Psychopaths Among Us Part 1
I recently read and reviewed an advance copy of Diane Capri’s terrific new thriller (after Don’t Know Jack) featuring a chillingly accurate villain. Fatal Distraction was released on 5/24 and is already climbing to the top of the charts garnering more rave reviews.
Fatal Distraction introduces Jess Kimball, a relentless investigative columnist with a tragic past in the style of Dominick Dunne, on the trail of a cunning Florida killer who’s targeted Florida’s first woman governor, Helen Sullivan. Helen and Jess together face the determined killer in a pitched battle of wit and nerve. Who will survive? Here’s what I said in my review:
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, Scary Read, May 19, 2012
This review is from: Fatal Distraction (Kindle Edition)
Normally, I read romance, but Ms. Capri’s thrillers are slowly pulling me over to the dark side. <vbg>
Fatal Distraction was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I couldn’t put it down. Looking into the mind and heart of a psychopath is always frightening and Ms. Capri does a good job of keeping the reader on the edge of her seat. She clearly shows the logic and reasoning of a twisted mind. Pitting him against an intelligent and driven reporter and a smart female governor is putting a flame to tinder and it’s always fiery.
Tight plotting and Ms Capri’s typical well developed characters make this book a compelling read.
After I posted my review of the book, Diane and I began a fascinating conversation about psychopaths among us. The more we talked, the more we discovered. We’ve broken the conversation into two parts. This is part one and we’ll post part two next time. Come listen in:
Louise Behiel: I loved your book, Diane. Your villain is one of the most realistically portrayed psychopaths I’ve seen in popular culture. What inspired you to write about a psychopath and how did you create him so realistically?
Diane Capri: Ideas that grow into novels for me often begin with something I don’t even notice at first. But it comes up and later grabs my emotions in a way that makes me realize a good story lives there. That’s what happened with Fatal Distraction.
Louise Behiel: What was that?
Diane Capri: At a dinner party, someone mentioned that a retired homicide detective we knew had recently died. We began reminiscing about him and the most notorious unsolved case he’d investigated decades earlier involving a local killer with multiple victims. He was dubbed The Oakland County Child Killer. Although the investigation was the largest in U.S. history at the time, it ended abruptly when he simply stopped abducting and killing children.
Louise Behiel: That’s very odd for a psychopath and multiple killer. Once they start, they rarely stop.
Diane Capri: No one knew why he stopped. At the time, people speculated that he’d actually been killed himself, or sent to prison for another crime, or maybe just moved on to another state or country. The case haunted our friend until he passed away, though. He always believed they’d find the killer.
Louise Behiel: But they never did?
Diane Capri: *shakes head* The conversation continued to nag at me. Why did he kill? How could he just stop after so many victims? What kind of killer does that? I began research into that question and the answer came soon enough: a true psychopath. Then, the real chill started. I can feel it again as we’re talking here.
Louise Behiel: Why?
Diane Capri: Because I realized I’d seen this behavior up close and personal several times. A true psychopath coldly kills or steals or lies or cheats in a way normal people don’t behave. Because a true psychopath simply has no conscience. None at all. He never feels guilt or shame or remorse. Ever. For anything.
Louise Behiel: Now you’re giving me chills!
Diane Capri: Sorry! One of the things I learned doing the research for Fatal Distraction was that not all killers are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are killers. In your therapy practice, have you treated psychopaths?
Louise Behiel: I don’t come into contact with psychopaths who are killers (thank heavens). But psychopaths are all around us. My clients are often in relationship with them, either at work or at home. Psychopaths constitute about 4% of the population, so no doubt we’ve all met one or two of them.
Diane Capri: Can you give us some common examples?
Louise Behiel: How often have you worked for a ‘jerk’ boss? A person who didn’t care about anyone but him or herself? Ever been in a relationship with someone (male or female) who is arrogant, self-centered and lives with a sense of entitlement? Whose entire life is directed toward self–gratification? Lying, cheating, and stealing are common with psychopaths. When this is combined with charm and ingratiation, psychopaths can fool even the wisest among us. They just don’t care about the rights, property or safety of others and have no remorse or guilt over their actions. Remember, they will step over you or on you to achieve their goals and they won’t give their behavior a moment’s thought, except to celebrate achieving their goals.
Diane Capri: But what motivates them to engage in such behaviors?
Louise Behiel: Psychopaths get incredible pleasure and satisfaction from humiliating, demeaning, dominating and/or hurting others. What is most confusing is that they pass for normal in our lives. So sometimes, when you think a person is taking advantage of you and playing games, they might well be.
That’s all we have time for in this post. But join us next time when we’ll cover much more about the Psychopaths Among Us in Part Two. In the meantime, tell us about psychopaths you’ve known? We’ll tell you about the ones we’ve met next time.