IN SONS OF CAIN, TORONTO AUTHOR PETER VRONSKY EXPLAINS OUR SERIAL KILLER FASCINATION (AND HIS, TOO)

In 1979 a 23-year-old Vronsky literally bumped into Richard Francis Cottingham, the “Times Square Torso Ripper,” in the lobby of a hotel in New York City where they were both staying.

Toronto author and filmmaker Peter Vronsky has written several books on serial killers, and in the introduction to his latest on the subject, Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers From the Stone Age To the Present, he explains how it all got started.

In 1979 a 23-year-old Vronsky literally bumped into Richard Francis Cottingham, the “Times Square Torso Ripper,” in the lobby of a hotel in New York City where they were both staying. As The Ripper walked past him, a cloth bag he was carrying bonked into Vronsky, with what he thought might be bowling balls inside. In fact, they were the heads of two of his victims.

It’s a wonderfully macabre anecdote and it sets the tone for the rest of the book. Sons of Cain covers a lot of ground in an informative, entertaining and at times idiosyncratic take on serial killers that expands on the coverage provided in Vronsky’s previous books Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters and Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters.

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