Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer by Hannes Råstam

On the jacket:

'I wonder what you'd think of me if you found out that I've done something really serious . . .'

So begin the confessions of Thomas Quick - Scandinavia's most notorious serial killer.

In 1992, behind the barbed wire fence of a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, Thomas Quick confessed to the murder of an eleven-year-old boy who had been missing for twelve years. Over the next nine years, Quick confessed to more than thirty unsolved murders, revealing he had maimed, raped and eaten the remains of his victims.

In the years that followed, a fearless investigative journalist called Hannes Råstam became obsessed with Quick's case. He studied the investigations in forensic detail. He scrutinised every interrogation, read and re-read the verdicts, watched the police re-enactments and tracked down the medical records and personal police logs - until finally he was faced with a horrifying uncertainty.

In the spring of 2008, Råstam travelled to where Thomas Quick was serving a life sentence. He had one question for Sweden's most abominable serial killer. And the answer turned out to be far more terrifying than the man himself . . .


The Making of a Serial Killer by Hannes Råstam is probably the craziest of stories that have come from Sweden. Right from page one, Råstam has the reader hooked and with the level of writing only a journalist can achieve.

A story about a psychiatric patient who confessed to 30 murders across Norway and Sweden and rose to immediate fame. There was some doubt about these murders and here is where Råstam steps in to find out the truth. A story of a man who is deeply troubled and the authorities have not been able to help him either. 

Very well-researched and nicely documented, Råstam takes the reader through the research and has us glued to it. There are times when you are sure Thomas Quick (Sture Bergwall) did do all those murders. At other points, one wonders if he just confessed to get media attention. Only to find out how disturbed the man is. 

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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