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The Shocking Double Life of Colonel Russell Williams

By David A. Gibb

Berkley, April, 2012 ($9.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-25919-1
Kindle eBook: $9.99

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Canadian Air Force Colonel Russell Williams was commander of the largest Canadian Forces base in Canada. He personally piloted members of the British royal family, prime ministers, and other dignitaries as part of his duties. He was well liked and trusted. He was well respected. He was married. He seemed normal. He was, in fact, also a rapist and murderer.

Author David A. Gibb, a respected investigative consultant and journalist, who spent 25 years as a private investigator, presents the reader with a shocking and quite disturbing picture of Colonel Williams and his crimes.

How does a man — a seemingly normal man — develop, over time, into what many would call a monster? How, indeed.

Colonel Williams' descent into the cruel man he became didn't happen over night. The author clearly documents the crimes and the incidents that led up to the more horrific crimes in what many readers may feel is a grisly fashion, but in order to understand the Colonel and his victims' plights, details are necessary. In my opinion, the details of the crime become almost secondary as one finishes reading the final chapters. Those final pages ask the questions, "Is Williams a serial killer?" "Is he a sexual sadist?" Also, is he a psychopath? What kind of rapist was he? A power reassurance rapist? A power assertive rapist? An anger retaliatory rapist or an anger excitation rapist? Does it really matter? The author says, yes, it does and he gives the reader the tools to begin to understand the differences and why they are important, both in terms of prosecution and in understanding how and why particular victims are chosen.

It is still difficult for me to understand how Colonel Williams was able to lead a so-called double life for so long. Both aspects of his life demanded a great deal of time. Daylight hours for his "normal" working self and night-time hours for his stalking, raping, and murdering. The other aspect of his life that leaves me wondering is how much his wife knew or didn't know. The author explains in the final pages why we may never have a satisfactory answer to that question.

This book should appeal to more than just true crime readers. Anyone interested in the psychology of a rapist/murderer should find this book thought-provoking and educational. To say readers will enjoy the book is not quite the right term. They will find it disturbing, haunting, and as I said, thought-provoking and educational. I highly recommend reading CAMOUFLAGED KILLER: The Shocking Double Life of Colonel Russell Williams.

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