Inside the Mind of John Wayne Gacy
The Real-Life Killer Clown
by Brad Hunter
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Pub Date 4 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 28 Jul 2022
Gacy lured victims to his home with the promise of work or a warm bed and then duped them into putting on handcuffs, claiming he wanted to show them a magic trick. He would then rape and torture his victims before killing them by suffocating or strangling them. Twenty-six were buried in the crawl space beneath his home; others were buried elsewhere on his property, while a handful were dumped in the Des Plaines River.
Gacy was executed for his crimes in 1994, but many questions remain unanswered. How many victims were there? Did Gacy act alone? And what drove John Wayne Gacy to murder? What caused the seemingly normal Gacy to sexually assault, torture and murder at least thirty-three young men and boys? local Democratic Party circles?
Drawing on his many years’ experience investigating and interviewing perpetrators of terrible crimes, Hunter seeks to understand what drove Gacy to unleash a reign of terror in suburban Chicago.
A Note From the Publisher
US PUBLICATION DATE: November 4, 2022
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 24 members
The author does what many other true crime accounts fail to do - give space and time to the stories of the victims. He makes them people as opposed to statistics. He also resists the urge to over-dramatise the crimes themselves, letting the facts speak for themselves. He gives fair time to Gacy’s background and explores how it may have been that he came to be a killer but does not offer excuses for him. I found this to be a well balanced account which is up there among the better true crime books I have read.
Gacy lured victims to his home with the promise of work or a warm bed and then duped them into putting on handcuffs, claiming he wanted to show them a magic trick. He would then rape and torture his victims before killing them by suffocating or strangling them.
Twenty-six were buried in the crawl space beneath his home; others were buried elsewhere on his property, while a handful were dumped in the Des Plaines River.
Gacy was executed for his crimes in 1994, but many questions remain unanswered. How many victims were there? Did Gacy act alone? And what drove John Wayne Gacy to murder? What caused the seemingly normal Gacy to sexually assault, torture and murder at least thirty-three young men and boys?
“Inside The Mind of John Wayne Gacy” by Brad Hunter is an unputdownable and very chilling read. A foray into the mind of one of the worlds best known serial killers and the heinous crimes he committed during his lifetime, this is definitely not light reading. It is, however, a fascinating insight into the man himself. Written in a clear and concise manner, it is a fabulous read for true crime aficionados. Some true crime accounts can be written in quite a convoluted manner but I didn’t find that with this book. A gruesome page turner, this book will keep you up at night, quite literally.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for an unbiased review.
As a fan of true crime for many years now, I have long been familiar with the heinous crimes of John Wayne Gacy.
Recently there has been a revival of utter fascination and interest in him thanks to a 3 part Netflix series, which brutally portrays his sordid side.
So when I saw that this book had been written and was available on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to request it - and it didn’t disappoint!
Detailed, descriptive, well written, and undeniably compelling, this book is a must-read for fans of this genre everywhere.
Well Articulated True Crime…
What drove Gacy to commit a series of the most gruesome and heinous crimes over a period of years may never be exactly known but this clear, concise and well articulated account seeks to provide that without ever making excuses nor glamorising the killers motives and appalling acts. Nicknamed the ‘Killer Clown’, Gacy fooled many people for way too long before his crimes eventually caught up with him. The authors experience of true crime writing is evident throughout this chilling and astounding account making it a must for true crime aficionados.
Well researched and written, this book is a thorough look at Gacy’s possible precursors to becoming a serial killer of such magnitude. Includes quotes from Gacy’s own manuscript written in prison. Author did interviews with people who knew Gacy. Not your usual regurgitation of Gacy lore. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
From the publisher: Brad Hunter has spent over thirty years writing about some of America’s most horrific crimes. In this new book he enters the mind of John Wayne Gacy, the real-life Killer Clown, often said to be the inspiration for Stephen King’s evil Pennywise in It. Drawing on his many years’ experience investigating and interviewing perpetrators of terrible crimes, Hunter seeks to understand what drove Gacy to unleash a reign of terror in suburban Chicago.
Yes, I really am reviewing the second book on John Wayne Gacy in less than year. I was a senior in a suburban Chicago high school when the John Wayne Gacy story broke. I have strong memories of watching the news each night, hearing the body count rise, and then discussing the case with my classmates at school the next day. We were around the same age as many of the victims, and it was chilling. Although I’ve read a number of books about Gacy, I feel compelled to read any new books that are published.
Inside the Mind of John Wayne Gacy focuses much more on Gacy than did Boys Enter the House by David B. Nelson, which I reviewed in 2021. I didn’t learn anything new, and yet somehow reading about the victims makes me feel at least I can do that much for them. The case is still active since five victims remain unnamed. Three victims have been identified since 2011, including Francis Wayne Alexander in October 2021.
At times this book felt more like an article written for a sensationalistic rag. The author constantly used new terms to describe Gacy. At first I found this odd and distracting but I got used to it. Descriptive terms included “corpulent killer,” “nondescript businessman,” “rotund contractor,” and “apex predator.”
The author makes you understand that Gacy really thought he could get away with his behavior – not just at the beginning, but at the end. Taking teenager Robert Piest from his workplace could have been a plea to get caught, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Gacy really thought his brains and reputation with cops and politicians would get him off the hook once again. Fortunately, he was wrong.
This book will appeal to those who remember the Gacy case and would like to know more about the victims. If you are as fascinated by the case as I am, you will want to read Inside the Mind of John Wayne Gacy, which will be available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.
I read an advance reader copy from Netgalley.
I love anything true crime so I was excited that I was to obtain this. I thought that I knew a lot about Gacy. I was wrong! This book really dives in to who he is and the crimes. I learned a lot from this book. Gacy is something!! Great read and well written!
Community minded and neighbourly John Wayne Gacy had a terrible secret so vile and depraved it could only be called evil. With promises of a place to sleep, he lured young boys and men to his torture chamber where he performed magic tricks which usually ended in death several hours later. Not only was he a remorseless serial killer, Gacy had a knack for deceit, had a hold over people and inexplicably evaded suspicion, detection and arrest time after time. I cannot begin to fathom what this must have been...and is...like for the families of the victims knowing there were opportunities for arrest. Not only were the police fooled but Gacy's family as well. He was social , entertained politicians and threw neighbourhood parties. He paid well as an employer. Yet some detected something sinister about him.
Author Brad Hunter writes in a matter-of-fact manner about what made Gacy tick including details from his awful upbringing in an abusive home to his marriages to his workplace (grooming grounds) to the actual crimes of rape, torture and murder of at least thirty three men (according to Gacy the number is closer to 45). Hunter uses copious amounts of research, documents and interviews to tell the story of the hideous discoveries in Gacy's crawlspace, on his property and in the river. Gacy was executed in 1994 but many questions remain which are highlighted in the book. It is estimated that the repercussions of his crimes will last a hundred years.
Due to the subject matter this book is loaded with gruesome and disturbing details. While not for everyone, it is an excellent book for those who study or are intrigued by true crime. Gacy didn't look like a monster but he truly was. Books like this which focus on the victims are incredibly important.
My sincere thank you to Ad Lib Publishers and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this informative and fascinating book.
Inside the Mind of John Wayne Gacy is an in-depth investigation of the life and crimes of a serial killer.
I found this book fascinating. Hunter has meticulously researched this, and written it in a very accessible way. I also liked that the writer gave the victims of Gacy a lot of time, rather than focusing entirely on the criminal.
Definitely a read for anyone who likes True Crime.
Many thanks to Brad Hunter, NetGalley, and Ad Lib Publishers for this copy.
This was a really I depth look at the crimes of John Wayne Gacy. As a true crime fan I felt I knew this case inside out but this book provided more info I'd never heard before, and the theories in the final chapter blew my mind! Really well researched and respectful attention paid to the victims of the crimes. A really interesting read for true crime fans.
This is a comprehensive book about one of the US’s most notorious serial killers. It does focus on John, but it does tell the story of his victim’s. Due to the time period and the lack of law enforcement interest, he unfortunately tortured and killed way more than he should. A lot of people ignored the red flags. Hopefully we will be able to identify all his victims as the case is still being investigated even after his death.
What a book! I don’t think the name John Wayne Gacy needs explaining to anyone, especially to true crime enthusiasts but if you need a quick reminder here goes!
John Wayne Gacy hailed from Des Plaines, Illinois and was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murders of 33 young males in 1980. He was executed by lethal injection on 10th May 1994 after numerous appeals against his conviction and sentence. His execution was slightly botched with one of the IVs getting blocked and therefore taking longer than normal. If you are interested his last meal was KFC and his last words were ‘Kiss My Ass’. Nice, but then what else would you expect coming from a serial killer of such depravity.
Anyway onwards to the book! Brad Hunter, you’ve done an excellent job! This book is an excellent example of illustrating the fact that even though you think you know all there is to know about a particular crime/serial killer there are always new facts to discover!
It is well written, well presented, factual and informative and keeps the readers attention engaged and interested. The text flows well from chapter to chapter. There’s no jumping backwards and forwards, it’s is all presented in pretty much a chronological order and contains all newly released material relating to recent television documentaries on Gacy
I have watched the documentary The Clown and the Candyman and if you look at all available information plus Gacys insistence he did not act alone I don’t think this link can be ignored. The very idea of a pedophiles network on the scale of which was uncovered sickens me but it would explain the ease at which these type of individuals found their victims as serial killers of this ilk generally have higher victims counts
All in all a very good book, I was captivated from the start and would have finished it much quicker if I didn’t have to force myself to put the book down and go to work!! Definitely worth a 5 star rating!!
As a true crime book this is so well researched by the author,the killer,his crimes and importantly his victims are all discussed, one of the most harrowing reigns of terror in modern times the author does not glamourise but gives the reader a true look into this evil man and what he did and who it affected ,the research is very well presented
What a chilling look into one of the worst serial killers in US history. This man was pure evil and he was never sorry or remorseful for his actions. It was horrifying to learn how he was able to get away with his crimes before he was caught. This book is sure to please the true crime fan!
Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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