Brian Master’s previous book about a homosexual serial killer, Killing for Company, has become – deservedly – a classic of criminology. Yet I never felt entirely happy about his account of Dennis Nilsen's motivation: that the murders were due to his horror of being left alone. Would anyone really feel that a naked corpse made his loneliness more bearable? Is it not far more likely that he killed because he was driven by a simple and crude appetite for sex with partners who had no choice?
This objection certainly cannot be applied to The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer, which uncovers layer after layer of the killer's mentality with the skill of Rembrandt's anatomist dissecting a body.
In July 1991, two police patrolmen were startled when a black youth wearing a handcuff ran in front of their car