Review by A. R. Muir
‘Horrific’, ‘disgusting’ and ‘depraved’ can only begin to describe the crimes perpetrated by the subject of Things a Killer Would Know by Paula Doneman.
The murders committed by Leonard John Fraser in the Queensland town of Rockhampton are as bad as they come. As a criminal he ticks just about every box of perversion from necrophilia to bestiality, not to mention vicious rape, torture and remorseless murder. Fraser’s crimes started from when he was a boy, sent to a reform school for theft and threatening behaviour. As an adult, he spent much of his life in prison on various terms for rape and armed robbery. Yet he was granted early release and free to rape and murder at least four vulnerable or mentally challenged victims. One of these was eleven year old schoolgirl, Keyra Steinhardt. Her rape, abduction and murder being all the more tragic as it was witnessed by a couple who failed to immediately alert police.
Fraser’s crimes were committed using his fists, knives and strangulation with clothing. He further sought to hide his victims via burial, even going so far as to remove one victim’s head and bury it separately to hinder identification. He was tried and convicted in 1999 of four murders, although there is strong speculation that he may have killed more women in Queensland and New South Wales.
The book is very well narrated and well paced. The author takes time to reveal new details as the trial progresses so that the reader is induced to keep reading on for the final conclusions. As each crime evolves, it brings a new twist of revulsion and disgust. The only drawback is that there is quite a lot of repetition and retelling of each murder. It is as if the author needs to continually remind readers of what Fraser has done, even though the true horror of his crimes are quickly established during the first half of the book. Never the less, it is an extremely well put together true crime narrative which deals with a despicable predator and his crimes. It leaves the reader only too grateful that justice was achieved, and a serial killer was finally taken off the street.
Highly recommended, although some may find the details of these crimes distressing.
More true crime reviews by A.R. Muir can be read here at shelfari.com