A lot of reviews focused on the history covered by this book, but what I found most compelling was in fact the second half, which discussed the "formation" of a serial killer.
In the first half, the author goes back a few centuries to uncover gruesome truths of serial killers across Europe. With every chapter, he steps forward in time, narrating the lives and biographies of famous and not-so-famous killers, from Jack the Ripper to the Boston Strangler. Every page delivers a shock, as the lives and practices of the killers are revealed.
If you manage to survive through the photos in the center without passing out at the gore, you'll find the second half even more gripping. It explains how a serial killer develops, how his behavior differs from others in childhood, how he strikes his first victim, and the pattern that dictates his life from there on. There is plenty on the many types of killers and their various approaches to murder.
A fair portion near the end of the book is dedicated to criminal profiling and crime scene investigation. The book closes with a chilling chapter on how to survive if you find yourself at the mercy of a serial killer.
A very engaging read if you have the heart for the gruesome details!