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American Homicide

American Homicide

First Edition
Additional resources:

February 2016 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

American Homicide examines all types of homicide, and gives additional attention to the more prevalent types of murder and suspicious deaths in the United States. Authors Richard M. Hough and Kimberly D. McCorkle employ more than 30 years of academic and practitioner experience to help explain why and how people kill and how society reacts. This compressive text takes a balanced approach combining scholarly research and theory with compelling details about recent cases and coverage of current trends.

CHAPTER 1: Introducing You to Homicide
Homicide: What Most People Think They Know  
Organization of the Book  
Historic and Contemporary  
What This Book Is Not  
Policy Implications  
CHAPTER 2: Who's Killing Whom and How Much
What We Measure  
How We Measure  
Studying Homicide Situations  
Data Challenges  
CHAPTER 3: Murder by the Numbers
Victims—Who Dies  
Offenders—Categories and Demographics  
Location, Location, Location  
Weapons Used in Violence  
Other Circumstances  
Trends and Patterns  
Homicide Internationally  
CHAPTER 4: Why We Do It: Theories of Homicide
Introduction: Sociological and Criminological Perspectives  
Individual Explanations  
Social Structural  
Life Course, Lifestyle, and Routine Activities Theory  
CHAPTER 5: Confrontational Homicide
Victim Precipitation  
Honor Contests  
Road Rage  
Girls, Women, and Confrontational Violence  
Investigative Considerations  
CHAPTER 6: Intimate Partner Homicide
Introduction and Definitions  
Dynamics of Intimate Partner Homicide  
Theories to Explain Intimate Partner Homicide  
Lethality Assessment  
Fatality Review Teams  
Prosecution of Intimate Partner Homicide  
CHAPTER 7: All in the Family
Parents and Children  
Other Family Killings  
CHAPTER 8: School Killings
Introduction—Perception and Prevalence  
Mass Shootings and Attacks  
The Killers  
Motivations of Those Who Kill  
Policy Responses  
CHAPTER 9: Workplace Mass Killings
Workplace Violence  
Workplace Victims  
The Workplace Killer  
Assessing Violence Potential  
Policy Implications  
CHAPTER 10: Tool of Terror
Definition and History  
Acts of Terror  
Who are Terrorists?  
Hate Crimes and Killing  
Role of the Media  
Stopping Terrorists  
CHAPTER 11: Serial Killing
Myth and Mayhem  
Profiling Serial Killers  
Female Serial Killers  
Medical or Healthcare Serial Killers  
Team Serial Killers  
Catching Serial killers  
CHAPTER 12: Cults and Gangs
Cult Leaders and Followers  
Assessing Impacts  
Policy Implications  
Gangs and Killing  
CHAPTER 13: Solving Homicides
First Officer on the Scene  
Investigator Arrives  
Collection of Evidence  
ME or No ME?  
Prosecutor: Who Needs ‘Em?  
Case Personnel  
Working With the Media  
CHAPTER 14: Murder in Court
Stages in Homicide Cases  
Building the Case and Charging Decisions  
Evidentiary Issues  
Defense Attorney Functions and Tactics  
Ethical Issues  
CHAPTER 15: Victims, Society, and the Future
Victim Impact  
Public Health Perspective  
Criminal Justice System Response and Legislation  
Societal Issues  
Predicting Violence  
About the Authors


Instructor Site
Calling all instructors! It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours, you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title! Then, you pick and choose from this list, depending on what each site offers.

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Teaching notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter are included.

“My students love true life examples, and this book has plenty of those…The chapters are long enough to inform the student of the subject matter, but not too long to discourage reluctant readers…Very well written and thought out.The author speaks on great authority on the subject matter.”

Stephen Ruegger
Mercer University

“Well written to keep the student engaged throughout the chapter…The book does an excellent job organizing the current and past explanations of IPH.”

Shawn Keller
Florida Gulf Coast University

“The text would be a great companion piece for a profiling or criminal investigation course. If a program offered a “murder” themed course, would be an excellent fit.”

Cathryn Lavery
Iona College

“Clear and concise writing, combination of academic and practitioner’s points of view and pedagogical features used.”

Gordana Rabrenovic
Northeastern University

“I found it to be very thorough and well organized. I felt the selection of case studies were good and up-to-date.”

Cathryn F. Lavery, PhD
Iona College

“Wide variety of topics”

Christian Bolden
Loyola University New Orleans

A good solid text that covers many areas of homicide. Good PPT support, that matches up well for instructor's added ease in when using in building the course. Students feel comfortable reading the text, while not being overwhelmed as a data driven book, but one with real-life application to theory and understanding.

Professor Mike Grabowski
Criminal Justice Dept, Sonoma State University
May 15, 2017
Key features


  • "Why Would They Do It?" boxes in each chapter examine noteworthy homicides, including the killers' motivations, to encourage classroom discussion and build critical thinking skills. 
  •  A unique chapter on solving homicide (Ch. 13) provides students with an understanding of the structure and function of homicide units, including the interactions investigators have with various players such as media, medical examiners, crime scene technicians, and prosecutors.
  • A chapter addressing murder in court (Ch. 14) discusses the stages and strategies of homicide from the standpoint of the prosecutor and defense attorney.
  • “Try This” sections encourage critical thinking and application by suggesting engaging activities for students to do additional research.
  • Comparative coverage of homicide types and rates in countries around the world shows how American homicide statistics compare internationally.
  • Student learning outcomes, chapter summaries, discussion questions, relevant URLs, and key terms provide students a foundational understanding of homicide and reinforce student learning of concepts.
  • Password-protected Instructor Resources, including test banks, customizable PowerPoint slides, teaching notes, discussion questions, as well as access to SAGE journal articles, are located in an easy-to-use online environment at

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

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