Magnetized: Conversations with a Serial Killer

Carlos Busqued (Author) Samuel Rutter (Translator)


A "chilling" psychological portrait for readers of true crime classics such as My Dark Places, The Stranger Beside Me, and I'll Be Gone In the Dark (People), one of Argentina's most innovative writers brings to life the story of a serial killer who, in 1982, murdered four taxi drivers without any apparent motive.

Over the course of one ghastly week in September 1982, the bodies of four taxi drivers were found in Buenos Aires, each murder carried out with the same cold precision. The assailant: a nineteen-year-old boy, odd and taciturn, who gave the impression of being completely sane. But the crimes themselves were not: four murders, as exact as they were senseless.

More than thirty years later, Argentine author Carlos Busqued began visiting Ricardo Melogno, the serial killer, in prison. Their conversations return to the nebulous era of the crimes and a story full of missing pieces. The result is a book at once hypnotic and unnerving, constructed from forensic documents, newspaper clippings, and interviews with Melogno himself. Without imposing judgment, Busqued allows for the killer to describe his way of retreating from the world and to explain his crimes as best he can. In his own words, Melogno recalls a visit from Pope Francis, grim depictions of daily life in prison, and childhood remembrances of an unloving mother who drove her son to Brazil to study witchcraft. As these conversations progress, the focus slowly shifts from the crimes themselves, to Melogno's mistreatment and mis-diagnosis while in prison, to his current fate: incarcerated in perpetuity despite having served his full sentence.

Using these personal interviews, alongside forensic documents and newspaper clippings, Busqued crafted Magnetized, a captivating story about one man's crimes, and a meditation on how one chooses to inhabit the world, or to become absent from it.

Product Details

$23.00  $21.16
Publish Date
June 02, 2020
5.7 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Carlos Busqued was born in Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, Chaco (Argentina) in 1970 and lives in Buenos Aires. His first novel, Under This Terrible Sun, was a finalist for the 2008 Herralde Prize and later adapted for film (El Otro Hermano, Adrian Caetano, 2017). Magnetized is his second book.

Samuel Rutter is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia.


Winner of the XXV Premio San Clemente Rosalía Prize

"A chilling look inside a disordered mind." --People

"Fascinating . . . and a must-read for true crime fans." --Buzzfeed

"Magnetized by Carlos Busqued will make shivers run down your spine. Not since Netflix's The Confession Tapes have we been able to jump right into the mind of a cold-blooded killer. This book focuses on Busqued's conversations with serial killer Ricardo Melogno, who was found guilty of killing four taxi drivers in Buenos Aires in 1982." --Popsugar

"One of the most unsettling, penetrating books in quite some time . . . This is a book that will subtly haunt its readers." --CrimeReads

"Serial killers will never not be compelling, but we risk much when we seek in them entertainment and diversion, without considering what the darkness means, or where it comes from. In Magnetized, Carlos Busqued seeks after some of that meaning in his conversations with Argentine serial killer Ricardo Melogno, who was convicted for the 1982 murders of four Buenos Aires taxi drivers, each one committed with cold precision. Busqued bolsters his conversations with forensic reports and newspaper stories, revealing a life lost before it has really begun, and the tragedy it visits upon the world." --Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year

"Busqued unnerves and entertains readers with this forensic tale synthesized from more than 90 hours of dialogue with a serial killer. The author's interviews with Ricardo Melogno detail not only his crimes, which took place during one week in 1982, but also his motivations--or lack thereof--and the killer's fascinating, disturbing psyche . . . Artfully rendered . . . The narrative is perfect for anyone fascinated by the criminal mind, the distinctions between mental illness and possession, or the concept of predestined evil. A truly visceral read that will not let readers look away." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Carlos Busqued's Magnetized is a thoroughly haunting work of nonfiction. It manages the difficult task of revisiting the life of someone who's done horrendous things and explaining the circumstances that brought them to that point. It does indeed offer a firsthand look into the life of a serial killer--but it does so without ever feeling sensationalistic or gratuitous." --Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders

"A fascinating profile . . . This is a chilling look at a prison system unable to meet the needs of mentally ill inmates." --Library Journal

"A true-crime book that pulls no punches in covering a killer, but doesn't skimp on humanity, either . . . Not to be missed." --Booklist

"Without morbidness, sensationalism, or prejudice, Busqued seeks out the motive behind the killings but soon realizes the motive itself is a MacGuffin: the wanderings of this long conversation between author and murderer are what ultimately magnetize the reader. Sober in its narration and surgical in its execution, Magnetized is the most beautifully human text I've read in recent years." --María Gainza, author of Optic Nerve

Praise for Under This Terrible Sun

"[S]hocking and interesting in ways that literary novels rarely achieve... [C]reeping dread and inhuman elements are at play... refreshing to read in Busqued's telling, capturing some of the more interesting morally-questionable elements of humanity that are usually only portrayed in Scandinavian (or other styles of) detective thrillers... Under This Terrible Sun is a damn good read." --Will Evans, The Three Percent

"Like all good noir, there are crimes within crimes here. But what really makes the novel work, and what makes it worthy of our attention, is this central question of figuring out what is meaningful to us in such an amoral and capricious world. Weather, cars, fish, toy planes, elephants, pornography, weed, coffins, beetles, dreams, crosses -- all threaten to weigh in with equally heavy importance, projecting a repetitive monotony of doom -- a weird mandala of despair slowly rotating on the page." --Scott Beauchamp, Full Stop