978-0-7434-4880-2 / 9780743448802

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About the book:

The Internet has made many enterprises easier since its rise to popularity in the mid-90s: book sales, personal correspondence, and, in the case of John Robinson, serial murder. Even before he ever went online, Robinson had forged a life consistent with a killer's profile. Despite being fired and arrested numerous times for fraud and theft, he wriggled out of serious trouble thanks to a smooth charm and cunning intelligence. For decades, Robinson's more sinister activities escaped the notice of nearly everyone, including law enforcement and, incredibly, his own wife. But what makes Robinson's story, as told here by John Douglas and Stephen Singular, uniquely disturbing is the presence of the World Wide Web and the ease with which a murderer can use it. Online, Robinson frequented chat rooms and sites dedicated to the lurid underground world of bondage and sadomasochism. In this anonymous space, he was free to assume honey-tongued new identities that he used to lure women, especially those in vulnerable situations, to Kansas with promises of employment, protection, or sex. Their subsequent disappearances were explained away with letters that appeared to be written by the victims but were actually typed by the killer on pieces of paper the women had previously signed. Ultimately, dogged law enforcement officials were able to catch up with Robinson and put him on trial after finding gruesome evidence of his deeds. While they are skilled true-crime writers, Douglas and Singular occasionally stray into hyperbole, which is far from necessary given the elements already present in Robinsons horrifying story. It is likely that any reader will walk a little more warily by their computer after reading this book and getting an idea of who might be hiding behind a given nickname. --John Moe

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