Serial Killers and Readers

Hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

If you’ll put up with a darker turn to the blog today, I want to introduce you to a new guest to my site. She’s the author of some deliciously dark fiction, and I can’t recommend her work highly enough. Today she shares some information with us that might make us a little uncomfortable. Or not. Totally not. She’s clearly talking about other people.

Wondering why I’m distancing myself so vociferously? Read on. Let’s give a warm welcome to Sue Coletta.

CleavedFor those who aren’t familiar with me or my books, I focus on serial killer thrillers/mysteries because I’m fascinated by why people kill. Serial killers top the list. Their psychopathy tends to differ from the average murderer.

There are numerous reasons behind why serial killers commit the acts they do, like taking trophies, torture, posing the bodies, contacting the police and media, and so on, but let’s focus on the classifications and categories and how your reading habits might align with theirs.

Classified by Motive

VISIONARIES (KILLERS): This type of killer hears voices that tell them to kill, and they’re usually schizophrenic and psychotic.

VISIONARIES (READERS): This type of reader hears the story in their head while they read, and can distinguish one character from another by the way they speak.

MISSIONARIES (KILLERS): This killer feels it’s his duty to rid society of scum, or those s/he deems unworthy of living.  They usually kill groups or societal classes such as prostitutes, homosexuals, or minorities.

MISSIONARIES (READERS): This reader feels it’s his or her duty to rid the world of bad books, or books s/he deems unworthy of gracing his/her bookshelf.

HEDONISTS OR THRILL-SEEKERS (KILLERS): They kill because they enjoy it.

HEDONISTS OR THRILL-SEEKERS (READERS): They read because they enjoy the emotional rollercoaster.

We further break down the Hedonist or Thrill-Seeker into three different sub-categories, even though there may be some cross-over:

  • LUST KILLERS: A killer who receives sexual gratification from murder. Their murders are generally sadistic.
  • LUST READERS: Umm…awkward! Let’s just say they read a lot of erotica and may have long-standing subscriptions of Playboy, Playgirl, and/or Hustler
  • GAIN KILLERS: Whether it be for an inheritance or insurance money, this type of murderer kills for personal gain. They will also rob their victim during the crime.
  • GAIN READERS: This type of reader only reviews books if the author is willing to do the same. Y’know, the strangers that message you on Facebook and beg you to swap reviews? Yeah, they’re the perfect example of Gain Readers.
  • POWER SEEKERS (KILLERS): Basically, they’re control freaks who kill to dominate their victims and/or law enforcement. They get off on controlling others
  • POWER SEEKERS (READERS): The author who poses as a reader to demand, “Buy this book!”

Classified by Mobility


  • Hunts and kills for an extended period of time in his community where he lives and/or works.
  • Dumps bodies in the same or similar area so he can return to visit the crime scene, unmarked grave, or dumpsite.
  • Seldom travels, but when he does it’s mainly for business, family, or vacation.


  • Loves to stroll the stacks at their local library and/or bookstore.
  • Might set their favorite book in a place of honor on the shelf to admire the cover from time to time. They’ll also revisit their favorite books to relive the experience of reading it for the first time.
  • Enjoys discovering new-to-them authors. Even if they don’t enjoy the book, they’ll read till the end.
  • Seldom travels, but when they do they pack several books and/or their Kindle.


  • Doesn’t often stay in one place for long. Often times, transient killers are the hardest to catch for this reason. The Zodiac killer would be classified as transient, for example.
  • Dumps bodies at random locations out of convenience rather than for a symbolic or personal reason.
  • Travels constantly, either for pleasure, business, or to confuse the police. He may also just like new, exciting hunting grounds.


  • Doesn’t often stay within one genre. This reader bounces between fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction, fan-fiction, and memoir.
  • They read so many books, they keep them heaped in piles or stuffed into drawers. Rarely do they pick a favorite.
  • Enjoys discovering new-to-them authors but more for the thrill of finding that next voice rather than the possibility of becoming a fan. Rarely will they read numerous books by a single author.
  • Will often dog-ear pages and scribble in the margins.

Two Types of Serial Killers/Readers


  • Methodical, cunning, quite amiable, and usually carries out his crime far from where he lives.
  • The crime scene he leaves behind often indicates planning and premeditation. He can be charismatic, so his victims often trust him.
  • The Organized Killer selects his victims by a type — blonde hair, blue eyes, that sort of thing.
  • A perfect example of an Organized Killer is Ted Bundy, who selected young, attractive co-eds and women, simi­lar in appearance. Because he was able to strike in highly visible areas, he obviously put time and effort into planning his abductions in advance.


  • Methodical about what they read. They choose their books carefully, because they’re in it for the long haul. When they find an author they love, they’ll read everything they write.
  • You’ll often find their bookshelves color-coded or aligned alphabetically. Or even, organized by emotion.
  • Their bookshelf is a dead-giveaway. Not one book out of place!
  • A perfect example of an Organized Reader is my host. Her bookshelves are adorned with treasured mementos.
  • An author’s dream reader.


  • Lacks cunning, has an aversion to society, and experiences difficulty in maintaining relationships.
  • As you can imagine, he’ll leave a crime scene in total chaos.
  • Even if s/he rehearsed the kill in advance, the excitement over actually acting out the fantasy shoots the plan to hell.


  • Lacks focus. May need to reread the same paragraph three times in order to absorb it.
  • As you can imagine, the Disorganized Reader will either have no bookshelves or they’ll leave books scattered on the floor.
  • Even if they’ve longed to read a certain book, the excitement over cracking the spine—and yes, they always crack the spines—will send them into an emotional tailspin.
  • They dog-ear pages. They fold or scribble on the covers. They may even tear the cover off their favorite books. *faints*

CleavedAs I said at the beginning of this post, I write about serial killers. In fact, my newest release, CLEAVED, has a particularly nasty killer who murders for a very specific reason. Pre-order to find out why.

CLEAVED Description:

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bond their family unit.

Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.

Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.


Keeps You Guessing… and Keeps You up at Night

CLEAVED, Sue Coletta’s sequel to MARRED, is somehow even better than the first installment. We get deeper into the heads and hearts of the characters while trying to make sense of all the clues.

It’s refreshing to see a couple portrayed so realistically. Sage and Niko are happily married, but the marriage isn’t new. Sure, the love is there. But they’re at the taking-for-granted stage, and that carelessness is one of the primary reasons the murderer is able to infiltrate their lives and wreak such havoc. Watching the characters accept their failings and move past their problems, back to the acknowledgement of that love, is possibly the strongest factor in solving the mystery. It also provides a pleasing and satisfying character arc for each of them.

Add to that drama the trials of one big secondary character, and the story takes on multiple layers of meaning and possibilities. The plots entwine in unsuspected ways, the character takes on a layer of complexity I didn’t think she had, and the decisions made are shocking. Seeing how this plays out in subsequent stories already has me waiting for the next installment.

Coletta has succeeded in weaving strange and original clues into a complex and compelling thriller that kept me frantically turning the pages even as I looked over my shoulder and jumped at noises that probably weren’t even there. This is a frightening thriller that keeps you guessing… and keeps you up at night.

Highly recommended.

Sue ColettaBIO:

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is a multi-published author in numerous anthologies, and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show Partners In Crime on Writestream Radio Network. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

Sue lives in northern New Hampshire, surrounded by the sultry songs of nature. Bears, moose, deer, even mountain lions have been spotted around her property. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with the wildlife, but her husband frowns on the idea.

Grafton County Series

Connect with Sue on social media:

Website | Blog |
Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon


Grab your copies of CLEAVED and MARRED:

  • Universal link for CLEAVED, Book 2 in the Grafton County Series. Pre-order for 99¢.
  • Universal link for MARRED, Book 1 in the Grafton County Series


Well, there you have it. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned when my bookshelves came into question (yes, I do in fact have books organized by ROY G BIV rules as well as by type), but I don’t think I came off as a danger to society. (Phew!)

What about you guys? Do you identify with any of the reader-types above? (I’m just going to assume none of us identifies with the killer-types. If you do, please don’t tell me.) Let’s talk about it below.


29 thoughts on “Serial Killers and Readers

  1. What a fun post, you know in a creepy moody kind of way. I’ll wreck Staci’s theory about being methodical. I’m all over the board with my reading. Speculative genres, westerns, adventure, thriller. I’m more of a howl at the moon crazy reader type.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very clever post, Sue! This was really well done.

    I think I am an organized, stable reader with a bit of transient thrown is (because I read over so many genres including non-fiction). I do like discovering new authors but I won’t stick with a book if it doesn’t grab me within a few chapters.

    Of course, that wasn’t the case with Marred or Cleaved, and I highly recommend both to anyone who hasn’t read them yet!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I waver between being a stable and organized reader. I have favorite authors and I know I’ll enjoy their books. At the same time, I like to branch out and discover new (to me) authors. I have Marred on my ever growing TBR list. Enjoyed your post today, Sue!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am clearly an organized, stable, hedonist reader. I read for the sake of living new lives vicariously, my bookshelves are organized by genre and authors and even if I like many genres, I’m loyal to the authors I love. Oh…and there are a few favourites I keep rereading (read Jane Austen novels and Harry Potter).

    I have always had an interest in crime, that’s why I end up studying forensic chemistry, and I read a lot about serial killers (both true and fictional) when I was in high school.
    Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one obsessing over my bookshelves!

      Are you incorporating your chemistry background into your novels? I can’t say I’ve read many novels with chemists in them. Certainly not as the hero. I know you’ve been working hard on your novel. I can’t wait to hear more about it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The main male character in Secrets of a Handbag is a chemist, but chemistry isn’t exactly the focus in this novel.
        However I like to play with science and writing. In my other WIP, Undercover, the main characters are a new kind of human created in laboratory make humankind stronger.


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