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Extreme Killing

Extreme Killing
Understanding Serial and Mass Murder

Fifth Edition

April 2023 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Accessibly written, yet analytically rich, Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, is renowned for its fascinating examination of historical and contemporary serial and mass murder. Authors and experts in the field, James Alan Fox, Jack Levin, and Emma Fridel, bring their years of research to bear in this fascinating analysis of serial, multiple, and mass murder. They examine the theories of criminal behavior and apply them to a multitude of tragic events that involve hate crimes, killings at religious services, music festivals, and school shootings. 

This Fifth Edition is filled with contemporary and classic case studies and has been updated to include coverage of controversial issues such as gun control and mental illness, the role of high-powered weapons in mass shootings, and the distinction between serial and mass murder. 

Part I Multiple Murder
Chapter 1: America’s Fascination with Multiple Murder
Chapter 2: Defining Multiple Murder
Chapter 3: Theories of Multiple Homicide
Part II Serial Murder
Chapter 4: An Anatomy of Serial Murder
Chapter 5: With Deliberation and Purpose
Chapter 6: Partners in Murder
Chapter 7: Killing for Company
Chapter 8: Fantasyland
Chapter 9: The Making of a Serial Killer
Chapter 10: Nonsexual Control
Chapter 11: Killing Cults
Chapter 12: Catching Serial Killers
Part III Mass Murder
Chapter 13: Mass Murder Facts
Chapter 14: For Love, Money or Revenge
Chapter 15: Family Annihilation
Chapter 16: Firing Back
Chapter 17: Well-Schooled in Mass Murder
Chapter 18: Fighting City Hall
Chapter 19: Hate-Motivated Mass Murder
Chapter 20: Terror as Tactic
Chapter 21: Going Berserk
Chapter 22: Weapons of Mass (Murder) Destruction
Part IV Aftermath
Chapter 23: Coping with Tragedy
Chapter 24: Postscript

Useful breakdown of chapters that parallel taught content.

Miss Sarah Louise Nelson
Health and Social Sciences, University Centre Grimsby
August 14, 2023
Key features


  • Expanded examination of media coverage and evidence regarding contagion and copycat effects.
  • Discussion of the distinction between serial and mass murder based primarily on the timing rather than motivation.
  • Looking at victim count threshold for defining serial and mass murder.
  • Exploration of the role of high-powered weapons in mass shootings.
  • Discussion of the nexus between psychiatric disorders and mass murder.
  • Updated coverage of indiscriminate public massacres, terrorist attacks, hate crimes, and school shootings—as well as hotly debated issues such as gun control and mental illness reflects the growing concern around certain types of multiple homicide.

  • The book’s authors are world-renowned experts in the field of multiple homicide and they provide in-depth, accessible analysis of critical topics.
  • An engaging writing style and a multitude of interesting case studies immerse students in the book’s content.
  • Photos of offenders and crime scenes bring concepts to life.
  • Up-to-date statistics and figures characterize patterns and trends in extreme killing.

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