For me, this story has a distinctly personal note. I am native to the south Chicago suburbs. I grew up only one hour away from where John Gacy lived and killed. Being born in 1973, I was just a little kid when this story broke. Too young to fit the pattern of Gacy’s victims, it did affect me nevertheless. As Mr. Sullivan points out, there was a gravitational shift in the world during the 70s. Partially this shift came as a result of the Gacy case. The world no longer felt safe. When us kids were out in our front yards, we needed to check in or be with someone our parents knew and trusted. The world became dangerous to us and we were only kids who lacked the ability to explain it all.
John Wayne Gacy jr. still stands out as the stereotypical serial killer. As Mr. Sullivan points out in his book, he could have been anyone. There was no telling this man had been committing such horrors until his final victim was murdered. The thought that someone like this may still lurk in the world is horrifying when you really think about it.
Mr. Sullivan recounts his experiences as a prosecuting attorney on the case against Gacy and retells it based on his review of the information from the trial reports. The book is well done and chronologically organized so it takes you through the gripping court drama in order. It is well written and easy to understand, if the motivations behind such a horrific act are not.
I think Mr. Sullivan’s motivation for such a book is to ensure the victims will not simply vanish into history and at least someone will remember they lived on this planet. To that end, I think he did. I felt genuine pangs of sympathy for the families who had to go through this horrific ordeal.
John Wayne Gacy Jr. is dead and was cremated. However, as there is still interest in famous serial killers such as Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, and the Zodiac Killer, there will remain interest in John Wayne Gacy and his legacy of devastation he wrought on the Chicagoland area and the entire country.