Angel of Darkness (book)
|Publisher||Hachette Book Group USA|
|May 1, 1991|
|Media type||Hardcover, paperback|
Angel of Darkness: The True Story of Randy Kraft and the Most Heinous Murder Spree of the Century is a non-fiction book by investigative journalist and American author Dennis McDougal published in 1991 by the Hachette Book Group. McDougal was an investigative reporter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram assigned to cover the case when Kraft was arrested. At the time Angel of Darkness was released, McDougal was working as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
The book is a true account about Randy Steven Kraft, a convicted serial murderer known as the "freeway killer" who was responsible for the mutilation murders of 16 young men. Prosecutors have said they believe Kraft to be responsible for a total of 67 men between the years 1971 and 1983.
The book includes mini-biographies of many of Kraft's victims. The victims—many of them members of the U.S. Marines Corps, most of them hitchhikers—were believed to have been drugged by Kraft, who then tortured and strangled them. The victims' bodies, many of which were sexually mutilated, usually were dumped along freeway ramps or in remote areas.
Kraft sued author McDougal and his publisher seeking $62 million in damages, because, Kraft said, the book smeared his "good name" and unjustly portrayed him as a "sick, twisted man" and hurt his "prospects for future employment." The lawsuit was dismissed as frivolous in June 1994. The suit cost McDougal about $50,000 in legal fees to defend the book.
Publication and reception
Angel of Darkness was released in hardcover on May 1, 1991 and published in paperback on June 27, 2009. Upon its initial release, Publisher Weekly's review was positive. They wrote, "Los Angeles Times reporter McDouglas here draws a multidimensional portrait of a psycho- and sociopath, not sparing the reader details of the incredible cruelty that Kraft inflicted on his victims, of the scorecard he kept to record his 'successes' and of the impaired lives of the families whose sons, brothers and husbands he slaughtered."
Kirkus Reviews noted that the book was written in "matter-of-fact prose." Kimberly Cantrell at True Crime Book Review also commented on the graphic details, writing, "McDougal doesn’t sugar coat anything in this book. ... Gruesome. Detailed. Vivid. Brutal."
The review in Library Journal said McDougal "lets the killer speak for himself, and Kraft does so with chilling normalcy. This book will make readers look at their acquaintances and wonder if . . . ?" The Associated Press wrote, "To open this book is to open a peephole into hell."
- "Murder, They Wrote : The Randy Kraft Case - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1991-05-03. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- Newton, Michael. "Randy Kraft, the Freeway Killer — Death Row — Crime Library on". Trutv.com. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- "Review: Angel of Darkness: The True Story of Randy Kraft and the Most Heinousmurder Spree by Dennis McDougal, Author, Rick Morgan, Editor Grand Central Publishing $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-51538-2". Publishersweekly.com. 1991-04-29. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- McDougal, Dennis. "ANGEL OF DARKNESS by Dennis McDougal | Kirkus Book Reviews". Kirkusreviews.com. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- Cantrell, Kim (2010-03-08). "Angel of Darkness by Dennis McDougal (May 1991)". True Crime Book Reviews. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- McDougal, Dennis (2012-09-28). "Five easy decades". Bookverdict.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Angel of Darkness: The True Story of Randy Kraft and the Most Heinous Murder ... - Dennis McDougal - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28.