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A Disturbing, But Flawed Book
on 29 October 2008
The strangest thing about this book is not the crimes it describes...even though those crimes were very strange indeed, but the fact that no other author has attempted to write in depth about Cameron Hooker's depraved scheme to live out his most twisted sexual fantasies in real life. Colin Wilson included a couple of pages about Hooker and his passive/aggressive wife in his "Serial Killers", but (though he provided information not found in Ms McGuire's work), it cannot be seen as more than a passing reference in comparison to "Perfect Victim".
Without a doubt, any reviewer with normal sensibilities will soon run out of morally-damning expressions with which to label "Colleen Stan's" (not her real name) ordeal. The story is genuinely scary, depressing and sad; at times it really brings home how bestial the worst kinds of human beings can be. Yet, careful analysis of the text suggests that though Ms McGuire had access to the Prosecutor who handled the trial, to Janice - Hooker's wife, to "Colleen" - Hooker's victim, and also to most (if not all) of the official records, she chose to write a book that was "fit to print", glossing over details to make the story suitable for the kind of readers who might be put off by too much bad language, sex and violence. She also pandered to her informants by reshaping aspects of the case and their parts in it to suit their post-trial requirements.
For example, Janice Hooker - the wife who made her husband's crimes possible, the woman who helped to lure a girl to a life of hell and torture, the willing accomplice who hacked off "Colleen's" hair and regularly demanded painful punishments for her - is presented as merely Hooker's first victim. The Prosecutor made a similar compromise to ensure that Janice would testify against Cameron, so maybe it should not surprise us that the credited co-author's public stance on that subject is not contradicted?
Ms McGuire is a good writer in the sense that she manages to limit the information she provides without making it obvious to the casual reader; a person who is new to the case (and already shocked by what is actually revealed in the text) will not notice that "Perfect Victim" devotes less than three pages to the significant period when Janice decided to take a job which entailed being away from home for 5 days each week. The author is perhaps deliberately blind to the fact that this time represented both a turning point in the Hookers' marital relationship and a steep escalation in the sexual violation of "Colleen Stan". Whilst his wife was absent, Hooker unleashed his sick desires to their fullest extent - however, Ms McGuire coyly covers the entire period in a small paragraph containg a scant 117 words.
If you wish to know about Cameron Hooker and his perverted crimes, this book is your only choice, so I recommend it - though I do so with reservations. At this juncture, it seems unlikely that somebody will write a better account - a 'warts and all' evaluation which rises above the supermarket press mentality that limits the worth of "Perfect Victim".