ISU professor dives into the unsolved murder problem in his 33rd book


Mackenzie Bodell, Senior Reporter

An Iowa State professor tells the story of the unsolved murder epidemic in his newly released book.

Matthew DeLisi has a Ph.D. and is a distinguished professor in sociology and criminal justice. He has been teaching at Iowa State for 23 years.

In February, he released his 33rd book titled “Ted Bundy and the Unsolved Murder Epidemic.”

DeLisi’s new book focuses on the infamous Ted Bundy, a notorious serial killer from the late 20th century.

“Ted Bundy seems to have kind of a never-ending shelf life,” DeLisi said.


DeLisi was in high school when Bundy was executed in 1989. Throughout his life, DeLisi has thought about Bundy’s story several times.

“I’ve always been interested in criminal behavior and justice,” DeLisi said. “Over the years, I’ve read books about him and watched documentaries.”

While watching these documentaries, DeLisi started to theorize that Bundy was most likely killing more extensively, with over 100 victims, than his official record says. This thought sparked the idea for his new book.

The book revisits Bundy’s life but also focuses on the broad unsolved murder problem in America.

The book dives into the idea that Bundy started killing much earlier than the 1974 to 1978 time frame he confessed to killing over 30 people in.

“How likely is it that this person waited till they’re almost 30 to start murdering when he was killing with such extraordinary efficiency?” DeLisi said. “It’s much more likely, based on what we know about homicide offenders and psychopaths, that he had killed much earlier in life.”

Within the book, DeLisi provides supporting evidence to propose that Bundy may have started killing as early as late childhood.

DeLisi started writing this new book in late 2020 and finished it in the summer of 2021. The book was published by the Palgrave Macmillan company. According to their website, they are a world-class publisher of books and journals with over 175 years of experience.

“When I sent them the idea and told him the book was done, they emailed me back in about a minute and said, ‘we’re ready to contract this book right now,’” DeLisi said.

The final publication came out in February. The book is priced at the trade market price instead of the textbook price to provide more accessibility, especially for students. The thought behind this thinking was that while this book falls into the academic market, true crime is becoming popular in the trade market as well.

“Ted Bundy and the Unsolved Murder Epidemic” can be bought through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target.