RedHanded: An Exploration of Criminals, Cannibals, Cults, and What Makes a Killer Tick

Running Pr.: Perseus. Sept. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780762473793. $27. CRIME
Maguire and Bala, cohosts of the UK true crime podcast Redhanded, investigate what makes a murderer. True crime fans will draw immediate comparisons to the book Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of My Favorite Murder. The two podcasts have similar origin stories, but Maguire and Bala forgo autobiography and focus instead on the killers themselves. Their conversational work explores familiar topics such as nature vs. nurture and the insanity defense. Killers are categorized as thrill-seeking, mission-oriented, power-driven, or visionary. The authors devote a chapter to the topic of misogyny and argue that law enforcement and the public at large fail to see misogyny for the killer ideology that it is, given its ubiquity. Killer couples get their own chapter, as do cults. Sidebars on, for instance, polygraph tests and postpartum psychosis are sprinkled throughout the text. Maguire and Bala also acknowledge that there is an empathy gap for victims who are sex workers, who are LGBTQIA+ , or who experience homelessness.
VERDICT The ideas discussed here are a bit shopworn, but fans of the authors’ podcast and readers new to true crime may find it a helpful primer.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing