The New Face of Crime

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Photo courtesy of policeoracle.com

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”              ~ Walt Whitman

The ability of law enforcement to maintain order has always depended on its capacity to outmatch the technological advancements of society’s underbelly. From the early days of systematic photography, to polygraph machines, to the ultra-modern technology of facial recognition, forensic science always strives to remain one step ahead of the criminals who prey upon the law-abiding population.

Although facial recognition technology has existed for over a decade, it has had its limitations. Until recently, criminals were able to beat facial recognition if the image of them was not fully captured, i.e. profile or partially covered face. (The recent failure of facial recognition in the Boston bomber manhunt is a great example of that limitation.)

This inadequacy may now be a thing of the past, as facial recognition technology recently underwent a significant milestone. According to Face Forensics Inc., its software now has the ability to match only a portion of someone’s face on previously uploaded full faces. This is bad news for the Phantom of the Opera.

But, seriously.

This is a huge advancement for law enforcement officials who have extensive databases of full faces, but have had problems linking those faces to partially captured facial images. How amazing would it be if this technology could make a match by using only a nose? Or an eye? Or an ear?

The ability to identify criminals at large will dramatically increase. If a camera could simply capture a glimpse of a perp, and then let the facial recognition software match the partial image to a full face – it will prove much more difficult for criminals to evade cameras by simply averting their full faces from known surveillance cameras.

While facial recognition was primarily developed for law enforcement purposes, there are also other surprising uses for this technology. Hotels use it to greet guests. Casinos utilize it to identify problem gamblers. And dating sites use it to help their members find soul mates.

The reality of our world is slowly catching up to science fiction. And, it seems to be only a matter of time before all of our faces will be under constant surveillance. I am not so sure that’s a good thing. How about you?

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Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind Dead Burn Dark Pursuit Silent Partner  Screenwriting
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Vigilante Detective Emily Stone Answers 5 Questions #NewRelease #Thriller

closeupEmilyI receive many questions about the heroine in my Emily Stone Thriller Series.  I thought it might be fun to ask her a few questions.  She was my inspiration and creation after a personal experience with a real psychopath.  But enough about me, let us ask Emily Stone a few questions.

(Interview reposted by permission from Emily Stone)

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Jennifer Chase:  Thank you Ms. Stone for taking the time to stop by to answer five questions.  I know that you have never given an interview because you work covertly and wish to remain anonymous.  First, tell us a little bit about your working background.

Emily Stone:  I was a police deputy sheriff for almost eight years in Indiana.  I worked patrol, special investigations and was overlooked for SWAT.  My primary interest was to work child cases.  I felt it was where I could make a difference.  I studied forensics and criminal profiling intensely through college courses and police seminars.

JC:  Now you are working on your own hunting down serial killers and child abductors.  What made you decide to quit the police department and work on your own? Was it something that happened to you? Did they make you quit?

Emily Stone:  I have the background, training, and determination.  It’s a calling, or need if you will, that I feel strongly about.  Why I quit the department is a personal decision that I’m not prepared to discuss right now.  EmilyStone_EI find that I could do more work effectively behind the scenes as a ghost detective unrestrained by police politics in order to assist various law enforcement agencies.  They’ve never questioned my anonymous emails or where my complete investigations came from.  In fact, they are relieved to have assistance and most of the time the forensic evidence helps to find a serial killer or child abductor.

JC:  It must be dangerous work.  Do you ever worry about your personal safety? 

Emily Stone:  Of course, but I plan ahead, make deliberate decisions and do not act on impulse or emotions.  Well… at least most of the time (softly laughs).  I’m an expert with firearms and self-defense. EmilyStone_workoutI am always learning new techniques to keep me alive.  I’m also fortunate to have someone on my side – so I’m not alone now.  I don’t know if I would have quit or found another way of conducting my investigations if it weren’t for him. (Her voice faded as she thought about Rick)

JC:  I’m familiar with serial crime and what potentially drives the various types of serial killers. Give us an example of your method of finding a serial killer.

Emily Stone:  That is a complex question, but I will give you a quick overview in the time I have available.  I start at the beginning with the crime scene or crime scenes. I ask myself many questions.  Why this particular area to kill or dump the body?  What does this area mean to the killer? What behavioral evidence is evident from the crime? Quite often, police overlook the areas that are indeed part of the crime scene, such as the areas that transport a person to the actual dumping ground.  I make the crime scene areas much larger in my investigations than the police initially conducted theirs.  Almost like clockwork, I find subtle clues that helps to give the beginning insight into the killer’s motives, behavior, modus operandi, signature, and if and when he’ll kill again.  Every case is different, but my methods are always the same. That’s what makes it work.

JC:  Ms. Stone where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Emily Stone:  That’s your sixth question.  I’m sorry, but those cases haven’t been written yet and I’m not prepared to discuss them with you.

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As you can see, Emily Stone seems to be capable and matter of fact when it comes to her covert investigative work, but her anonymity is imperative for her to be effective with these types of cases. If you would like to find out how she handles herself in forensic investigations and what happens when she’s confronted by the bad guys, check out her newest case in Dark Pursuit.

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Here’s a sneak peek of a case and you can watch Emily Stone in action:

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I would love to connect:

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 Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind Dead Burn Dark Pursuit Silent Partner  Screenwriting
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To Lie or Not To Lie

liedetectorYears ago I had an interview with a police department for a forensic position.  I had already been fingerprinted, interviewed by the supervisor, had an in-depth background meeting with the background investigators trying to catch me in a lie from my thirty plus page application of my background, and the investigator even visited my home.  I still wasn’t done with the interview process yet!  The final phase of the interview was the infamous lie detector test.

I’m a fairly easy-going, straight to the point kind of person with nothing to hide, but I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the thought that my stress might make the lie detector test blip a bit.  Maybe make me look guilty for something I did or didn’t do.  Was that possible?

I met with a patrol sergeant who was certified in administering the lie detector test to police department applicants.  I was escorted into a small interrogation room.  We are talking no thrills, small metal table, two uncomfortable chairs, and a rudimentary sign on the wall that read: check your firearm before entering.  Yeah, it was one of those rooms where the cops questioned suspects with hardcore investigative techniques.  My writer’s brain went through all types of wild scenarios, and I wondered if they had questioned a murder suspect in the very chair I was seated. Now I was sweating and fidgeting.  I expected to be wired up with numerous plastic suction cups with a strap across my chest as shown on television, but instead, my lie detector test was one tiny clip with a microphone affixed to my shirt.  The one cord was linked via USB connection to a laptop computer as the sergeant watched the modest size screen.  It was a voice stress analyzer that would detect any inconsistencies (or stress) from my voice.

And so it began… I kept thinking that my voice sounded funny, almost hollow, as I answered the routine questions.  It was like someone else was talking, but it was most likely my perception inside my head along with my nerves.

Once the interview was over, I asked half-jokingly, “So did I pass?”

The polite cop answered, “I just have a question that I need verified from someone else.”

I just stared at him.  Was he kidding?

To make a long story short, I passed all of the tests and was offered a position.

So what the heck is the standard lie detector test?

It’s actually called a polygraph, which is administered by a certified polygraph examiner.  A polygraph is a combination of medical devices that are used to monitor changes occurring in the body.  As a person is questioned about a certain event or incident, the examiner looks to see how the person’s heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and electro-dermal activity (sweatiness) change in comparison to normal levels. Fluctuations may indicate that person is being deceptive, but exam results are open to interpretation (if the subject is deceptive) by the examiner. ­

This is where the whole polygraph thing gets interesting.  The questions, answers, and responses are all subjective to the “interpretation” of the examiner.  It leaves room for some seriously grey areas in my opinion.

Can people really beat the polygraph?

According to Russell Tice, the National Security Agency whistleblower who blew the lid open on warrantless wiretapping conducted by the federal government on U.S. citizens post-9/11, says a person can trick the tester on “probable-lie” questions.

These are the basic questions that the examiner gives to the recipient before the process actually begins, like “have you ever stolen money” or “have you ever cheated on a test”, etc.

Tice goes on to explain, “To trick the tester, a person should lie in response to these questions like most other people would, but also bite their tongue hard while doing so, which will set off other physiological reactions in the body. The tester’s “needles will fly everywhere,” says Tice. “And he will think, This guy is a nervous nelly. He has a strong physical reaction when he’s lying.’”

What about psychopaths?

If these types of individuals don’t see anything wrong with lying in the first place and have no bodily changes in the process, then this test would deem inaccurate and at the very least highly incomplete.

How accurate is the lie detector?

Some interesting new research published in May of 2013 from an international team of psychologists has shown that people can actually suppress incriminating memories.  What happens when certain individuals do this is that they avoid detection in the brain activity with guilt detection tests.  It sounds simple enough, but it’s based on the logic that criminals have specific memories of their crime stored in their brain.  Once the criminal is confronted or reminded of these details, then the brain will automatically recognize these details and the bodily changes occur.

Contrary to this assumption, some individuals can intentionally suppress unwanted memories.  It wasn’t clear from the article if psychopathy was studied as well, but I would guess that sociopathic and psychopathic individuals would/could be a part of this memory suppressor group.

Dr. Jon Simons, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge stated, “Our findings would suggest that the use of most brain activity guilt detection tests in legal settings could be of limited value. Of course, there could be situations where it is impossible to beat a memory detection test, and we are not saying that all tests are flawed, just that the tests are not necessarily as good as some people claim. More research is also needed to understand whether the results of this research work in real life crime detection.”

(originally posted 7/23/2013)

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Fun Fact:   The polygraph was invented in 1921 by John Augustus Larson, a medical student at the University of California at Berkeley and a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department in Berkeley, California. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the polygraph was on its 2003 list of greatest inventions, described by the company as inventions that “have had profound effects on human life for better or worse.”

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Check out Emily Stone’s approach to the polygraph. She doesn’t wait for the answer.

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I would love to connect:

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 Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind Dead Burn Dark Pursuit Silent Partner  Screenwriting
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A Knife for Vigilante Detective Emily Stone

ES4

I am always looking for ways to add to Emily Stone’s arsenal when she goes on her covert investigations hunting serial killers. I wanted to add a knife as back up to her Glock and Beretta, so I decided to ask the expert who would completely know what she should carry. Benjamin Sobieck is the go-to weapon’s guy for writers. I got my answer and MORE! I’m so excited! I’ve already outlined some scenes for the next Emily Stone Thriller using her new back up weapon.

Check out this guest post from Benjamin Sobieck for great insight and be sure to visit his site: CrimeFictionBook.com.

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GUEST POST

by Benjamin Sobieck

Jennifer Chase popped by my blog, CrimeFictionBook.com, the other day to request a recommendation for a knife for her Emily Stone character. I was more than happy to play the part of Q to Chase’s vigilante protagonist.

Step One: Profile the Character

The first step is to get a sense of Emily Stone. I’ve read Emily Stone books before, so I have an idea of her, but this super cool video Chase produced last year drives it home.

Stone is a professional who knows how to fight, although Chase mentioned to me her sidearm is sometimes knocked away by an antagonist. The knife would be used as a backup in a last-ditch situation.

Step Two: Identify the Requirements

Given what I know about Stone now, I’d say her knife requirements break down like this:

  • Fast deployment (meaning the knife can be drawn quickly)
  • Small and/or concealable
  • Sturdy construction
  • Ergonomic

Step Three: Select a Knife Type

Flashy knives with folding blades, such as switchblades and assisted openers, are tempting. After all, what opens faster than a switchblade?

Actually, that’s a trick question. A fixed blade knife (meaning the blade doesn’t move) will always open faster than any folding knife. The blade is always open. That leaves room within the design for a solid grip on the handle.

Fixed blades can also take a beating without fail, unlike folders that can become jammed after hard use. A character like Stone needs something she can count on in any situation.

The trick will be to find fixed blades that are concealable. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there.

Step Four: Choose the Knives

Back in the days when I worked for a survival magazine, Living Ready, I learned about an old saying that rings true for this situation: One is none, two is one. If you know you need something important, bring an extra.

So I’m going to recommend not one but two knives for Stone. She’s a Class A ass-kicker, so a backup to her backup is in order.

Primary Knife: Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife

TDI-law-enforcement-knife

 

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife is designed for exactly the type of last-ditch defense Stone needs. Despite its name, it’s available to both civilians and law enforcement.

The TDI is lightweight and small, yet rugged and ergonomic to an extreme. Once Stone wraps a hand around the TDI’s curved design and thoughtfully integrated jimping (grooves for a better grip), there’s no letting go. She can hold the knife in almost any position, too, which perfectly matches her martial arts training.

This knife is best worn in a sheath fixed to a belt around the waist. A shirt could keep it somewhat hidden, but that’s where the secondary knife comes in.

Secondary Knife: Brous Blades Silent Soldier V1

Brous Blades Silent Soldier V1

If the going gets really tough, Stone can reach for the backup to her backup knife, the Brous Blades Silent Soldier V1.

Once Stone slips her fingers into the V1, she’ll have to lose her hand before it’s forced away from her. It’s small and sports sturdy construction, with aggressive jimping along the spine of the blade.

Those are admirable features, but the real kicker is where it’s worn. This is a neck knife, meaning it slips into a sheath that’s worn on a lanyard. Stone could wear it around the neck and under the shirt. If she needs it, deployment is as easy as reaching up her shirt from below and tugging out the knife.

The bad guys won’t know what hit ’em.

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Benjamin Sobieck is the author of The Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books) and several works of crime fiction. Check out his website at CrimeFictionBook.com.

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What Inspires My Writing

SunsetI love writing action thrillers, but I find it necessary to take breaks to clear my mind and just relax. This is especially true when my mind is full of serial killers and crime scenes! Everyone should find something that will lessen the load of stress and recharge your battery.

One of my favorite hobbies is photography. CaliforniaValleyI have always loved the outdoors, nature, and the beach. I am fortunate to live near the beach and I seize the opportunity whenever possible to take a walk – I call it my photo walk of recreation. When I go for a walk, everything inspires me – the details of the outdoors, the colors, the sounds, and the vibrant wildlife.

I am an extremely driven person, which is good on some levels but it can let anxious energy to creep into the mind and body. GardenAbout six years ago, I had my first panic attack driving home from an errand. For those of you who have experienced anxiety and panic attacks, it is quite a scary and unsettling occurrence. I had to reevaluate my life and how I approach stress and work – including how I perceive situations around me.

I started to realize that when I looked through the lens of a camera, nothing else mattered at that exact moment. It was as if time stands still and what had been weighing on me disappeared.

I love beautiful and brilliant sunsets, MorroBaybut my favorite type of photograph is black and white. I find myself imagining most images through the lens in a black and white picture. Oftentimes, the photo is more dramatic as the various shades of grey Barnbring out the beauty or uniqueness of a subject. I pay extra attention to plants, vistas, old buildings, strange anomalies, and abandoned areas. DoorwayI find the most interesting subjects when I’m driving to do errands, because I try to take different routes whenever possible. I think about my settings in my books and there have been a few locations that made their way into my Emily Stone Series.

Writing inspiration is a form of relaxation, at least for me, and I have found three essential elements combined that makes for an ideal balance.

Balance is the initial key to alleviating stress. It lifts the heavy burdens of the stressful things that overrides everything else. Going for a casual walk and documenting what you see helps to keep that balance.Cala

Focus maintains a directive that only matters at one specific moment in time. It allows details, colors, and hidden things to become clearer in the outdoor world. By focusing on what is through the lens, it helps to connect that important focus instead of everything else that bombards our days.Waves

Creativity is crucial to free your mind and continue to provide the constant flow of ideas. I try to maintain my creative thoughts with everything I do and the result helps to keep a calmer stability.  After a photo walk, my mind is clearer and I’m ready to write that next chapter with more energy and enthusiasm.

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I would love to connect:

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 Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind Dead Burn Dark Pursuit Silent Partner  Screenwriting
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Jennifer Chase – DARK PURSUIT – 2015 Virtual Book Tour #EmilyStone #Thriller

 

2015 Virtual Book Tour – May 10 – June 5

May 10 – Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours – Kick Off

May 11 – Mythical Books – Excerpt

May 12 – Jody’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

May 13 – Avid Book Collector – Excerpt

May 14 – Logikal Blog – Guest Post

May 15 – Queen of the Night Reviews – Guest Post

May 16 – Coffee Book Mom – Guest Post

May 17 – Books Direct – Excerpt

May 18 – A Place in the Spotlight – Guest Post

May 19 – Author B.L. Blair – Excerpt

May 20 – Readsalot – Excerpt

May 21 – A Novel Kind of Bliss – Review

May 22 – Andi’s Book Reviews – Review

May 23 – Karen Banes – Interview

May 24 – Bound 2 Escape – Excerpt

May 25 – Queen of All She Reads – Guest Post

May 26 – The Pulp Den – Review

May 27 – Harps Romance Book Blog – Review

May 28 – My Reading Addiction – Interview

May 29 – Keenly Kristen – Review

May 30 – Kelly Smith Reviews – Review

May 31 – Chosen By You Book Club – Excerpt

June 1 – What U Talkin ‘Bout Willis – Review

June 2 – Books are Love – Review

June 3 – A Life Through Books – Review

June 4 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

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Crime Thriller
Date Published: 3/13/15
From the International Award Winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES: 

Vigilante detective Emily Stone has covertly hunted down killers and closed more serial cases than most seasoned homicide cops combined. Her exceptional profiling skills and forensic techniques, along with deductive crime scene investigations, have made her a compelling force that cannot be beat. She has reached her ultimate breaking point and now must face her toughest opponent yet – her biggest fears. With preciseness, the Tick-Tock Killer has taken his next child victim and promised to dump the body precisely four days later, mocking police and the community. Stone struggles to balance her inner demons and ghosts from the past, against the wits of a brutal and cunning serial killer in an all-out battle of psychological warfare. Can Stone save the next child in time? Dark Pursuit is an action-packed cat and mouse game that will take you to dark places rarely explored.

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Meet vigilante detective Emily Stone

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Jennifer Chase is an award-winning author and consulting criminologist.  She has authored six crime fiction novels, including the award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master’s degree in criminology.  These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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Examining Four Types of Serial Killers

investigationThe term serial killer is defined by the act either of two or more separate murders, acting alone or with another, during a period of time with breaks in between each murder, or what has been referred to as a cooling off period.  They are a unique breed of individuals that make special efforts to elude detection from law enforcement.

It is not exactly known how many are practicing at any given time across the US.  The FBI has given an estimate of 200 serial killers roaming in the US at one time, but according Joel Norris, author of Serial Killers, he suggests that there are three to four times more. Norris also explains some psychobiological theories that could contribute to the complexity of a serial killer.

In my Emily Stone Thriller Series, Emily Stone goes up against a ruthless, diabolical and somewhat eccentric serial killer in my thriller Dead Game.  This serial killer Samuel uses his unique signature as a voyeuristic serial killer to commit his crimes.  I created Samuel to be a power and control and perhaps a bit of hedonistic type of serial killer. The lines are often blurred with the serial killers in my novels to make the killer more sinister and frightening.

In Dark Mind, the serial killer known to readers as Keo has a much different approach that would be considered to be a mission or visionary type of killer.

In my latest novel Dark Pursuit, the killer is driven by a mission with some visionary added. You can check out any of the novels in the Emily Stone Series to find out how I incorporated the four types of serial killers.

These are the four basic types of serial killers:

Power & Control

This type of serial killer experiences complete sexual gratification from the domination and humiliation of the victim.  This killer is a true sociopath and lives by his own personal set of rules and guidelines.  Many of the famous serial killers we have seen in history and in the media would fall under his type of serial killer.

Visionary

This type of serial killer is compelled by voices or visions they experience and are considered psychotic.  These voices and visions compel them to kill certain kinds of people.

Mission

This type of serial killer feels a “need” or duty to kill certain types of people or “class” of people such as religious or racial groups or prostitutes.  This type of serial killer is not considered psychotic.

Hedonistic

This type of serial killer makes a strong connection between personal violence and sexual gratification.  This type of killer can also be described as a “lust” or “thrill” killer.  This killer receives pleasure from the act and has eroticized the experience.  They generally take the time to torture or mutilate their victims. This type of serial killer is often portrayed in fictional books and movies.

I feel that these descriptions are a fair assessment of the types of serial killers, with the exception of some variations and combinations in certain instances.  There is no clear-cut definition or recipe of a serial killer. However, it gives us a reasonable description that begins to help law enforcement investigators to piece together the motivations and clues of serial killings.

Here are some honest, thought-provoking observations about serial killers made by professionals from:

Behavioral Analysis Unit-2
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime
Critical Incident Response Group
Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • Predisposition to serial killing, much like other violent offenses, is biological, social, and psychological in nature, and it is not limited to any specific characteristic or trait.
  • The development of a serial killer involves a combination of these factors, which exist together in a rare confluence in certain individuals. They have the appropriate biological predisposition, molded by their psychological makeup, which is present at a critical time in their social development.
  • There are no specific combinations of traits or characteristics shown to differentiate serial killers from other violent offenders.
  • There is no generic template for a serial killer.
  • Serial killers are driven by their own unique motives or reasons.
  • Serial killers are not limited to any specific demographic group, such as their sex,
    age, race, or religion.
  • The majority of serial killers who are sexually motivated erotized violence during development. For them, violence and sexual gratification are inexplicably intertwined
    in their psyche.
  • More research is needed to identify specific pathways of development that produce serial killers.

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I would love to connect:

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 Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind Dead Burn Dark Pursuit Silent Partner

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