If you crossed American Psycho with Dr. Spock, the result might be something like the book that the father of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer plans to write. In a six-page ”To whom it may concern” letter circulated among publishers, Lionel Dahmer says he’ll draw from ”a wealth of home movies, correspondence…and interviews with Jeff himself” to produce a work that ”might be a resource for professionals to unlock the secrets of the serial killer.” The book, he adds, will be ”not only a portrait of Jeff but of a family’s dysfunction and my journey into self-awareness.”
Publishers who have met with the 55-year-old Milwaukee chemist have had wildly contrasting reactions. Some are repulsed by the idea of a father making hay off his son’s crimes and putting much of the blame for his son on the ”emotional turmoil” of his first wife, Joyce. Lionel speculates in the letter that the ”up to 26 different drugs” Joyce took for a nervous disorder during her pregnancy may have affected Jeffrey. (For her part, Joyce Flint has described Lionel as distant and frequently absent.) The elder Dahmer does implicate himself when he writes, ”I hope to establish a certain pattern of avoidance that I inherited [from my parents] and subsequently passed on to Jeff.” And he admits he thought ”things were getting better” just before Jeffrey’s arrest last July. The deal for the untitled book will almost assuredly exceed six figures.