My story takes place during present day in the United States, and I've searched for thrill killing on Google and even found a neat crime library that had a lot of information, but didn't give me all of the answers I wanted. I've also done searches on a couple of personality disorders.
I don't know how many of you are psychologists, but I was thinking of doing something a little bit different when it comes to having a main character who's a serial killer. Mostly, when I read or watch about a serial killer they're, well, insane (obviously), but I read somewhere that there was a such thing as thrill killing, where a sane person kills for excitement. I thought that this was really interesting and quickly latched onto the idea, but as I do more research I find that the definition of sanity is different, and that my original idea (of having a human being with no mental illness or history of trauma (not that I'm saying that all mental illness is caused by trauma) kill a human being, and discover that even though he feels remorse, the adrenaline of getting away with it overwhelms that guilt for a short amount of time until it comes back in-between murders) would be hard for readers to see as believable and is probably not believable at all. But could it be?
If my idea is completely impossible I guess the next best thing I could do is give him some kind of mental illness. It'll have to be something that still allows for him to care for others, so him being a sociopath or a psychopath are out of the question since he would have basically no emotional attachment to anyone. So what are some suggestions? I did find an article on wikipedia about a movie called Léon, about a hitman that is still able to create an emotional attachment with a twelve year old girl, it also states that said character is emotionally-detached and did not state that he was suffering from a mental illness. Is it possible for a person to make themselves emotionally-detached enough to kill without having a mental illness, and if so how can it be done?
If push comes to shove I suppose I might have to go with him being a sociopath. Is there a definite difference between psychopathy and being a sociopath, and can a sociopath who chooses not to murder easily change his or her mind and suddenly decide to? Also, can a person become a sociopath due to anything else but childhood trauma? I hope none of you mind the length of the entry, and thank you in advance. :)