Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Devil's Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell's Kill Room by Steve Lillebuen

The Devil's Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell's Kill Room
by Steve Lillebuen
McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 978-0-7710-5033-6
Buy From Indigo

Description: Reality and fantasy collide with shocking results in this riveting account of the notorious case of Mark Twitchell - and the police investigation into one of the most bizarre murders in recent memory.


In October 2008, Johnny Altinger, a 38-year-old Edmonton man, was on his way to a tryst with a woman he had met on an online dating website when he emailed the directions to their rendezvous to a concerned friend. He was never seen again. Two weeks before Altinger's disappearance, independent filmmaker Mark Twitchell began shooting a low-budget horror film about a serial killer who impersonates a woman on an online dating website to lure his victims to their gruesome deaths. But these are just the starting points of the stranger-than-fiction case of Mark Twitchell, a man with a startling plan to turn his life-long love of fantasy and desire for fame into reality:

- Did Twitchell, in a horrific example of life imitating art, act out the grisly premise of his own script?
- Obsessed with Dexter, the popular TV show and book series about a fictional vigilante serial killer, Twitchell assumed Dexter Morgan's profile on Facebook. But how far did he intend to take his fascination with Dexter?
- Is the shocking document "S.K. Confessions" a graphic work of fiction that, as Twitchell claims, he wrote to promote his film? Or is it a diary he kept of his transformation into a killer, and proof that the police stopped a prolific serial killer at the very beginning?

Veteran journalist Steve Lillebuen provides a gripping investigative account of the nesting doll intricacies of the case, plunging us into the world of pop culture fanaticism and into the mind of a self-professed psychopath. Drawing on extensive interviews, Lillebuen illuminates what can happen when some of our culture's darkest obsessions are pushed to extremes.


The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced & truly fascinating
  • Very detailed and obviously very well researched
  • Not too sensational or descriptive of the more gruesome aspects of the case (I would have liked a lot less, but I am sensitive)
  • Author really tries hard not to put in his own opinions -- slips a little sometimes, but it would be hard not to
  • Impressed with the dedication of the Edmonton police force on making sure he didn't have the opportunity to kill again
  • Also impressed with the fact that justice system tried to protect his wife and child and I very much hope that they have a chance to have a decent life
  • Learned some interesting information on the work done by the police to catch someone like Twitchell
  • Writing style is easy to read, story sucks you in and disturbs you, but keeps you wanting to know what happened
  • Could lead to some fascinating discussions
  • I had never even heard of this case before I got the Random House list of books for review
  • You get a little glimpse into Jeff Lindsay's thoughts on what he thinks about this case
  • Good index (I know I am such a nerd, but hey it helped when I forgot things while I was writing this review)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Could have done with a bit less of the gruesome descriptions (I am sensitive 'kay)
  • I am concerned that Twitchell will get attention from the publications of this, which he obviously gets off on
  • Concerned with the fact that the thought of him getting killed in prison wouldn't be all that bad to me& that disturbs me
  • The constant mentions of the comparison between Twitchell and the fictional Dexter were almost to the point that the author was saying that if it wasn't for Dexter, Twitchell never would have killed - think that is a cop out
  • Might be moving to Alberta and the crime statistics are very scary to me - definitely not moving to Deadmonton now!
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Edmonton is not the end of the world -it's just easier to see it from there; Once quipped Ralph Klein, a colourful and well known politician. Many have adopted a similar self-deprecating attitude, wielding such ethos like an invaluable tool while residing in the northernmost major city of North America."

"Antsey had been waiting for lab results for three days, trying to be patient, but he was frustrated. Detectives started rolling their eyes when told the lab results for the new items taken from Johnny's condo still weren't back. They would joke that lab techs from television crime shows like CSI could get DNA results in an hour. In real life, there were city cases that had been stalled on DNA analysis for weeks, sometimes months.

"The burn lasted only a few minutes and died down as the fuel disappeared. Twitchell might have been smarter to mix some oil with the gasoline to make it burn longer, but he was a city boy and some things can't be learned on the internet."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Obviously fans of true crime will eat this up
  • Those living in Edmonton might be a little offended by the less than stellar comments about their city
  • Fabulous book for a book club or classroom discussion
4 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review

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