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Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer    by John Leake order for
Entering Hades
by John Leake
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It is a well-known fact in police circles that serial killers rarely travel internationally. When the LAPD began finding bodies of strangled prostitutes, they had no reason to compare their files with police files in Vienna, Austria.

It took a while for the penny to drop and when it did, suspicion was raised about already convicted murderer Jack Unterweger. He had been imprisoned as a young man in 1970 for strangling a young woman. By 1990, it was felt that he was a fine example of criminal rehabilitation, and he was released to once again prey on young women. While imprisoned, he wrote books and plays and became the darling of the literary world. His flamboyant appearance added to his charisma. Women flocked to him and he enjoyed his new freedom.

Traveling to Los Angeles to ostensibly research the hooker scene, he soon came under suspicion for murdering prostitutes. Fleeing back to Vienna, he seemed confident that he could bamboozle the police. A slick character, he had no compunction about lying. When caught in his lies, he always had facile explanations. His highly publicized trial brought him more notice. Was he really a cold-blooded killer or an innocent caught up in matters that unjustly implicated him?

Based on police and court files and the killer's personal writing, Entering Hades is an account of Unterweger's life. This very well-written book is the first for translator and editor, John Leake.

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