Cover Image: Behold the Monster

Behold the Monster

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Member Reviews

While Samuel Little is a very interesting subject for true crime fans, i felt that Lauren was too personally present in this book, especially in her attempts to connect with Little and his family members or the families of the victims.
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This book was enjoyable. It took me awhile to get into it and I put it down a few times. 
However, about halfway through I got into it and found it enjoyable. 
Thank you
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I have heard of serial killer, Sam Little but not in this context and with so much detail. I loved how the author presented each victim and told each of their stories. I loved how they were constantly named throughout the book as well as all the states he traveled. It was also interesting to hear her interactions with him while he was in jail, what that looked like and the details surrounding his passing. I love her true crime writing and would be interested in reading more true crime from her.
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(Full disclosure- I finished this book months ago without writing a review for online use, so the book is not fresh in my head). 

This book is a book about a serial killer I have never heard about, Samuel Lewis. He is considered the most prolific killer in the US.  He’s an evil, devious man as all serial killers are. 

The writing was clear and easy to understand. 

I did no care about the book being of multiple parts/viewpoints, subjects being bounced around and it felt like several books within a book to me. I did not feel as emotionally connected to this biography as I have been reading about other victims in the past. I found it disturbing to hear that Lewis considered her a friend and his next of kin, and I believe this affected her writing a great deal.
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Engaging and immersive. This is a recommended purchase for collections where true crime and thrillers are popular.
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If true crime fascinates you,  then this book is for you.   Jillian Lauren has terrifyingly brought the most prolific serial killer to life.  She describes the victims and the killer so well it will make you cringe.   The horrors that Samuel Little committed will break your heart and at the same time,  make you angry.   How did it take so long for him to be caught?  I can say,  hands down,  Jillian Lauren is probably one of the best writers I've came across.   She gives so much attention to detail.    This book is extremely well written, even if the subject give you nightmares.   

Thank you to NetGalley,  Jillian Lauren and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Behold the Monster: Confronting America's Most Prolific Serial Killer by Jillian Lauren is a true crime book that may interest fans of this genre. The serial killer and his victims are portrayed quite vividly. The murders themselves are realistically portrayed and may be too much for some. The absolute horror and depravity of this serial killer is clear. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Selling Pitch:   
Under no circumstances do I think you should read this book because I do not think this author deserves to profit from publishing this. 

This is one of the most abhorrent pieces of literature masquerading as journalism. It’s hateful, offensive, and disrespectful to the victims and everyone involved in this case.

The author imagines a serial killer’s victims’ last moments and writes it like it’s erotica. 

I love a true crime book. 

Thick of it:
That is a longggg victim list, jesus. 

Ooo, a map. 

I’m a narcissist reading books about my name lol



I don’t think I like this book. Why are we making the killing sexy and imagining the victims' thoughts and feelings?

I get that she’s trying to write from the serial killer’s perspective, but it feels exceptionally disrespectful to his victims. 

That’s not exactly true for genetics. Or it’s explained in a way that’s trying to be conversational and accessible, but accidentally makes it incorrect.



Is that legal to do? To use his Walmart card like that?

I feel like there’s so much unnecessary descriptive detail that I don’t know who is who anymore.

I really don’t like the way she’s covering this case. She’s like sensationalizing and hero-worshiping a killer, or at least that’s how it’s coming across. Also, she’s making it about herself. Like I know you did the interviews, honey, but this isn’t about you. Why are you telling us about your period? It comes across like you’re bragging that he noticed you, that he paid attention to you. That’s gross. You don’t want his attention. He’s a gross human being. He’s not even a human being.

She’s gross I do not like her. Why on earth are you acting like a servant to a serial killer? That is not something to be proud of. I don’t care that you got a story. How could you debase yourself like that? It’s very pick me. Congratulations, you know how to make a man want you by showing him that you’re nothing. That’s gross.

Why does she hate other women so much? What’s wrong with you? 

Even that description-they’re cops doing their jobs and she’s like their brainy, bookend brunettes. What’s wrong with you? It’s objectifying women. It’s reducing them solely to their looks and their stereotypes. It’s playing to the male gaze. Who the fuck do you think is reading this book?

Did this audiobook just say that word?  It’s like def a white lady who wrote this and like def a white lady narrating this. That is so bad. This isn’t using it in an academic setting. She’s just giving random dialogue that she invented. What the fuck. 

How are you gonna describe her death and victim blame her in the same breath?

I hate this book. This is the least objective, most offensive true crime book I have ever read. 

If I didn’t have to review this for an arc, I would dnf. This book cannot be redeemed. I don’t care what I end up learning from it. The way in which the information has been presented is completely unacceptable.

I think this is the first book I've read that has talked about epigenetics for laypeople. (Granted, I don’t read much nonfiction.)


What does she mean wolf blue? Wolves can’t have blue eyes I thought?

Again, this is all imagined. There’s no factual basis for these conversations, and she chose to do women hating women.

This book is so sexist and hateful.

It’s such a popular thing amongst serial killers where they’re raised by their grandparents as their real parents, while their actual parents masquerade as their siblings. That’s so odd to me. 

Oop and reform school for more sexual abuse gr8. 

I genuinely dread picking this book up. It has taken me months to get through it. I do not want to read it. I think I need to just start forcing myself through like three chapters a day.


It's like she describes everyone like she thinks they're beneath her. Like she's trying to shame them. I'm sure she claims she's just being honest and humanizing them, but it comes across as stereotyping and racist.

I never really thought about bugs going to the damp spots first. So those necrophiliacs are literally covering their dicks in bugs. Ew. (I like that the bug fucking is grosser to me than the corpse fucking. Like those are some fucked up priorities, Samantha.) 

This book is indecipherable. It's such an information overload with no structure. You can’t tell what's actually relevant and what's not. There are too many author-inserted opinions and anecdotes. 

Oh my god, that sentence is so unbelievably inappropriate. It feels like she's trying to insult a serial killer, but she's just being racist wtf?

She is so rude to other women. 

I just-why do you think it's okay to imagine these women’s last moments? And if you do wanna go under the guise of storytelling, why would you then craft a story that makes it come across that you feel like they deserve to be murdered for their actions? What's wrong with you. 

I'm trying so hard to get through this, but I hate it so much.

Jean sucks.

You can't call this man largely nonviolent when he's literally a boxer and beating his girlfriends nearly to death.

Mother and whore are not opposites, you slut shaming hypocrite. 

I like the space cowboy cop, and I completely understand why he doesn’t like her. 

Like why is it necessary to describe this man only as his skin condition? He’s literally just doing his job and helping you. 

That doesn’t read that you’re mad that he’s using rough language. Which I don’t understand how you could be mad because you were also using rough language. It reads like you’re upset that he doesn’t find you pretty.

These women have names. Maybe stop using the serial killer’s nicknames for them throughout your book. It’s not a cute stylistic choice. It’s just disrespectful to them.

Here’s what really bothers me about this book- she’s aware enough to recognize that these victims’ cases weren’t solved because people viewed them as less than human, but then she continues to treat them as less than human. 

Except you did just write a book about how pretty and “good” you are. 

Does the dog die dot com? 

The dog does die

So you got a cliché pinup tattoo and you keep a murderer’s ashes in your garage that you pulled your sick son out of school to go pick up. Gr8.

This is one of the most abhorrent pieces of literature masquerading as journalism. It’s hateful, offensive, and disrespectful to the victims and everyone involved in this case. It is incoherent in its narrative organization. It is not charmingly irreverent. It is self-indulgent and self-important. I don’t think anyone should read this. This is written by a white lady. Narrated by a white lady. It uses the n word gratuitously and as a way to insult a serial killer. He is scum of the earth but so are you, you fucking racist. 

In what world should a white lady imagine the final moments of victims? In what world should she make those last moments victim-blaming insults that are written like erotica? This book is disgusting. This author is disgusting. I can’t believe this was published. 

Who does this book help? Because it’s not the victims and it’s not the readers. 

Who should read this:
No. One. 

Do I want to reread this:

Similar books:
* American Predator by Maureen Callahan-true crime book about Israel Keyes
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This is a great thriller. I am a true crime fanatic and this was like underneath the madness of how a criminal thinks. I don’t want to give too much away but if you are looking for a book that has a lot of depth and really sucks you in this would be worth a read!
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Behold the Monster by Jillian Lauren is a gripping true crime tale exposing the chilling acts of serial killer Sam Little. Lauren’s narrative, while informative and shocking, is deeply disturbing due to its graphic nature. Despite its intensity, the book is a commendable exploration of the dark psyche of a serial murderer. Lauren’s research deserves applause, shedding light on Little’s horrific crimes. For true crime enthusiasts with strong stomachs, this book offers an eye-opening experience. Kudos to the author for unearthing the truth, making it a compelling read for fans of the genre. 3.5/5 stars!

Thank you to Sourcebooks, Jillian Lauren &#NetGalley for the ARC. My review is strictly voluntary.
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I am a true crime junkie and was excited to read this one. The story was confusing as it was not linear. The perspectives changed frequently. I lost sight of what was happening in the book and the purpose of the story.
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Wow! I am a true crime fanatic and this was na excellent read. It was very gruesome and took me a while to get through but so glad I finished. The author did a terrific job telling this twisted story.
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This book took me a long time to get through because of the heaviness of the material, but it was absolutely BRILLIANT and so necessary. The time and effort that Jillian Lauren put into this work and to honoring the memory and life so many innocent women who were do devalued and disregarded by society is truly a beautiful thing. I don't know if enjoy is the right word to use for how I felt about this book, because the content is graphic and challenging -- but I was moved and impacted by every single page. I wished so badly that the paperwork after Little's death hadn't been botched so his brain could have been donated to science. But I deeply appreciate Lauren's meticulous research and note-taking during interviews to give us as much context and background as possible to paint a picture of Samuel Little from birth to death. I unreservedly recommend this book to absolutely everyone who is able to navigate the subject matter safely.
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“Behold the Monster” is an uncomfortable read, but that is exactly what it should be. The author gets a little too close for comfort to serial killer Samuel Little, but in doing so helps to answer the pervasive question of “why” someone might be motivated to commit the acts that he did. The answer is vile and unflinching. In exploring his motivation and trying to give a name as well as a voice to his victims, author Jillian Lauren tells the story in a partially autobiographical manner, exploring her motivations for capturing the story in the first place, which in turn causes the reader to reflect on the reasons for reading such a disturbing tale. The sheer number of Little’s victims, along with his method of choosing them, could lead to them being anonymized and forgotten, but Lauren lists them in painstaking detail and tells their stories so that they may be remembered. This book is a page turner.
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Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer.....names we are familiar with, even if we don't know all the details.  However, told from the author's account of her interviews and research over several years, she brings to life the world of Samuel Little, the most prolific serial killer in US history, in horrifying detail. As a fan of some true crime stories, I found this subject interesting, and the story was so much more horrifying and shocking than I ever anticipated. Confessing to about 93 suspected victims (some near my home region!) and over half of those confirmed by FBI documentation is astounding, mesmerizing, and incredibly disturbing. Jillian Lauren did a fabulous job of bringing this little-known gruesome story to light. Definitely one to check out for fans of true crime. Thank you to Jillian Lauren, the publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this e-arc.
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Intriguing and chilling look into the mind of serial killer Samuel Little.  Author Jillian Lauren does a great job of characterizing the experiences of both the killer and his victims.  Very interesting book that kept my attention from start to finish.
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"Behold the Monster" was an interesting and unusual book. The story focuses on Samuel Little, the most prolific serial killer in US history. But also, someone you have probably never heard of, especially as his killing spree spanned decades, spanned the country, focused on women whom society ignored, and it was rather late in his murderous career before the authorities started linking unsolved murders and realized they were dealing with a serial killer.  Although the book is about Little, it is also just as much about his victims, the journalist who developed a close relationship of sorts with Little to obtain the information for her story (which turned into a much bigger project than expected, and into this book) and help link Sam's memories with cold cases (including helping solve a case), and the law enforcement officers, especially one larger-than-life Texas Ranger, gathering the evidence to solve their cold cases and make sure Little was convicted for at least some of his crimes.  Fair warning, the book contains a lot of crude and derogatory language, mostly in relations to the victims, with the author and the police often mirroring the derogatory language that Little uses as a way to establish rapport with him and keep him talking. Little was in and out of trouble for most of his life, but he often found ways to escape serious punishment. Behold the Monster is an apt title, because apparently Sam could be rather charming and persuasive, and by the time he revealed his dark side, it was usually too late.
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Behold the Monster: Confronting America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer
Author: Jillian Lauren

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and Sourcebooks and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: He was sitting right across the table...and he would have killed her if he could. Jillian Lauren had no idea what she was getting into when she wrote her first letter to prolific serial killer Samuel Little. All she knew was her research had led her to believe he was guilty of many more murders than the three for which he had been convicted. While the two exchanged dozens of letters and embarked on hundreds of hours of interviews, Lauren gained the trust of a monster. After maintaining his innocence for decades, Little confessed to the murders of ninety-three women, often drawing his victims in haunting detail as he spoke. How could one man evade justice, manipulating the system for more than four decades? As the FBI, the DOJ, the LAPD, and countless law enforcement officials across the country worked to connect their cold cases with the confessions, Lauren's coverage of the investigations and obsession with Little's victims only escalated.

My Thoughts: I have always had a fascination with serial killers, such as Bundy and Gacy. While I liked the aspect of this book, the format of it was a little confusing. This is the story of Sam Little, a serial killer, who caused chaos in the lives of many young women and their families with almost 90 killings and only four victims lived to tell about it. The author made many visits to him in prison and spoke with him on the phone several times. Sam Little is a very dark and disturbed person, his birth was chaotic, his upbringing was evil, and his thought process extremely dark. Little only prayed on women who would not necessarily be missed, drug addicts and prostitutes, easy targets. His evil of choice was strangulation. Little confessed to a total of 93 women he killed, and at the time of this book, the FBI has only been able to confirm 60 deaths. 

This was the first serial killer true crime book that I have read in a long while. Other than the format being confusing, I felt like the author added a lot of her own opinion to this book, crossing the line from non-fiction to fiction. I would love to have seen more trial transcripts or even interviews with the jail psychologist into the workings of his mind. There is no doubt that Little was pure evil and what he did was horrendous. Overall, this was an enjoyable book that I would recommend to other readers.
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Remarkable! Different than all true crime I've read. A must read for all TC lovers! I received this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
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I knew some about Samuel Little, but learned a lot more.  I still can’t decide if I liked the fictionalized accounts of his victims or not.  It does give them a voice, but I think if I’m reading true crime, that is what I want, true crime.  Overall, an interesting read. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks (non-fiction) and Jillian Lauren for the eARC.
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