Sons of Cain is the third book on serial killers that I’ve read from Peter Vronsky, having previously read about Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters and Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters. This time, the angle taken is a historical one, with Vronsky looking at serial killing trends from the Stone Age until now, while also theorising about the potential future of these types of crimes.
Serial killing is in no way a modern phenomena, and this book looks at the werewolf trials of the sixteenth century, the church and state sanctioned serial killing of supposed witches, nineteenth century London and other time periods in which these crimes have proliferated (illustrations included, one of which made me double take: Robbie Williams is either a time travelling murderer or Jesse Pomeroy was an uncanny doppelganger!):
There are also some truly terrifying stats included about relatively recent studies of men’s attitudes to sexual violence which really shook me.
While advances in technology and forensic sciences seem to have had an impact on the numbers of serial killers on our streets (who would seem to have been replaced by mass shooters instead), a good case is made for this perceived drop also being due to the lack of attention given to the ‘less dead’ who are killed more often – the types of victims that don’t excite the media (basically anyone who’s not a middle class white girl) while also suggesting there could yet be another boom as we see the effects on the next generation being parented by people traumatised by war. Sobering stuff…