the Sante and Kenny Kimes case, which is the subject of more than one book, but I think "Son of a Grifter" by Kent Walker, Sante's other son, is the best. In both cases, they started out as con men, managed to fool and/or intimidate people, got away with outrageous crimes for years, and went on to commit murder.
on June 9, 2003
I first heard about John Robinson at a time in my life where, let's just say, there but for the grace of God go I. So I picked up this book with much trepidation, wondering what memories and fears it would trigger. Well, it certainly did both. If I needed any more reminders of how dangerous the world of chat is, this book hammered it home. Boy, did it hammer it home. Sometimes, I found his descriptions of the S&M sex Robinson engaged in with his victims a little too graphic for a true crime book. I could have done without it, thank you very much. (I'm getting more sensitive in my old age, I guess.)
If anything was missing, I wanted more in the psyche of Robinson. Maybe there wasn't more to be had. But I wanted to know why he did what he did. An alcoholic dad and a strict mom weren't reasons enough--his other siblings came out fine. Perhaps we will never know. What I also didn't like was the author's moralizing and blanket assumption that people like Robinson could not be rehabilitated. I wonder, if Robinson had gotten the psychological help he needed early on, when he was first starting his cons, maybe none of this would have happened. And I mean real, on-going and in-depth psychological help, not just the superficial treatment of the penal system. He is probably too far gone now, at least for anything but divine intervention, but I'll bet he wasn't when he was 25. Despite all that, it was still an interesting and absorbing book.
on May 29, 2003
After being an avid fan of serial killer books for quite some time, I'd begun to think that I'd read everything that was ever written on the subject. However, soon after I picked up John Douglas' new non-fiction book, "Anyone You Want Me To Be," I quickly realized there was an entire world of crime I had yet to discover.
While I had previously heard of John Robinson, I knew very little about the details of his background and killing spree. In today's world, where the Internet is such an integral part of everyday life, it is frightening to know there are predators like John Robinson out there, preying on innocent trustworthy people.
Mr.Douglas, who created the FBI's profiling unit, effectively allows the reader to enter a place many authors have previously left untouched, a killer's mind. Tracing John Robinson's background from his childhood to his days as a killer, Douglas allows us to see Robinson as more than just a psychotic maniac.
For those who enjoyed Mr. Douglas' previous works, this haunting, bone chilling masterpiece is an absolute must read.