“If we didn’t live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I’ve no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.” – Virginia Woolf

“If we didn’t live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I’ve no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.” – Virginia Woolf

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“Jeffrey Smalldon follows his curiosity, even when it takes him close to the world’s most dangerous—or delusional—people.

His provocative memoir showcases five decades of his tangling with the likes of Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Donald Harvey, and Ted Bundy.

Reading this account is like being backstage to the killers’ performances: you learn a lot more about them than other correspondents might notice.

Smalldon’s experience, first as a student, then as a forensic psychologist, provides the blend of naivete and wisdom that makes this collection of memories extraordinary.”

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Author of Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer; The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds; and Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill

“In his memoir, That Beast Was Not Me, veteran forensic psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon takes us along with him as he probes the mind games of old familiars like Charlie Manson, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and other well-known monsters.

It’s a printed journey chock full of revelations and insights. Smalldon doesn’t speculate, he talks or corresponds in exceptional detail with his subjects, and elicits information far beyond the rote posturings ‘revealed’ in other books about them.

By way of personally painful example, I’ll put it bluntly: I spent three years of my life researching and writing a biography of Charles Manson that was both critically acclaimed and a New York Times bestseller. After reading Smalldon’s book, I have to grudgingly acknowledge that there was a lot I missed. Damn it!

Anyway, to sum up: all true crime books promise great things. Smalldon’s is the rare example of one delivering exactly that.” 

Jeff Guinn

Author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson; Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage; Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde; and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

“In telling the story of the true crime obsessions that propelled him to a career as a leading forensic psychologist, Jeffrey Smalldon has produced an absolute page-turner of a book.

It’s a gripping, propulsively readable memoir of his interactions with some of the most infamous serial killers of our time.

More than any other book I can think of, it succeeds in bringing near-mythical beings like Manson, Bundy, and Gacy to vivid, chilling life–while conveying the dark charisma that continues to make them objects of extreme fascination.

And it helps that Smalldon is a wonderful writer.”

Harold Schechter

Author of Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects

“Jeffrey Smalldon’s That Beast Was Not Me is a treasure trove of insights and observations culled from fifty years of personal and professional interest in the ultimate outsiders in American culture: mass and serial killers.

Writing as both an aficionado and a forensic psychologist, he has produced a book that has genuinely new and fascinating things to say about familiar subjects.

The names are well-known—Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy—but Smalldon’s innovative analyses of these and other murderous individuals make his book essential reading for any fan of true crime.” 

David Schmid

Author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture

“In telling the story of the true crime obsessions that propelled him to a career as a leading forensic psychologist, Jeffrey Smalldon has produced an absolute page-turner of a book.

It’s a gripping, propulsively readable memoir of his interactions with some of the most infamous serial killers of our time.

More than any other book I can think of, it succeeds in bringing near-mythical beings like Manson, Bundy, and Gacy to vivid, chilling life–while conveying the dark charisma that continues to make them objects of extreme fascination.

And it helps that Smalldon is a wonderful writer.”

Harold Schechter

Author of Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects

“Jeffrey Smalldon’s That Beast Was Not Me is a treasure trove of insights and observations culled from fifty years of personal and professional interest in the ultimate outsiders in American culture: mass and serial killers.

Writing as both an aficionado and a forensic psychologist, he has produced a book that has genuinely new and fascinating things to say about familiar subjects.

The names are well-known—Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy—but Smalldon’s innovative analyses of these and other murderous individuals make his book essential reading for any fan of true crime.” 

David Schmid

Author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture

“Jeff Smalldon is one of the brightest and most interesting people I’ve ever talked to. After all, how many people can say they’ve been the consulting psychologist on close to three hundred death penalty cases and corresponded with the likes of Charles Manson, Squeaky Fromme, Susan Atkins, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy? 

And spent close to twenty hours sparring with Gacy in a death row visiting room?

When I learned that Smalldon was at work on a book about his five decades of encounters with killing and killers, I was eager to read it. When I did, I really, really hated to see it end. Smalldon is a damn fine writer, and he has an incredible collection of vivid, highly personal stories to tell.

There have been plenty of books written about serial and mass killers, quite a few bad ones along with a smaller number of good ones. In my opinion, That Beast Was Not Me stands among the finest, most interesting books in this genre.”

Donald Ray Pollock

Author of Knockemstiff; The Devil All the Time; and The Heavenly Table

“In this remarkable memoir, forensic psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon turns a clinician’s eye onto his five decades of correspondence and conversations with some of history’s most notorious killers, including Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Donald Harvey, and Charles Manson.

Along the way, he meditates on his interactions with these killers and explores the circuitous path that took him, the inquisitive son of an FBI agent, from his job as a hospital administrator to a career analyzing the minds and motivations of hundreds of convicted killers.

Fans of true crime will love That Beast Was Not Me.”

Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Shamus-, Derringer-, and International Thriller Writers-award nominated mystery novelist; and author of No Winners Here Tonight, the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio

“Jeff Smalldon is one of the brightest and most interesting people I’ve ever talked to. After all, how many people can say they’ve been the consulting psychologist on close to three hundred death penalty cases and corresponded with the likes of Charles Manson, Squeaky Fromme, Susan Atkins, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy? 

And spent close to twenty hours sparring with Gacy in a death row visiting room?

When I learned that Smalldon was at work on a book about his five decades of encounters with killing and killers, I was eager to read it. When I did, I really, really hated to see it end. Smalldon is a damn fine writer, and he has an incredible collection of vivid, highly personal stories to tell.

There have been plenty of books written about serial and mass killers, quite a few bad ones along with a smaller number of good ones. In my opinion, That Beast Was Not Me stands among the finest, most interesting books in this genre.”

Donald Ray Pollock

Author of Knockemstiff; The Devil All the Time; and The Heavenly Table

“In this remarkable memoir, forensic psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon turns a clinician’s eye onto his five decades of correspondence and conversations with some of history’s most notorious killers, including Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Donald Harvey, and Charles Manson.

Along the way, he meditates on his interactions with these killers and explores the circuitous path that took him, the inquisitive son of an FBI agent, from his job as a hospital administrator to a career analyzing the minds and motivations of hundreds of convicted killers.

Fans of true crime will love That Beast Was Not Me.”

Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Shamus-, Derringer-, and International Thriller Writers-award nominated mystery novelist; and author of No Winners Here Tonight, the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio

The Newsletter

Site photography by Hailey Gonya at

www.haileylaurenphotography.com


The Newsletter

Site photography by Hailey Gonya at

www.haileylaurenphotography.com