A New Kind of Monster: The Secret Life and Shocking True Crimes of an Officer . . . and a Murderer by Timothy Appleby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a hard book to review. The story was told well and thoroughly, especially the attempts to explain the reason for Col. Russell Williams to exchange a super successful life for the life of a serial rapist and murderer. The example of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fits best, but even in Stevenson’s book there was a cause. Col. Williams was at the top of an extremely successful career. He was a brilliant pilot who had risen to the most prestigious position in the Canadian Air Force. He had flown dignitaries, including the Queen of England. He commanded an Air Force base. He had a successful and happy marriage. He was a mentor to those below him and respected by everyone who worked with him. Suddenly, he began breaking into neighbors’ houses to steal lingerie after taking scores of pictures of himself wearing these articles while he was there. From there he escalated to serial rapist and murder in less than a year. Why would someone who was at the top of his game turn into a sexual sadist with no history of criminal or deviant behavior before the age of 44?
The author has done a good job of explaining the facts and reporting the speculations of psychologists, law officials and the military as to the cause of his abrupt change, but no explanation could be found. For some reason, Williams was able to compartmentalize his life in such a way as to be two completely opposite people. In doing so, he betrayed the trust of his neighbors, his family, the military who had honored him and his country. Because of the circumstances, this is one of the most interesting true crime books I have read since The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule.
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