View Full Version : Completed ms on Serial Killer - Suggestions for title?

10-04-2005, 08:13 PM
OK, I've written my first book. But I am having BIG problems coming up with a satisfactory title.

The book is essentially in 2 parts.

1st part describes killing spree of Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux, the subsequent investigation and controversies, trial and conviction.

2nd part analyzes the leaked case file to demonstrate that several prominent figures of the Belgian Establishment were protected. It is this 2nd part which, I fondly hope, will make the book irresistable instead of merely interesting.

But I'm stuck finding a decent title.

DUTROUX AND THE UNTOUCHABLES, my first choice, falls down for a U.S. audience, I have learnt on this forum, because 'untouchables' makes readers think of Elliott Ness and the TV series. Pity.

So I am stuck. I would ideally like a title that explains that the book is not simply an account of Marc Dutroux, but that it also contains revelations based on hard evidence from the case file. But maybe I'm wrong here.

One title I had was

BELGIUM'S ROTTEN HEART reflecting the fact that the book is an expose of Belgian corruption. Several Belgians did not like this title, but maybe I shouldn't care.

MARC DUTROUX: THE TRUE STORY is conventional, but clear.

THE DUTROUX DVD'S because the the leaked case file comprised 3 DVD's.

One contact suggested THE DUTROUX CODE comparing the DVD's to the Da Vinci Code, and thus a mystery to be unlocked. But that is surely just a rip-off!

I'm not happy with any of them. Any suggestions you may have, any at all, would be gratefully received. Thanks!

10-04-2005, 08:46 PM
Kill and Kill Again

Lyra Jean
10-04-2005, 08:50 PM
Stay away from the DVD title. It just doesn't seem right.

The True Story of Marc Dutrox: (subtitle here about the corruption of the Belgian Government)

10-04-2005, 09:31 PM
Beyond Prosecution: Marc Dutroux and his Protectors

10-05-2005, 03:32 PM
Okay John, I'll try to keep this thread going for you.

"The Cover-up of a Serial Killer"

Have you tried the old trick of Kurt Vonnecut's? He would pick a sentence--an otherwise insignificant sentence--from somewhere out of his manuscript and use it for his title. I do this frequently just for fun and have come up with some really great titles.

Also, did this Marc killer have certain trademarks? Let's say he lopped an ear off each of his victims. You could have lots of fun with that.
"The Left Ear Killings:
Cover-up of a serial killer's crime spree"

What are some of the tricks or characters (besides the DVD's) surrounding the cover-up or that protection of prominent figures?
I kinda liked your title: "Belgium"s Rotten Heart" but I can understand how that maybe wouldn't go over so well in Belgium. but you could just play with it: "Uncovering Belgium's Dirtiest Files:.."
"The Prosecutor's File Drawer:..."
"Under Belgium's Protection:..."

Julie Worth
10-05-2005, 04:03 PM
THE DUTROUX AFFAIR: the story that shocked a nation

*my favorite

10-05-2005, 04:48 PM
Thanks Christa.

I don't know the Kurt Vonnecot trick. I am going to practice!

Dutroux did not really have trade marks. In fact the killing was secondary for him. He liked to kidnap children (all girls), and he enjoyed the thrill of having them in his power. Two of the children were buried (at least one of whom was still alive). Two other victims starved to death while he was being held in custody for three months, following his arrest for an unrelated offence.

I kinda liked your title: "Belgium"s Rotten Heart" I am not that bothered about Belgian sensibilites if it is THE title to use. But if another, less contentious one, is as good, then I would prefer it.

What are some of the tricks or characters (besides the DVD's) surrounding the cover-up or that protection of prominent figures?
The nature of the cover up was *not* that people were actively protecting Dutroux for his kidnapping and murders (the evidence here does not stand up), rather that the investigation did not follow up leads which pointed to his other activities (such as making pornographic films). These leads were systematically not followed up because they pointed to the involvement of influential people. There was also a range of extremely serious sexual offenses against children, which may well have nothing to do with Dutroux, that came to light during the investigation, simply because the investigation was so wide ranging in scope during the early days. The investigators looked under a lot of rocks, and some very nasty things crawled out. In most cases the investigators passed these on, once they realized that they had nothing to do with Dutroux, but there are some spectacular exceptions.

I am thinking hard about your final three suggestions.

One of the ironies, given that I am seeking publication in the U.S., is that a fairly prominent American appears in the Dutroux file, but not in direct connection to Dutroux himself. This American is directly linked with a defrocked English priest, now deceased, who died (conveniently, in the eyes of some people) in a Belgian prison while awaiting trial for arranging trips abroad for paedophiles. Although the priest was based in Belgium, these paedophiles contacted him from all over the world, including this American who is a well known showbizz journalist, and Emmy-award winner, who had enjoyed minor celebrity status at one time (he has had guest roles in some American soaps, playing himself). For me, however, the evidence I have obtained is not nearly strong enough to name the American, although his name, address, evidence of payment, and dates of trips to Thailand are documented in the Dutroux case file. Maybe, however, I should ask him why he felt the need to contact a paedophile English defrocked priest in Belgium, to arrange a holiday in Thailand, at an address frequented by other paedophiles, when he was living and working in California.

The amount of sh*t that the Dutroux case file reveals, concerning paedophiles worldwide, beggars belief.

aka eraser
10-05-2005, 05:19 PM
I don't want to be a wet blanket but chances are whatever title you come up with will only be a working title. The publisher usually reserves the right to pick a title unless you negotiate that part of the contract. By all means try to come up with a grabber but don't get too married to it. My first choice was voted down and I was quite upset by that. Luckily, I'd tweaked the relevant part of the contract to reflect that the final choice had to be mutually agreeable. I quite like my 2nd choice (just not as much as the 1st) and it passed muster with the suits.

10-05-2005, 05:45 PM
whatever title you come up with will only be a working title.You are not being a wet blanket at all. In fact it reduces the pressure somewhat.
And thank you, Julie, for your suggestions. Wouldn't 'Charleroi' cause pronunciation difficulties in the U.S.?

Julie Worth
10-05-2005, 06:06 PM
You are not being a wet blanket at all. In fact it reduces the pressure somewhat.
And thank you, Julie, for your suggestions. Wouldn't 'Charleroi' cause pronunciation difficulties in the U.S.?

Probably, but so would Dutroux.

And I would never buy a book if I couldn't pronounce the title. What if someone said what's that you're reading? Bad enough I'd have to turn it over to look at the title, but oh so much worse to struggle with the words: Dudgeons of Karl-er-o...Karl-er-oye?

10-05-2005, 10:01 PM
Beyond Prosecution: Marc Dutroux and his Protectors

I like this one best of all

10-08-2005, 12:59 AM
I don't mean to sound harsh, but the title you suggested is a bit long Your comments are very welcome, and your honesty is much appreciated. Of all the suggestions, I am leaning towards BEYOND PROSECUTION myself, as the main title. I think it sounds neat! I am not sure of the subtitle, though.

10-08-2005, 03:45 PM
Marc Dutroux, a Case File of Tragedy.

It's a little long but...


10-10-2005, 05:43 AM
The Marc of Dutroux
Death by Dutroux
The poisoned mind of Dutroux
Dutroux, a girl’s epidemic
Belgium's Dutroux epidemic