Book Review of the Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder

By Webb, Patrick | International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, July-December 2012 | Go to article overview

Book Review of the Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder


Webb, Patrick, International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences


Book Review of The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder

The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder. Fourth Edition. (2012) James Fox, Jack Levin, and Kenna Quinet, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 288 Pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-13-137567-3

There is a vast amount of textbooks associated with a number of critical aspects within the discipline of criminal justice. From a fundamental standpoint, a few of these publications offer a comprehensive look into the role of policing (Policing America: Challenges & Best Practices, 7th Edition; Peak, 2012 or Law Enforcement in the 21st Century; Grant & Terry, 2004), others examine various aspects related to law (Basic Criminal Law: The Constitution, Procedure, and Crimes, 3rd Edition; Davenport, 2012) and the significance of probation and parole (Probation and Parole: Theory and Practice, 11th Edition; Abadinsky, 2012).

Within the arena of criminal justice textbooks, a number of books are related exclusively to the commission of certain offenses. This includes a wide range of crimes that may include computer crimes (Digital Crime, Digital Terrorism, 2nd Edition; Taylor, Fritsch, Liederbach, & Holt, 2011), white-collar crime (Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society, 4th Edition; Friedrichs, 2010), and gangs (Youth Gangs in American Society, 3rd Edition; Sheldon, Tracy, & Brown, 2004). A few textbooks have explored the existence of certain criminal acts that may be considered a growing epidemic during the past few years. This includes, but is not limited to human trafficking (The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today; Bales & Soodalter, 2009) and identity theft(Economics of Identity Theft: Avoidance, Causes and Possible Cures; Camp, 2010). Finally, there is text that that is associated with a crime that is both universal and constant; the act of killing.

In The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder, Fourth Edition, Fox, Levin, and Quinet explore the various circumstances associated with the act of homicide. This includes contextual factors associated with theories, trends, and legislative policies. In addition, they also examine the extent of homicide within a number of settings as well as the numerous responses enacted by the criminal justice system.

Specifically, their text examines:

* the fascination and legal aspects associated with homicide

* various rationales associated with homicidal behavior

* the characteristics of perpetrators and victims of homicide

* the social dynamics of homicide within intimate and family relationships

* the occurrence of homicide committed by youth

* the rationale and prevention of homicide within school settings

* the extent and motives of serial killers

* the factors associated with homicide committed by medical practitioners

* homicidal behavior within the context of mass murder

* instances of homicide motivated by hate

* the extreme instances of homicide through the acts of terrorism

* homicidal occurrences within the context of cult activities

* the apprehension of individuals accused of engaging in homicidal behavior

* the perception of failure within the criminal justice system in relation to those accused of homicide

In chapter 1, titled "The Lure and the Law of Homicide," the authors present a number of reasons (i.e., individual, cultural, etc.) which attempt to explain the public's general fascination with homicide. This includes a growing trend within media towards the glorification of homicidal behavior (i.e., murderers, etc.). Various legal distinctions associated with homicide are discussed in detail, this includes the terms murder and manslaughter. Finally, the authors identify a number of factors related to the legal defenses associated with the act of homicide as well as the various factors (i.e., cultural, political, etc.) relevant with the practical use of homicide law. …

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