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The Will To Kill
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The Will To Kill
Making Sense of Senseless Murder

Fifth Edition
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Other Titles in:
Homicide | Sociology | Violent Crime

April 2018 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“Written in an engaging manner that challenges critical thinking throughout, the text is very readable and balances providing facts grounded in research with case examples.”
—Minna Cirino, Shenandoah University

Now with SAGE Publishing, The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder explores extraordinary and seemingly inexplicable cases of homicide—not to sensationalize them—but to educate students about these crimes. Authored by renowned experts, the Fifth Edition places recent crimes in context by reviewing current homicide laws, introducing the latest theories that seek to explain murder, and presenting up-to-date statistical data that identify homicide patterns and trends. Students develop a foundational understanding of a variety of topics, for example, domestic and workplace homicide, cult and hate killings, murders committed by juveniles, and serial slayings. Students also examine various criminal justice responses to homicide, including the strategies and tactics employed to apprehend, prosecute, and punish killers. 

New to the Fifth Edition

  • Up-to-date research and data offers students the latest statistics on homicide patterns and trends in recent years. 
  • New illustrative cases cover various forms of homicide, focusing on crimes that drew significant interest from the public and policymakers alike and provide students with unique insights into violent behavior.   
  • Updated coverage of recent controversies, legislative changes, and Supreme Court decisions includes heightened concern over mass shootings, hate-motivated homicide and terrorism; new laws, shifting policies, and Supreme Court rulings pertaining to gun rights, juvenile offenders and the death penalty; and advances in surveillance technology, computer-aided investigation, and DNA forensic testing. 
  • Early introduction of theories helps students to understand the definition of homicide/homicide laws before developing a theoretical framework to explain violence. 

Instructors: Sign in at study.sagepub.com/fox for access to curated content contributed by the text’s authors, including links to articles and opinion pieces written by the authors.

 
 
About the Authors
 
Preface
 
CHAPTER 1: The Lure and the Law of Homicide
Fascination with Murder

 
Selling Evil

 
Homicide Law

 
Murder

 
First-Degree Murder

 
Second-Degree Murder

 
Manslaughter

 
Defenses to Criminal Homicide

 
Justifiable Homicides by Police and Citizens

 
Excuses for Homicide and Diminished Capacity

 
Homicide Law in Practice

 
 
CHAPTER 2: The Killers and Their Victims
Race Differences

 
Gender Differences

 
Age Differences

 
Differences by Location

 
The Role of Firearms

 
Changing Patterns in Homicide

 
Chicken Little and the Ferguson Defect

 
Breaking the Mold

 
 
CHAPTER 3: Explaining the Will to Kill
The Devil Made Me do it

 
Back to the Classics

 
Using Science to Explain Violence

 
Early Biological Explanations of Criminal Behavior

 
Modern Biosocial Theory and Neurocriminology

 
The Human Brain

 
This Is Your Brain on Drugs

 
Genetics

 
Killer Instincts?

 
The Future of Biological Explanations of Homicidal Behavior

 
Psychological Explanations

 
Psychosis

 
Sociopaths, Psychopaths, and Personality Disorders

 
Freud and Psychoanalysis

 
Evolutionary Psychology

 
Personality Traits

 
Paraphilias

 
IQ and Crime

 
The Social Sources of Murder

 
Social Disorganization

 
Strain, Frustration, and Murder

 
Cultural Deviance

 
Learning to Kill

 
Self-Control, Social Control, and Murder

 
Labeling Theory

 
Integrated Theories

 
A Word of Caution About Cause

 
 
CHAPTER 4: Intimate and Family Murder
Killing for Profit and Practicality

 
Obsession and Jealousy

 
Power, Control, and Abuse

 
Family Annihilation

 
Murder for Love

 
Murder-Suicide

 
Parricide

 
Filicide

 
Infanticide

 
Motherhood by Proxy

 
Prevention and Response

 
 
CHAPTER 5: The Young and the Ruthless
An “Epidemic” of Youth Homicide

 
Explaining the 1990s Decline

 
Principles of Prevention

 
Dial M for Media

 
Juveniles in the Adult System

 
Looking Ahead

 
 
CHAPTER 6: Well-Schooled in Murder
The Risk of School Homicide

 
Copycat Shootings

 
Adult School Shooters

 
Explaining School Massacres

 
Blaming Parents

 
Fear Factor

 
Threatening Words and Warning Signs

 
Responses to School Shootings

 
Overprotection

 
Healthy and Safe Schools

 
On to College

 
 
CHAPTER 7: Serial Killers
The Many Forms of Serial Killing

 
Deceiving Appearances

 
Prevalence and Trends

 
Characteristics of Serial Killers

 
Victims of Serial Murder

 
Killing Together

 
Beyond U.S. Borders

 
The Murdering Mind

 
Explanations for Serial Murder

 
Biological Factors

 
Childhood Factors

 
 
CHAPTER 8: Medical Murder and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Counting Medical Murders

 
Healthcare Murders Globally

 
Motives and Types of Medical Murderers

 
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

 
Administrative Facilitators and Failures

 
Prevention and Intervention

 
Looking Ahead

 
 
CHAPTER 9: Rampage
Mass Murder

 
Methodical and Selective

 
The Role of Firearms

 
 
Indiscriminate Massacres
 
Targeting a Category of Victims
Getting Even Through Murder

 
Losses and Frustrations

 
Profile of the Workplace Avenger

 
Preventing Murders by Disgruntled Employees and Customers

 
 
CHAPTER 10: Hate Homicides
Characteristics of Hate Homicide

 
Types of Hate Homicide

 
Thrill Hate Crimes

 
Defensive Hate Crimes

 
Retaliatory Hate Crimes

 
Mission Hate Crimes

 
Organized Hate Groups

 
The Role of the Military

 
Current State of Hate Crime Laws

 
 
CHAPTER 11: Murderous Terror
Hate Homicide and Domestic Terrorism

 
International Terrorism

 
The Rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)

 
Terrorism in Europe

 
Homegrown Terrorism

 
American Muslims and Domestic Terrorism

 
Left-Wing vs. Right-Wing Terrorists

 
Single-Issue Terrorism

 
The Impact of Murderous Terror

 
Reducing Murderous Terrorism

 
 
CHAPTER 12: Cult Killings
Dangerous Cults

 
The Appeal of Cults

 
Charismatic Leaders and Their Followers

 
Needs Fulfilled by Cults

 
Normal People in Abnormal Situations

 
Suicide or Homicide?

 
 
CHAPTER 13: Catching Killers
Science of the Lambs

 
Forensic Applications of DNA

 
Technological Advances

 
Forensic Error

 
Clearance Rates

 
Investigating Challenging Homicide Cases

 
ViCAP

 
NamUs

 
Behavioral Profiling

 
Geographic Profiling

 
Sightings and Visions

 
Working a Homicide in the Media Spotlight

 
 
CHAPTER 14: Getting Away with Murder, or Not
The Insanity Defense

 
The Insanity Defense in Practice

 
Revelations Under Hypnosis

 
Capital Punishment

 
The Deterrence Debate

 
Race and the Death Penalty

 
Other Issues Surrounding the Death Penalty

 
Juvenile Injustice

 
 
Epilogue: Epidemic Thinking and Overresponse
 
Index

Supplements

Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to curated content contributed by the text’s authors provide instructors with additional resources to use during their lectures.

The Will to Kill offers a good introduction to trends and types of murder in America. The text is affordable for students, and it is written in an engaging manner that is interesting for students to read. The text is solidly grounded in research, but written in a manner that is appealing to wider audience, really for any person curious to learn about homicide.”

Minna Cirino
Shenandoah University

The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder provides an overall well-rounded approach to the discussion of various types of homicide and the motivations behind them. Writing style is fluent and readable. This text uses numerous examples of killers which makes it both shocking and enjoyable for students to read.”

Emily Strohacker
University of Central Florida

“There are a number of texts available but I use The Will to Kill because of the breadth of subjects it covers and the positive feedback I have received from students…The breadth of topics covered is an important strength of the text. The use of interesting cases to illustrate points makes the text very enjoyable to read. The text includes a lot of the research on the topics in a way that still holds the readers interest.”

Clete Snell
University of Houston Downtown

The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder is a comprehensive text which describes different types of homicides within a limited frame. There are numerous aspects of homicide and it is difficult to compose all these various aspects within one book. The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder has successfully completed this difficult task.”

Dr. Fatematul Jannat
Delta State University

“I selected this book because of the reputation of the authors and because the book does a good job of breaking homicide into meaningful portions without becoming too repetitive.”

Edward L. Powers
University of Central Arkansas

“Very easy to read and comprehend.”

Alecia Schmidt
Missouri Valley College

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Lure and the Law of Homicide

Chapter 7: Serial Killers


Preview this book

James Alan Fox

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University. He has published 18 books, dozens of journal and magazine articles, as well as hundreds of freelance columns in newspapers around the country, primarily in the areas of multiple murder, youth crime, school and campus violence, workplace violence, and capital punishment. As a member of its Board of Contributors, his opinion column appears frequently in USA TODAY.  Fox often gives keynote talks and testimony before Congress and in criminal and civil court proceedings. He has briefed various leaders here and abroad, and has... More About Author

Jack Levin

Jack Levin is the Brudnick Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at Northeastern University, where he co-directs its Center on Violence and Conflict. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 books, most recently The Violence of Hate and Hate Crime: A Global Perspective. Dr. Levin has also published more than 250 articles and columns in professional journals, books, magazines, and newspapers, such as The New York Times, London Sunday Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and USA Today.  Dr. Levin was honored by the Massachusetts... More About Author

Kenna Quinet

Kenna Quinet is an associate professor of criminal justice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She is also a certified medico-legal death investigator and Deputy Coroner at the Marion County Coroner’s Office. Her research interests include homicide, missing persons, causes of death, unidentified and unclaimed dead. Quinet teaches homicide courses as well as an animal rights course at IUPUI and she has won more than 15 teaching awards. Since 1992 she has worked closely with law enforcement, provided more than 80 media interviews, does cold case homicide... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781506365961
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