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  • American Ripper

  • The Enigma of America's Serial Killer Cop
  • Written by: Patrick Kendrick
  • Narrated by: James Romick
  • Length: 19 hrs and 33 mins

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American Ripper cover art

American Ripper

Written by: Patrick Kendrick
Narrated by: James Romick
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Publisher's Summary

American Ripper is the true story of Gerard John Schaefer, a Florida law enforcement officer who was a prolific serial killer in the late 1960s early 1970s. The decade that was thought to be filled with love, peace, and happiness became a new dark age, breeding more serial killers than any other time in US history including Charles Manson, the Zodiac Killer, the Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy, who was held in the same prison as Schaefer and whom he both idolized and resented for the recognition his crimes brought him, a recognition Schaefer never received.

This book chronicles Schaefer's life, education, his career as a cop, and his path to become a sadistic murderer. Based on extensive empirical research that includes reviews of the case's investigation and subsequent trial, interviews with families of victims, numerous police and attorneys involved with the case, forensic doctors, and the killer himself, the author attempts to discern how Schaefer became the antithesis of what a lawman should be. Schaefer's metamorphosis can never be rationally explained, but reviews of the case's transcripts, the killer's psychiatric evaluations, and the author's own experience with Schaefer help paint a picture of an unfettered mind that fed on its own darkness. 

©2020 Patrick Kendrick (P)2022 Patrick Kendrick

Critic Reviews

"Chilling. Compelling. Kendrick’s account of Gerard John Schaefer, a serial killer/cop, is riveting. Drawing on a wealth of data including interviews with Schaefer himself, Kendrick provides an in-depth study of one man’s descent into darkness and, along the way, insight into the rash of serial killings of the 1960s and '70s. Once you start listening to this book, you won’t want to put it down.” (Harriet J. Ottenheimer, PhD, professor of anthropology and American ethnic studies, emerita, Kansas State University. Author of Cousin Joe: Blues from New Orleans and The Anthropology of Language)

What listeners say about American Ripper

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-09-22

Why is there such a disparity?

I'm 20 minutes into this book and I've heard that it's a terrific book, so far the writing seems to bear that out. However the narrator is one of the worst I've ever heard. if I manage to finish this book without shoving pencils through my eardrums it will be a miracle.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • vakdevi
  • 05-01-23

Very very iffy

Narration was really distorted to sound like an old fashioned computerized voice. Long long stretches of infinitesimal detail that I would have skimmed over if reading but had to listen to ad nauseam. The story is chilling and new to me, so I learned something which is why this didn’t get two stars.

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  • Jessica
  • 02-01-23

As Read by a Robot

Nope. Off you go, Sir. Terrible. I just can’t even. Not worth a penny. Not a penny.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara J Landers
  • 08-12-22

Not a book

They basically read the official reports and transcripts from the file word for word. Very repetative.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-11-22

Awful dictation

This man's monotonous voice and ridiculous impersonation of a "southern" accent almost made this impossible to listen to.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • terry m.
  • 22-11-22

Kind of boring

After the first few chapters, was not interesting after that.. It really just drags on.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Dallas
  • 10-11-22

The world’s worst narrator…had to return

Really wanted to listen to this book because I’d heard great things about the author and the cases. Super bummed with their narrator choice. I’ve never returned a book for this reason but holy smokes was it awful to listen to, couldn’t even get through the first chapter. Try before you buy!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lady_Jodie
  • 25-10-22

Made a henious serial killer's story 1000% boring

Total negative combo here. The author spends way too much of the book going the lazy route by including entire police interviews verbatim, direct copy/paste of warrant details ad nauseam and entire huge NUMBERED lists of seized evidence again copy/pasted from police reports. Add to that a narrator that occasionally sounds interested but mostly sounds like he is reading the ingredient list on a box of cereal.... bored and without the slightest inflection.

This could have been a gripping read. Instead it's a total snooze fest. I tried to stick it out but had to return this book at about the 50% mark. Instead of getting better as you get into the meat of the story it just got more and more monotonous.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-10-22

excellent

Loved it !! this story. the narrator is so fantastic it's like your really there!! good overall

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TexasT2
  • 10-09-22

Just Ok

The first few chapters and the details of the attacks are sickeningly graphic. Definitely not recommended for those who are sensitive to postmortem rape and sodomy in graphic detail. I wish I had not listened to this one.

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  • Jojo
  • 17-09-22

Zzzzzz

I’m not sure what I expected but something slightly more gripping at least. Tried to stick with it for a few hours but I’ve given up. The narration has zero energy to it. It just sounds like a very bored guy reeling off a list of facts. I wouldn’t bother.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cee Jay
  • 07-09-22

torture põrn

I love true crime, but this is awful. Disgustingly detailed descriptions of the most vile molestation and degradation of women. Absolutely no need for it. it's very irresponsible to present this story in such titillating detail.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jackie
  • 31-08-22

Uniquely well written, disturbingly true

...First, as the author warns, it is an unusually disturbing account of one sick mind...this from a reader intellectually interested in the criminal mind and not easily caught off guard. Maybe Bundy and Dahmer and similar damaged minds had as warped thoughts but didn't document them. I was introduced to a new level of detail as to what stimulated his sick mind.
Secondly, having moved to Ft.Lauderdale at 17 from the Cocoa Beach area in Feb., 1973..to work in a computer mfg. firm.... alone, vulnerable and a rare female teen riding all around town on a 350cc honda motorcyle, i was haunted...many times over days...at the fact had i been stopped by a cop, a position of authority i respected, well....there, but by the grace of God, it could have been me, too.....and it still flickers in my thoughts.... An excellent, detailed and uniquely presented book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-11-22

Torment

This book has great detail into the life, from his beginning up until his death.
The ripple affect of a persons actions spread widely and touch many people in many ways.
As the author continued to collect facts about this monster, it revealed other peoples wrong doings and also the incredible emotional toll it took on the author himself.
I felt the list of items being entered into evidence long and somewhat boring and probably such detail not required. Overall a great read and l would recommend it to any true crime reader.

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  • Lisa
  • 10-11-22

About 10 hours too long

Possibly the most long winded true crime book I have ever ‘read’. There was so much superfluous information in this book. There was chapters full of just listing evidence. If it wasn’t for the soothing voice of the narrator I wouldn’t have bothered listening as far as I did. As it was, I skipped through half of it and still got what was going on!