Where Crime Meets Horror: Inside the Mind of a Killer

Today I bring you a guest post by a wonderful author who immediately caught my attention a year ago with her story, The Doll. Her name is J.C. Martin and she is absolutely someone to watch. Her debut novel, Oracle, has just been released and is sure to be a huge success. I’m sure you’ll love her work as much as I do. So little hunters and huntresses, with great pleasure, I bring you J.C. Martin. Take it away…

Although my main genre is crime and thrillers, I adore scary stories, and enjoy dabbling in horror fiction. As a fan of both genres, I find many parallels between crime fiction and psychological horror, and nowhere else are these similarities starker, than when one looks inside the mind of a killer.

In this post, I discuss certain elements of a villain’s psychology—using some mildly clever subtitles—that could be every bit as spooky as one of Poe’s poems.

Eyes without a Face

In my books, I often write a few chapters from the point of view of the antagonist. Oracle is no exception. By getting inside the villain’s mind, readers will gain a different perspective on the crime. To the killer, it’s not just a murder. Depending on their twisted logic, it could mean so much more: personal gratification, retribution, a work of art, divine sacrifice, even an act of heroism for the good of all.

By seeing the world through the killer’s eyes, readers, though they may not agree with his methods, may sympathise with his motivations. We may share the same views as a psychopath. The only difference is that they act on their compulsions.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

The nature versus nurture debate in behavioural psychology fascinates me. Personally, I believe a psychopath is borne from an unfortunate combination of both: traumatic experiences and difficult circumstances, coupled with and an innate neurological malfunction, could well be the recipe for a serial murderer.

The antagonists in my stories aim to address this question of how a killer came to be. In Oracle, we visit the Oracle’s childhood in an attempt to understand the factors that triggered his psychotic behaviour.

Whilst experiencing past and present events through a madman’s eyes can be a creepy experience in itself, the scariest thing about killers, particularly serial killers, could be this…

They Walk Among Us

Many psychopaths appear to lead completely normal lives: Ted Bundy was a promising law student; Ian Brady was a quiet, unassuming office clerk. Could that nice young man in the cubicle next to yours be a serial killer in training? You may never know…

For me, more unnerving than their twisted psyche and murderous capabilities, the fact that you can’t tell a psychopathic murderer from the average Joe, is the scariest thought of all.

Through writing or reading from the perspective of a psychopath, we get to explore the darkest recesses of the human psyche. This walk on the dark side, together with the knowledge that these real-life monsters are indistinguishable from the everyday man, is what makes writing serial killer fiction so horrifyingly intriguing.

How do you find a serial killer in a crowd? You don’t. They find you.

What compels YOU most about the mind of a killer? In your opinion, who is the scariest serial killer of all, real or fictional?

About J.C. Martin:

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. A writer of dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant, her short stories have won various prizes, and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle, released by J. Taylor Publishing, is her debut novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

Website: http://jc-martin.com
Blog:
http://jc-martin.com/fighterwriter/
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/JCMartin_author
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jc.martin.author

    Oracle

As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability. 

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter. 

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Available wherever e-books are sold. Click on any of J.C.’s links throughout the post to learn more or pick up your copy today!

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About Hunter Shea

I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself. My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. 2014 will be busy, with my novella, The Waiting, and novel, Hell Hole coming out with Samhain, and my first thriller paperback, The Montauk Monster, with Pinnacle in June. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

8 responses to “Where Crime Meets Horror: Inside the Mind of a Killer”

  1. Clarissa Draper says :

    For me, the attraction to writing about serial killers or reading about them is because they are something I can’t understand. How can we relate to someone who feels no remorse nor has a conscience? Fascinating. And perhaps it’s because we fear these people who walk about in society and when they are captured in books, it somehow puts our minds at ease. Speculation only.

    • J.C. Martin says :

      I hear you on both points, although sometimes I find that understanding what makes a serial killer tick makes it all the more scary … if we understand them, could we be harbouring psychotic tendencies ourselves?

      Thanks for visiting Clarissa, and a big thanks to Hunter for hosting me!

  2. Psychopathy Writer says :

    I think it’s hugely important for people to understand psychopathy, as well as related disorders. And the entertainment and arts world has a role to play in that. Sometimes I think these worlds become part of the problem by sensationalizing these characters so that people begin to think of psychopaths and narcissists as very rare people that are all serial killers or some such stereotype.

    In reality, people with these conditions are much more common than we may realize and cause harm in many ways, including very subtle but influential ones.

    • J.C. Martin says :

      That’s a very good point. Was it the New Scientist that published an interesting article suggesting that most people in leadership positions (i.e. bosses) have psychopathic tendencies, hence their cold calculation, and lack of remorse and consideration for others’ feelings that make them good at their job?

      • Hunter Shea says :

        Speaking as a boss, I agree that we have psychopathic tendencies. LOL

      • Psychopathy Writer says :

        Actually there are a number of studies, as well as books and films communicating their findings, that have emerged converging around the conclusion that a significant percentage of people (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say “most”) in leadership positions may be psychopathic or have related conditions that reduce conscience and empathy. I discuss and link to many of these resources on the psychopathy page to which I’ve linked above.

        That page on psychopathy is part of a larger series and another page in the series is about ponerology, which is a scientific field devoted to studying these issues.

        So, in fact, J.C., there is a lot more involved than just one particular study. And there is a ton of fascinating material on the subject – and more coming out seemingly every week.

  3. the happy horror writer says :

    I just snagged The Doll for my Kindle. Not only does Hunter recommend it, but I enjoyed reading your guest post, J.C. I have a feeling I’ll be back for Oracle…

    To answer your question, the scariest thing about serial killers is their organization. The stricture of obsession or ritual makes for some tightly organized acts of crime. As someone who nearly adores efficiency, order, and neat steps to getting something done, it gives me the creeps to think I have something in common with psychopaths.

    A few years ago, I read the book Blindness by Saramago. This is marketed as literary, and has no serial killers in it. What it did have was a look at “normal” humans becoming monsters in abnormal situations. It is a different scenario, of course, but also supports the premise that you can’t look at the people in your life and know for certain what they are really, truly like in the darkness of their minds. That is some scary stuff!

    Nice to meet you, J.C.!

    And thanks for hosting, Hunter!

    -aniko

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