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Cannibals by Jimmy Lee Shreeve: Biting the Hand that Feeds You


Published in 2008 the long title of the book is: Cannibals True Stories Of The Horrifying Killers Who Feast On Human Flesh. As if the actual short title of cannibals was not descriptive enough.

If you are interested enough you can go to Jimmy’s website http://www.jimmyleeshreeve.com/ where it will tell you that:

Cult author and slipstream commentator”

“With over thirty years experience of earning a living in the slipstream, Jimmy Lee Shreeve has written half-a-dozen books, run a successful internet-based business, written advertising copy, self-publicized, re-invented and re-launched himself, and generally blagged his way through it all.

He also writes as Doktor Snake and Dr. Hash. His books include How To Be FamousHash BrowniesBlood RitesCannibalsDoktor Snake’s Voodoo Spellbook, and Human Sacrifice.

Jimmy’s byline and work has appeared in over a thousand newspapers, magazines and online media all over the world…”


The rest of the “about” section also goes on to say he’s been on television and radio.

Shreeve has a writing style slightly reminiscent of John Dunning (not John Dunning the detective novelist) who wrote 12 books on murders across the globe. His style was of a tongue in cheek nature in order to soften the subject matter.

While Mr Shreeve is not so prolific with his writing he does specialize in the more macabre stories out there with titles like Dr Snakes Vodoo Spell Book Vol 1 & 2 and Human Sacrifice. His titles alone evoke a type of tabloid like feeling that is reminiscent of the National Enquirer newspaper which specialized in stories like, “Elvis is alive and living in the back of my car” and “Family watches in horror as rats eat baby.”

To give Shreeve credit, he has done his homework and dug up some pretty gruesome tales that he shares with the curious reader. From Andrei Chikatilov (the butcher of Rostov) and Albert Fish right back to Albert Packer and Sawney Beane, he writes about the well-known and lesser known cannibals who have gotten their 15 minutes of fame (or infamy) for snacking on their fellow-man.

Admittedly, all these stories can be found on the internet and probably any library or book store in the true crime section. But he does cover each case well and give the narrative his own personal touch. He has researched enough that he was able to give background to Armin Weiwes, *If the name doesn’t ring a bell his story might. He got a “willing” volunteer via the internet to drop around so Armin could kill him and eat him.* background that I had certainly never seen before.

As a “True Crime” book, Shreeve doesn’t have the wry touch of Colin Wilson or even Dunning, although as I said before, his writing style is similar. The book is informative (and let’s face it), gory and shocking.

I cannot vouch for the rest of the stories in his book, but in his recounting of the Jeffrey Dahmer he leaves out the fact that local police actually brought one of Dahmer’s intended victims back to him thinking it was a lovers tiff between two gay men. They took the man (who could not speak very good English) to his death.

I don’t know why Shreeve left this bit of “colour” out of the story but it made me wonder what else he had omitted. Still the book is a fairly good account of cannibals and their “motives.” He also purports to have been part of an exorcism that “cured” a cannibal that he had corresponded with over a period of time.

In keeping with that theme he also discusses the issue of demon possession and/or Devil worship playing a part in the cannibalistic acts of these deviant criminals. He also brings a brief history of cannibalism into play and writes about people who have studied it as a cultural background for a lot of modern societies.

Cannibals include a lot of different cases and the thread that Shreeve uses to tie them all together is the premise of demon possession. I’m not sure I buy that but it made for some interesting theories.

I picked this book up mainly out of curiosity. No one has really stepped into the late John Dunning’s shoes, although Colin Wilson does come close (interestingly enough it was the friendship between Wilson and Dunning that caused the later to actually publish his collection of stories) even if he did not focus on the more bizarre crimes that Dunning covered.

I used to have quite a large personal collection of “true crime” books that I kept for research purposes. I still have them but Shreeve’s book will not be one that I’ll be rushing out to buy. It’s a short (at 256 pages) curiosity and doesn’t really include too much in the way of more information.

I would say take a moment to read it if a) you are of strong stomach; and b) your knowledge of cannibal criminals is quite sparse. Otherwise you’d do well to stick to the mainstream non-fiction writers such as Colin Wilson.

Bon appétit.



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Categorised in: Books, Crime, Non Fiction, True Crime

2 Responses »

  1. Mmmm. Sounds like something to read right before dinner.

    Like

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