Book Review: The Lust for Blood

While much has been written about the minds and deeds of serial killers and other violent offenders, little attention has been given to the reasons for why the average person is drawn, sometimes almost against their will and certainly their better judgment to scenes of devastation. This book seeks to explain why perfectly normal people are captivated by fatal accidents, fights, watching scary movies and other horrific sights. Through a series of interviews with closet gore fans, murderers, psychologists and other health care professionals, Kottler offers some interesting insights into the reasons for our fascination with mayhem. He sheds light onto the rational behind staging the massive Coliseum bloodfests during Roman times and draws parallels with contemporary equivalents such as professional football and hockey. Kottler shows how evolution might have played a part in developing this response to horrific events and further, explains why we need not be afraid of our attraction.

Approachable, well researched, but never dry and filled with Kottler’s up close and personal observations into his own responses to violence and gore, this book plumbs the human psyche while showing how our attraction can act as an important safety valve. There is something for everyone here, whether you are a true-crime or gorefest buff, working in a media related field or simply interested in knowing more about why humans work the way we do this thoughtful, well presented work sheds light on an under researched facet of our behavior.


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