The Man In The Monster: Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer by Martha Elliott

The Man In The Monster: Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer

byMartha Elliott

Paperback | August 2, 2016

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An astonishing portrait of a murderer and his complex relationship with a crusading journalist
 
Michael Ross was a serial killer who raped and murdered eight young women between 1981 and 1984. In 2005, the state of Connecticut put him to death by lethal injection. His crimes were horrific, and he paid the ultimate price for them.
 
When journalist Martha Elliott first heard of Ross, she learned what the world knew of him—that he had been a master at hiding in plain sight. Elliott, a staunch critic of the death penalty, was drawn to the case when the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned Ross’s six death sentences. Rather than fight for his life, Ross requested that he be executed because he didn’t want the families of his victims to suffer through a new trial. Elliott was intrigued and sought an interview. The two began a weekly conversation—and developed an odd form of friendship—that lasted over a decade, until Ross’s last moments of life.
 
Over the course of his twenty years in prison, Ross had come to embrace faith for the first time in his life. He had also undergone extensive medical treatment. The Michael Ross whom Elliott knew seemed to be a different man from the monster who was capable of such heinous crimes. This Michael Ross made it his mission to share his story with Elliott in the hopes that it would save lives. He was her partner in unlocking the mystery of his own evil.
 
In The Man in the Monster, Martha Elliott gives us a groundbreaking look into the life and motivation of a serial killer. Drawing on a decade of conversations and letters between Ross and the author, readers are given an in-depth view of a killer’s innermost thoughts and secrets, revealing the human face of a monster—without ignoring the horrors of his crimes. Elliott takes us deep into a world of court hearings, tomblike prisons, lawyers hell-bent to kill or to save—and families ravaged by love and hate. This is the personal story of a journalist who came to know herself in ways she could never have imagined when she opened the notebook for that first interview.
 
Praise for The Man in the Monster:
 
“Sturdily written and well researched . . . The book will appeal to those curious about why killers kill, and those who can stomach what they learn.” —The Boston Globe
 
“A fascinating, in-depth analysis for true-crime buffs, sociologists, and others grappling with nearly impossible-to-comprehend actions and their consequences.” Booklist

About The Author

Martha Elliott has been a journalist for almost forty years. She was mentored in graduate school by veteran journalist Fred W. Friendly and became his colleague, producing award-winning television programs and writing three books and numerous articles and speeches. She has run a newspaper and has taught at Columbia University and at th...
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Details & Specs

Title:The Man In The Monster: Inside The Mind Of A Serial KillerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.69 inPublished:August 2, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143109472

ISBN - 13:9780143109471

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It was almost noon when Michael Bruce Ross, con­victed serial killer, walked into the crowded court­room—all 240 pounds of him, the man who had brutally raped and strangled eight young women. He no longer resembled the lanky, bespectacled, ner­vous-looking young man who had originally gone to trial more than a decade before; sedentary prison life, prison food, and hormone treat­ments changed all that. His six-foot frame carried the weight that he jokingly claimed to have gained so that he wouldn’t fit into the electric chair, Connecticut’s method of ex­ecution at the time of his first trial. Oversized, prison-issued glasses, a doughy face, and crew cut gave him a geeky look. He wore the Northern Correctional Institution uniform and white laceless slip-on sneakers. He was restrained by handcuffs and ankle shackles. As the guards re­moved the handcuffs at the judge’s orders, visible indentations were left by the black box that holds the two shackles together during transport to ensure that there is no escape. The box is standard operating procedure for all death row inmates going to court. They say it hurts like hell.Ross appeared calm, considering that he was trying to negotiate his own death, and he came armed with a folder full of documents and court decisions. He wanted the court to allow him to accept the death penalty without going through a new trial, because he said he wanted to spare the families of the young women he killed from having to go through the pain of another trial.For the first time since we had started cor­responding a few months earlier, we were in the same room, and he was actually able to see me. The reality of being less than twenty feet from a man who had raped and murdered was terrifying. Michael turned around, smiled at me and mouthed, “Are you Martha?”I nodded yes. A serial killer had identified me. Half of me wished that I could become invisible or crawl under the courtroom bench, though he had four guards sur­rounding him and leg shackles on. The man couldn’t hurt me.Even though Michael had been on death row for almost a decade, his case was, in essence, beginning again because the Connecticut Supreme Court had overturned his six death sentences and had ordered a new penalty trial because psychiatric evidence had been kept from the jury. I was looking for a powerful story that would demonstrate the problems inherent in the death penalty. What I got instead was a decade of Michael Ross.

Editorial Reviews

“I thought about Malcolm’s assertion more than once as I read Martha Elliott’s excellent new book, The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer. As its title indicates, the book explores the gruesome misdeeds of a murderer (and rapist), but it is also an extended reflection on how and why one might write about, and even befriend, such people. On both counts, it is an admirable success.” —The National Book Review “Sturdily written and well researched…the book will appeal to those curious about why killers kill, and those who can stomach what they learn.”- Boston Globe “A disturbing and multifaceted exposé of both a ruthless killer and the sympathetic, merciful journalist at odds with his capital fate.”- Kirkus “A fascinating, in-depth analysis for true-crime buffs, sociologists, and others grappling with nearly impossible-to-comprehend actions and their consequences.”-Booklist"This should be a welcomed volume to both general readers and criminal justice professionals.”- Library JournalThe Man in the Monster is arresting at every turn.”- Bookpage“Elliott’s harrowing story pulls off something brilliant and new. Elliott peered into the mind of a serial killer by becoming his friend. A narrative that is riveting, honest, and devastating." - Jack Hitt, author of Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character   “Martha Elliott takes us inside the mind of serial killer and rapist Michael Ross. Elliott spent ten years getting to know the man behind the monster, and the pace of her book is as fast and merciless as a thriller." - Rebecca Tinsley, author of When Stars Fall to Earth "Martha Elliott has done something no other journalist has done--she devoted ten years getting to know a serial killer, giving the reader a rare glimpse into the mind of a man, a "monster," who killed eight women. No matter what your views are on capital punishment or mental illness, this will be a thought-provoking read. You won't want to put it down."-Steven Greenhouse, author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for American Workers   “Martha Elliot has written a commanding book about a death row inmate she met as a journalist and talked with at least once a week for ten year…When you read this book, I think you will be overwhelmed as I was and find that Martha Elliot has written a book that makes us look seriously at capital punishment. This is a great read and a must read and I urge it for people in every generation.”-Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law; Founding & Executive Director, The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice"Martha Elliott provides us with a rare close-up of the mind behind a serial killer already tried and facing the death penalty. Her meticulous and dispassionate reporting pries open the story behind the series of repulsive crimes the killer has committed against his vulnerable victims. A normal college graduate with girlfriends and, at the same time, an obsessive, demented man stalking young women, the killer reveals himself to the reporter as the complex story of childhood traumas and mental illness unfold. The book is a highly readable contribution both to the debate about capital punishment and the criminal justice system, and, at the same time, journalism as compelling drama."-Joan Konner, Dean Emerita, Columbia Graduate School of JournalismFrom the Hardcover edition.