Dennis Nilsen Book

Russ Coffey:
Dennis Nilsen - Conversations with Britain's most evil serial killer

Latest addition to the literature on mass murderer Dennis Nilsen written by friend and journalist Russ Coffey (including several pages of extracts written by yours truly).  

300 pages on the life, crimes, imprisonment, psychology and future of Dennis Nilsen. Pulled from Coffey's personal correspondence with the man, privileged access to Nilsen's still unpublished autobiography (History of a Drowning Boy) and interviews with various first and secondary victims, Coffey's book is a worthwhile addition to the literature available  on Nilsen. With the benefit of 30 years of hindsight and the aid of the now mountainous archival material which exists on the killer,  Coffey's book is in a much better position than any other to give a more balanced account of the man and his crimes and to show up false arguments and contradictory statements and ideas which have surfaced concerning (and by) the killer himself. With that in mind it is just possible that Coffey's book will shed new light and new found ideas on the psychological make-up of Nilsen and give deeper insight into the complex and often conflicting  reasons which fuelled his crimes.

An in-depth review of the book is not needed here and I am not the best person to do so even if it were. I will just add  that my involvement was totally free and willing even though (and I knew beforehand) the author's views fly in the face of  my own personal feelings towards Nilsen. For the record I don't believe in demonizing people and I wholeheartedly DO NOT believe that Nilsen is an evil man and do not believe anyone is inherently evil (certainly not in any context outside of what we're naturally capable of as animals/ human beings). Furthermore I would one day like to see Nilsen released and am passionately in favour of the publication of his now voluminous autobiography.

For those interested in the writings here, and with the means, please order a copy of Russ Coffey's book. For all close friends and longtime followers of my work I would like to share my copy with You and so those interested in wanting to form a reading-chain please contact me via email (though be careful to note after reading it'll be your responsibility to post the book onto the next reader.)

Until very soon....

A new Memoires post will follow very shortly... X


JoeM said...

I'll try to get the library to buy it in. I don't like the pressure of being part of a queue!

As you know I don't agree with your leniency on Nilsen.

But if anybody has a right to say he should be freed (etc) it's you!

I just think, when I hear him whining about tiny prison things like writing paper or something - you took the lives of dozens of young people for your own gratification you moron.

The likes of him and Brady are so full of their own entitlements.

The thought of that being on the street again chills me.

Word verification: ehater

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe... Oh I totally understand your feelings on Nilsen and understand why the huge majority of people feel that way. Why I don't I cannot even explain but it's not to shock and neither is it to go against the moral grain. They're just my honest and genuine feelings towards the man.

That's OK about the book-share... it's just an idea as I always like to involve the people I've met here and through my writing in a more physical way and I enjoy the idea of having the book returned to me after it having been handled and read and marked by my good friends and longterm readers. X

JoeM said...

I hope you get lots of takers.

I wonder if James Champagne knows about this - he's always swapping books and stuff with people. Maybe you should post a link on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

does anyone still read this shit?

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


apparently so.. YOU! X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Joe M... Yeah I owe James Champagne a send as he sent me the Ian Brady book (which makes Nilson seem quite diplomatic in comparison!)But yes, I'll post it on Facebook also. X

Absolut Ruiness said...

Is there even a point in questioning the readership of a blog in the comments section?! Anyways, glad to hear from you Shane. Im not too aware of this person in question but I'm sure if he is a subject of so much literature then he must have lead quite an interesting life (google-ing him right now). Waiting for more of your posts.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nilsen is such an odd character. There are some serial killers like this guy Richard Cunningham in America the “Torso Killer” whom it would be easy for some people to dismiss as ‘evil’ because of how totally without human feeling or remorse they seem to be. They will openly (and honestly I believe) admit how they killed because they LIKED it. Others like Dahmer and Nilsen to some extent it seems are compelled to kill because of powerful forces within them that they only vaguely understand often with results that cause THEM great pain and self-destruction in the process. Its really just a tragedy for all involved: killer, victims, families of both. Evil is a made up word, something we can conceive of but haven’t the capacity to be. To be truly Evil (or Good) one would have to be God-like. It isnt in the realm of human things. Of course its great stuff for selling books…

Anonymous said...

* Richard Cottingham

JoeM said...

I find that the Nilsen book is already in the library system. I put in a request. Now most folk who put in a request for a library book just have to wait. And trust in the system.

But no system is without corruption: government, police, media...or libraries.

So I use my librarian super powers and phone up the libraries that supposedly have the book on their shelves in order to speed up the process.

Every single one reports it as missing.

True Crime books are the most stolen books in libraries. But this swiftness surprises me. Why so many missing copies? It's just out.

Are 'normal' punters ashamed of their interest in such a serial killer and have to steal it rather than check it out?

Who knows?

It's just made me all the more determined to read it.

By the way I've divorced Facebook.

What do you mean you never noticed?

Jess said...

Glad to see an update, when a lot of time goes by... I worry! Nilsen is a monster and I do think that some people are monsters and deserve punishment worthy of their selfishness and misdeeds. Everyone has a chance at redemption, yes? That doesn't necessarily mean being free to roam the world wrecking havoc and evil on others - and jail isn't so bad, yes? It isn't like the Middle Ages with rats chewing your flesh off in the dark and the occasional scrap of bread and sour water thrown your way. I don't think he's suffering that much in prison AND he isn't torturing anyone else while he is in there.

Some of your issues with Nilsen have to do with your own seriously libertarian streak. Sometimes it is good for folks to collectively determine that something isn't OK - killing people in masse for perverted pleasure falls under that umbrella for me.

Gravediggin' Under the Mancy Way said...

Hey Shane,
Good to see you posting again. I've tried numerous times to comment from my phone and even emails are useless so apologies for the rare appearances. I'm relying on library computers.
My once best school friend claimed to have moved from the street where Nilsen lived and killed as her parents' reaction to the killings. Funny how a decent-looking flat gives me the creeps just knowing what occurred there.
Yes, your feelings on Nilsen are unusual, but being the son of one of his victims gives you a unique standpoint; who are we to criticise. No one can help their feelings.
I'd like to read this book too, though it would probably triple my already chronic insomnia.
I'm in agreement with Joe about the queue...and the right to be freed being your right, not that of the public in general.

I hope you're feeling better.
I also hope this publication is the doorway to other success in print for you.
Love&Long life,
vee X

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane,

Being a slightly morbid soul, I'll def have to check the book out though I'll have to do like JoeM and get my own, I have a terrible habit of folding over the edge of a page to mark it (rather than use a bookmark of which I have many, or even a travelcard).

Just watched a documentary on Nielsen on channel 5. Nothing new said really, though it did focus on the extreme sense of loneliness he felt and his fear of being left (and therefore killing people he wanted to stay).

My viewing was constantly interrupted by one of my new lodgers and his girlfriend who always seems to be here I'm wondering if she's moved in and if so does she expect me to pay for her to wipe her arse (loo roll-gate). I've been forced to take on lodgers because of my temporary work status to ensure mortgage is paid and don't get re-possessed. And I absolutely hate it. Tonight my flat is a love motel, both lodgers have their other halves. I've absconded to my room in disgust with my cat Tippi (after Tippi Hedren in The Birds) galloping behind me. Fucks sake, I got stupid giggling and amourous shenanagins in stereo (my bedroom is in the middle, one lodger in bedroom on either side). My best friend was right; 'it's unatural for adults to share a flat unless they're fucking each other'

Haha! The spanish lodger and his dappy girlfriend are shagging now, my cat is scratching at the wall. I hope they hear her and it ruins their flow.

BTW The reason I call his girlfriend dappy is all through the Nielsen documentary she kept saying 'Oh no! How can he be so evil, imagine! Oh no!'. I just thought, 'Clearly we can never have a meaningful conversation because you'd be gasping in shock at every other word before a sentence was completed. Haven't you noticed my dvd and book collection? Or maybe you don't read.' I was shocked that she was shocked by someone like Nilsen as surely she must know that there are far more extreme psychopaths and serial killers?!? People abusing each other is much more normal and rife than you think.

Shut up K! Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. My nest has been invaded, shat in and shagged on by strangers and I don't like it one bit.

I look forward to your next post and it would be nice to hear about you.

PS. I'm with JoeM on the releasing Nilsen. As much as I can understand his motives and can recognise him as someone that has suffered and to be honest probably will always suffer because that's such an integral part of him, he'll carry it everywhere no matter what happens and who he's with, he'll always feel a deep despairing loneliness. But that aside, he murdered innocent people. He admitted himself that had he not been caught, he would have just continued murdering. So releasing him would be releasing THAT and more lives lost. I think once it's established someone's a psychopath you can't really take that risk of them doing it again, I honestly don't think they can help themselves. They may be able to limit or control it but eventually it becomes an inevitability, almost not a choice. Just what needs to happen.

Just like what needs to happen now: I need to go to the bathroom (with all the extra bodies here the bathroom is still in use over an hour later!). I have to sort my bikini line all ready for my ovarian cancer ultrasound tomorrow (I don't want them to need machetes to have to find it!). Then I'll roll a mild one skinner snuggle up with Tippi and my book and eventually conk out. Just looked over, Tippi is already waiting on the bed for me. Who needs boyfriends when you got a devoted and besotted feline.

Big hugs and look forward to your next post. Also, what's happening on the painterly side?

Calamity K

eyelick said...

Upon first glance on a tiny phone, not truly paying attention to the details on the book cover, it made me think that Nilsen had been allowed to release his own book! It seemed amazing that there had been such a big change in a shorter amount of time than anyone can expect from officialdom, but nope, guess not!

What attracts me the most to your writing, well - other than always appreciating a good story and of course the whole relating to the subject matter... What's best of all to me is your personal philosophies and sociological observations.

It seems that once again something you wrote a long time ago is missing?? It was an elaboration, that was also listed on your "month of memories." Is this just insanity and false memories, maybe something to ask about elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane, I'm not sure if you can help, but I have seen in the newspaper that Nielsen book has had excerpts serilised online over the past couple of days and rumours are that more of his book is being serilised online. I have been searching the internet, and I can not find it. I was wondering if you may have heard anything or had a link? Thanks for your help
Jo x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Jo... No I've heard nothing of such serializations but would be interested (along with many others) to read them if it were the case. I had a quick scoot about Google but found nothing either. Where did you hear of that? X

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if my last message sent, but there is an article on the daily mail website today x

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane, I hope you are well. If you did not already know, the daily mail have released another article about neilsen's memoirs being serilised on the internet again today. I've had a little look online but still can not find anything. I'm beginning to wonder if they are making up non story's just to sell papers. Jo x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hey Jo... I'm just preparing a new post here so will be very quick. You may be right about made up stories as I couldn't find any trace of this story online and the Mail online wouldn't allow a comment i put through on the original article to appear! It was polite, just asking for a link to the extracts as they don't appear to exist. That comment has never appeared. X

Gina said...

Hey Shane its Gina. Hope you are well. Just wanted to let you know im still here and still a big fan of your work. Take care. Xx