In the cruel and chaotic world of catching serial killers, it can be easy to misinterpret signs and take a wrong turn. Such is the case when deciphering the differences between a killer’s MO ( modus operandi) and their signature. One man who has dedicated his career to recognising the unmistakable signatures left behind by psychopathic murderers is Dr. Robert D. Keppel, an FBI investigator who was the first to realise the importance of these depraved calling cards.
Using the examples of killers such as Morris Frampton and Richard Cottingham, Keppel explains that a signature is something that a killer ( not all killers) has to do in order for them to gain the sexual gratification they are seeking. This can manifest itself in a whole range of ways, but examples include posing a victim’s body in a certain manner or inflicting post- mortem injuries.
While the MO is what the killer needs to do in order to commit murder, a signature is not necessary for the purpose but is instead something the offender is compelled to do. A consequence of this is that while an MO may change due to circumstances or a killer ‘ refining’ their methods, their signature will never alter. When police fail to identify a signature and instead interpret a change of MO as proof of a separate killer, the ramifications can be devastating.
The importance of this book to anyone with an interest in the twisted psychology of those who derive a thrill from murder cannot be overestimated. With decades of first- hand experience and expertise, Keppel is the perfect person to help make sense of the gruesome marks killers leave behind.