“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Geography Of Murder

The Penguin interweb thingy is hosting a fascinating essay by Ingrid Black to mark the publication of THE JUDAS HEART, in which the delectable Ms Black (right) delves into the dark art of ‘geographical profiling’ as a tool for tracking killers, to wit:
“The obsession with geography which inevitably grips any crime writer who claims a city as their own and tries to stamp their own personality on it is not mere self-indulgence or authorly vanity, though. It’s an essential counterpart to what the killer, that invisible and unknown protagonist who haunts the pages of every crime novel – the ghost in the machine of the narrative, as it were – does too. The only person who knows the city as well as the detective is the perpetrator. They match their knowledge of the city one against another. Killers have an intimate and profound relationship with landscape. Think of Jack the Ripper, the Moors Murderers, the Green River Killer, or Moscow’s so-called “Chessboard Killer” who lured all his 50-plus victims to Bitsevsky Park in the city after dark. What strange synchronicity must they all have felt to those dangerous places? Mapping the connections between an offender and the space through which he moves and in which he operates is the ultimate aim of geographical profiling, which, whilst lesser known than the psychological profiling made famous in such films as Silence Of The Lambs, is increasingly being used by police to identify possible suspects.”
So – the Big Question: which fictional killer do you – yes, YOU! – most closely associate with his or her killing ground?

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