A Father's Story by Lionel Dahmer; The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule - review by Alexandra Artley

Alexandra Artley

Strange Tastes

A Father's Story


Little, Brown 256pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

The Stranger Beside Me


Warner Books 512pp £5.99 order from our bookshop

Serial killers, convicted or alleged, undoubtedly exude a kind of corrupt majesty. Among them, for sheer originality and rather whiffy charisma, the modern emperor must be Jeffrey Dahmer. It was, of course, neither nice nor good of him to murder seventeen rather vulnerable young men (mostly black, but he was no racist) and yet he remains oddly child-like. His good and honourable father, Lionel Dahmer, feels this too in a moving personal account of his own attempt to come to terms with his son's nature – mass murderer, necrophiliac and cannibal.

It is almost inevitable that a book, which tries to isolate the parental role in shaping so bizarre a human being, will be a touch portentous. When a child turns out to have such startling characteristics, all that parents can do is to meditate on every tiny detail of his

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