Eye of the Beast: The True Story of Serial Killer James Wood
Terry Adams, Mary Brooks-Mueller, and Scott Shaw
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1993 for the kidnapping and murder of an 11-year-old Idaho girl, James Wood has been credited with at least 85 rapes, 185 robberies and dozens of murders. In this compelling if incomplete report, Birmingham News writer Adams, forensic psychologist Brooks-Mueller, and former Pocatello PD investigator Shaw, who spearheaded the investigation, tell Wood’s horrific story in straightforward language, evidently understanding that sensationalism would lessen the impact.
The describe the efforts of police and behavioral scientists to create a profile of the suspect’s personality and behavior patterns before discovering his identity. Wood’s need to be “in control” is illuminated, as are his desire to steal “innocence” and success from others, anger toward women, and complete lack of remorse.
The basic facts of his early life are given—his father’s incarceration in Leavenworth Penitentiary, his mother’s death in a fire, his vague claims of abuse at the hands of his stepfather—but little insight is offered into how such a rapacious psychopathic predator is produced. Still, the writers successfully blend into their earnest chronicle the tales of a community’s massive response to the disappearance of a child, of a careful investigation and arrest, and of a long, disturbing interview with a man utterly without conscience, driven strictly by vengeance and rage.