So i had this dream. You were holding my head (still attached). I had died. But i had lived a long time. We were in our 70s. You Kept whispering we made a difference. You were sad but in your heart you were sure we had done what we had set out to do all those years ago. It wasn’t a bad dream.
Brent Brents on 1-20-13, referring to the purpose of the book Diary of a Predator: A Memoir.
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Time after time from the age of 5 until I was in my 20s
I was betrayed by men and women, family and so-called
friends. Around the age of 10 I became them and I’ve been
trying to hurt Them ever since I think.
—Brent Brents, April 22, 2005
From the book Diary of a Predator: A Memoir
Note from Amy: Someone asked me the other day if Brent Brents had trusted me from the very beginning.
In a word, no.
Here’s a letter he sent me early on in our correspondence, excerpted from the true-crime book, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir:
April 6, 2005
Hi, It’s me . . . I have to tell you that every reporter so
far has tried to either bribe me, manipulate me, Make me
out to be a monster. Every one has only showed Thier greed,
selfishness, bitterness and hatred. Amy I don’t care if your
a greedy self centered bitch. What I do care about is This.
I am going to put me, my story Into your hands . . . I am
going to tell you my story truthfuly and I hope you will not
screw me over in the Long run like every woman I’ve ever
felt I could trust has . . . If your sincere then you’ll know That
we have to develop a sincere trust. A Relationship of Trust
. . . I am sure you have an opinion and probably some deep
feelings about what I did. If you would please tell me what
you think and feel about me and all the stuff I have done. Get
This Amy, The truth please no matter how harsh or painful
it may sound . . . You’ve been pretty superficial so far . . .
Show me the real you and show me I can trust your heart
and I’ll give you my story . . . Sencerely wanting to believe.
Note from Amy: A visitor sent two messages after reading Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, my true-crime account of serial rapist Brent Brents and the effects covering that case had on me. I combined them and am posting them here because she is exactly the sort of person I wrote Diary for. I love knowing that folks like her exist.
Thank you for taking the time to write this moving and very real story. Fortunately, I do not have a disturbing past or work in an industry with those who do. I actually love my life and love my career. However, I was able to relate to you on 2 levels – spending more time working than with my two children and husband and the fact that I, too, believe everybody has a source of reference -some much worse than others.
I recommended this book to all of my friends on Facebook in an effort to help bring more awareness to the source of such evil that exists in our world. Thank you again. You are brave and I have an immense amount of respect for you.
As much as I wish I was an avid reader, I’m not. It takes a lot to hold my attention and I couldn’t put your book down. Trust me, this speaks volumes about you as a writer on so many levels. I absolutely believe without a doubt “he is a victim of our society as much as his victims are also a victim of society, he being the channel for the sickness to move through.” This is very sad and very true. I, too, believe he is a good soul, yet broken.
How did I learn about your book? I just bought a kindle not long ago and like many, I enjoy the conveniences technology has provided so I am able to buy books at the click of a button. 🙂 The title captured my interest and the fact that it has 4 1/2 stars. For whatever reason I gravitate to the darker autobiographies for the sheer fact that I am intrigued as to “why” these people do what they do – malicious evil acts…….it Has to come from somewhere.
Thank you again for writing this book. I finished yesterday and so far several of my friends are looking forward to the journey. As you might expect there are those who are afraid. I have made it clear that it’s a dark journey with an uplifting twist so they had nothing to fear.
Note from Amy: The following is an excerpt from the beginning of my book, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir.
I can’t remember much about when I was real young except fear and shame and lack of courage.
This is the story of one of America’s most notorious sexual criminals, Brent Brents, from his childhood of horrific abuse to his adulthood on the streets of Denver, where he stalked, raped, and tortured multiple victims before police captured him in February 2005.
Brent pleaded guilty to eighty criminal charges, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and attempted murder, and in July 2005 received the largest sentence in Colorado history: 1,509 years.
At the time I started working on Brent’s case, I was a Denver Post criminal justice reporter, cynical and driven. I’ve often said this is
the tale of two predators—one a criminal, the other a journalist—for don’t we as journalists often prey upon people for their story? So this is also the account of my own awakening.
The year before his case erupted, I coauthored an all-consuming investigative series about sexual assault and domestic violence in the
military called “Betrayal in the Ranks.” Fellow Post staffer Miles Moffeit and I invested every fiber of our beings into those stories to honor the amazing women who counted on us to be their voice, leaving behind our families, our friends, and our health in the process. The series prompted investigations and spurred congressional reforms, but left me empty and exhausted. It took me months to truly care about journalism again, and then the Brents case caught my attention.
The prospect of writing about sexual crime from the perspective of the perpetrator, not the survivor, revived my interest.
He was the most predatory criminal I’d ever encountered, and I hoped that through him, I would perhaps understand all the faceless
men who had assaulted the hundreds of survivors whose stories I’ve told and carried all these years, like a heavy bag of so many broken hearts.
I scrutinized him as I would a bug under a microscope—indeed, that’s what I told him. Yet my curiosity was never tinged with
hate, a reaction that I soon learned to my surprise would alienate me from just about everyone I knew, especially those in my
own newsroom. There’s no such thing as objectivity in journalism.
Still, I was pumped by the amazing opportunity: Criminals on the scale of Brents rarely cooperate with efforts to pick their brain.
Coincidentally, it was my lack of contempt that prompted Brents to continue to call and write me. As one former FBI profiler told me,
“You did one thing right from the very beginning, and that’s why he talked to you: You never judged him.”
Instead, I began to judge myself.
I did not expect what would happen—that by probing Brents for the story of how he was made, I would uncover parts of myself in
the process. His case affected me in ways I could not have predicted, for it illuminated my growing disillusionment with the callous media of which I was a part. Those effects continue to this day, as does the correspondence between us that began shortly after his capture and included him sending me his journal, a meticulous record of his crimes and his history. I have been able to verify his accounts by corroborating the details through interviews with officials and witnesses, as well as court records and criminal and medical reports.
Because of the unprecedented access he allowed me, this book is more than simply the true story of the crimes Brents committed.
It is also the rare story of the psyche of the sociopathic man revealed and the impact it had on the journalist covering the case. Through Brents, I realized truths about the human condition and our assumptions of evil—that it is not assigned, but constructed. I also discovered I could no longer continue to be the reporter I once had been, forsaking myself and my family to pursue a story.
Throughout the book, I make use of excerpts from his journal, our letters, and interviews, in addition to the extensive research I conducted as a reporter. Anything attributed to Brents journal is exactly as he wrote it, including punctuation and spelling.
With his history and “jacket”—the notoriety of his crimes that accompanies him to prison—Brents expects to eventually be killed
by other inmates. “My biggest fear,” he wrote me, “is that I will die without ever having done anything good.”
His experience of the world is violent, calculating, pathetic, and wrenching—but it is still the same world in which we all live. It is
Brents’ hope, and mine, that by presenting his life in unflinching fashion, we will learn something from it.
To the reader:
As you read this book, you may find yourself experiencing
a wide range of emotions. But I ask of you only to keep an
You may very well find yourself full of opinion towards
myself and the author. No matter how you feel about me
or my actions—hate me, be wary of my sincerity if you
choose—please, if you are a parent, planning on being a
parent or are someone who is responsible for the wellbeing
of children: Treat them with dignity, respect and love. Be
good role models. Teach them empathy, compassion and
integrity. Regardless of your financial, emotional and
physical situations, show them how to overcome and achieve.
Be loving and attentive. Listen to them, hear them, spend
time with them and nurture them. Most of all, give them
your heart forever so that they will become good people.
When I first started working on the true-crime book about serial rapist Brent Brents that became Diary of a Predator: A Memoir my husband told me he would no longer go to bookstores with me.
The reason? I would walk past some of the trite or atrocious titles on the shelves and start to feel depressed. It wasn’t that I thought Diary of a Predator was so much better; I was just convinced it had a story–and a message–that was worthwhile, and I fretted the book would never get a chance.
I hoped, but did not expect, that I would see it on the shelf of a major bookstore. Publishing statistics show there are more than 100,000 new books published every year, yet most bookstore chains (like Barnes & Noble) stock only a fraction of them–about 10,000 titles.
So I was very happily shocked when I got a call from a buyer for Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago. She said they planned to put Diary of a Predator: A Memoir in some of their top true-crime-selling stores around the country.
One such store is in Boulder, at 30th and Pear Street. I visited it the other day, and sure enough, there was Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, right on the shelf in the “True Crime” section. It’s hard to describe the feeling I got when looking at my book there on the shelf. Diary of a Predator: A Memoir is the culmination of a career covering crime and out of that, the five years I devoted to the stubborn notion that this book would inspire and educate people.
And that’s the most gratifying part of all: Hearing from folks that reading this book left them wanting to be a better person, or spread some good in the world.
So thank you, Barnes & Noble, for helping to get Diary of a Predator: A Memoir out there.
Years ago, before I had even begun writing Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, when it was still just a germ of an idea that I called “The book,” Brent Brents wrote this to me:
“Someone once said that ‘every work of art is an act of faith.’ You writing this book is going to be a work of art, it is going to be an act of faith.”
I looked up the rest of the quote, and it resonated with me so much that I’m going to repeat it here. It’s from British novelist Jeanette Winterson, and it speaks to one of the main reasons I wrote this book–to reach out with its message:
“I think every work of art is an act of faith, or we wouldn’t bother to do it. It is a message in a bottle, a shout in the dark. It’s saying ‘I’m here and I believe that you are somewhere and that you will answer, if necessary, across time, not necessarily in my lifetime.”
I’m including an except below from serial rapist Brent Brents’ journal that’s in my book, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, because of its chilling self description.
But first, something from James Gilligan: “The living dead.”
-That’s a term for violent men from the book, Violence: Reflections On A National Epidemic, by James Gilligan, M.D., and it resonates with me because it’s similar to how Brent Brents describes himself.
Gilligan, who directed the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School, is the former medical director of the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane and was director of mental health for the Massachusetts prison system.
To call violent prison inmates “the living dead” is not a metaphor he invented, Gilligan says in his book; rather, it’s a summary of how the men describe themselves, that they cannot feel anything, that their souls are dead.
He goes on to write, “They have dead souls because their souls were murdered. How did it happen?”
The answer, Gilligan says, was “a degree of violence and cruelty…in childhood…so extreme and unusual that it gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘child abuse.'”
Which is exactly how Brent Brents was created–horrific and habitual child abuse. And it doesn’t excuse his actions, but it certainly helps explain them, and understanding violence takes us one step closer toward preventing it.
As for the self description written by Brent Brents, I begin the start of nearly every chapter of Diary of a Predator: A Memoir with an excerpt from one of his letters or from his journal (which is also featured in large portions throughout the rest of the book). This is at the start of chapter One, A Hunter at Work:
I could easily be Bundy i think he had the same fucked up
brain the release was never Achievable. What realy hurts me
deep is that there are a few things and people I can sincerely
care for and love and would never hurt but the rest of Gods
Green earth is fair Game. I am truly a fucked up dangerous
person and were the opportunities to present themselves I
would act. It hurts me to admit this. I am sorry for hurting
all those other people, Truly but how can i be any kind of
Good or decent if i cant stop my mind from Working Like it
does. I look back to when i was a kid and i realy think i went
crazy. Death is the only solution to this.
—From Brent’s journal
Yes Aliens and zombies are cool to watch, but Even though I’ve been labeled a Monster doesn’t mean I want to be seen as a leg draging spiny tailed alien zombie that humps its victims before it eats them.
Hey thank you for the books, I look forward to the surprise. The books are like Halloween Candy for me. They taste good mentaly.
Brent Brents 4-1-12
Here’s another comment sent to this website today by Kathy, who heard the interview on Colorado Public Radio regarding my book, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, which is about my experiences covering the case of serial rapist Brent Brents.
“Thank you so much. You told truths that are hard to hear but necessary if we are to change futures. I am glad you helped Mr. Brents find his humanity.”
You are welcome, Kathy, and it’s folks like you who take the time to connect who inspire me. So thank you for for writing.