I have been reading this on and off since around October, but I finally sat down and finished it this week and thought I would put together a review for you. (Just so you’re aware I received an ebook version via Netgalley.)
I really wanted to read this because as most of you know I love True Crime and this was a story I’ve read about and listened to podcasts about, if you are not aware this book is based on Luka Magnotta the Ice Pick Killer who appeared in the video ‘1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’. I will pop the description below and begin my review after that. This book is available to buy now.
Description taken from NetGalley:
“In 2012, the Canadian Press ignited a firestorm of criticism by naming killer Luka Magnotta as its “Newsmaker Of The Year.” But while the recognition was questionable for its sensitivity, there’s no doubt that few people had captured the public’s attention like the young murderer and internet sensation. A male escort and sometimes model, Magnotta had earned his notoriety by videotaping himself stabbing Chinese student Lin Jun to death with an ice pick and dismembering the body, before posting the video online. After mailing Jun’s hands and feet to elementary schools, he then led Interpol on a manhunt that ended when he was arrested at an Internet café in Berlin where he was reading news stories about himself. An international celebrity in a macabre sort of way, with a legion of fans, Magnotta was brought back to Canada, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to prison. During this time, Anna Yourkin, his estranged mother, troubled by Magnotta’s abused childhood and her role in that, reconnected with her killer son. Despite his internet fame, Magnotta never agreed to any in-depth interviews. Now Magnotta has given award-winning journalist and author, Brian Whitney (RAW DEAL, THE SHAWCROSS LETTERS) an exclusive look inside the mind of this “social media” killer. Joining Whitney to tell this unique true crime story is Anna Yourkin. The book also contains exclusive photos provided by Yourkin.”
Click read more to read my full review.
So I went into this book with high hopes, I thought it would have been great to hear from Lukas Mother, Anna and how she handled the whole situation when her Son was doing such awful things and when he was caught. Also the idea that the author of the book was able to get in touch with Luka who wanted to ‘set some things straight’ from his perspective also fascinating me, because what I’d read so far seemed crazy. This book was marketed as an insight into the mind of a serial killer, as Luka has said and done some troubling things in the past I couldn’t wait to dive into his mind.
Firstly the book does not really go into Lukas mind, nor does it showcase any new facts or information to the case. Luka mentions he was being controlled by someone called ‘Manny’ which is why he did such awful things, but a quick look into the case makes you realise the police could never find this Manny person. However he is adamant that everything ever written about him in the media was lies…
I do not think the book was awful, but I did not like the tone throughout the book. Anna spoke about Luka’s upbringing and the things he went through as a child and young adult were horrible – however the spin on this was to almost make the reader feel sorry for Luka. This instantly made me feel uncomfortable, especially since his Mother clearly believes a lot of what Luka is suggesting is the true, even though there has never been any evidence on his behalf. For example, Lukas denial to being obsessed with wanting to become an online celebrity, which he himself denied over and over again throughout the book. But if you do a little bit of reading into the case it was quite obvious he did love the limelight and was looking for new ways to become a social media star. He apparently owned over 80 social media accounts and police have tied these to him, but yet again he denies this.
The majority of the book focused on his issues growing up and not the case itself. It didn’t really feel like we got to the bottom of anything from the ‘mind of the serial killer’ and just constant excuses for his behavior. Also I wasn’t quite comfortable with the amount of forgiveness that was given to him throughout the book, his Mother in particular coming to her own jury conclusion – she is his Mother, of course unconsciously she is going to be on his side. At one point she cuts him out and then goes back, only to criticise her family members who have decided to have nothing to do with Luka (Anna then admits to cutting those family members out herself, which is insane in my opinion, she is siding with a murderer over her other family members).
So the book cuts between chapters from Anna’s perspective, chapters of things Luka has said and then chapters titled various aliases that Luka has had in the past. I quite liked the way the book was broken up and the chapters were short and snappy so it was a good read for my quick commutes or if you just fancied a break from a work for 5-10 minutes every now and again.
I just think for me, because this was such a high profile case that I actively remember reading about and seeing all over the news I could not take the book at all seriously due to the fact it was very much ‘poor Luka’. I even remember the kitten video that is also tied to him (which he does admit doing, because Manny forced him) all over the internet. The only mention of his victim tends to be briefly and in passing, then the book moves on to talk about how he is a victim himself and the trauma he dealt with growing up, or that he looked sad during his trial.
When I’d reached around 70% of the way through it was way post his trial and was his mother talking about seeing him I thought it could have ended here – there wasn’t actually much chat about the case or deep dive into why he did it because HE kept telling everyone he wasn’t a sociopath or schizophrenic, so it felt a little drawn out near the second half of the book. And then to add a cherry on top of the cake came the ending of the book, which really upset me because it was a ‘oh, he is getting married and he deserves forgiveness, he didn’t do it – it was Manny’ (again, someone investigators never had found to exist).
I guess I assumed the book would be more about the case and finding out why he would do such a thing, rather than a book about his Mother. Luka does not give anyone a ‘look into the mind’ of a serial killer as he simply refuses to acknowledge the murder throughout the book and just keeps saying it was all lies that the internet fabricated, and that he was being controlled by a man who was part of an underground mob. Also without the evidence that Luka may have had mental health issues, in my opinion this book just helped confirm that he really is a very disturbed and emotionally detached man.
I rated this book a 2.5/5 stars and I would recommend picking it up in the sale if you’re interested in true crime.
Let me know what you thought of my review below!
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