Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day / Sunday, June 10, 2012 / “A Lethal Inheritance” by Victoria Costello

Today’s featured book is A Lethal Inheritance: A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness by Victoria Costello.

"A Lethal Inheritance" by Victoria Costello

“A Lethal Inheritance” by Victoria Costello

Why I chose this book:

A fascinating personal story detailing the hereditary and enviornmental influences of mental illness. For those writing on this topic, this book is a good one to explore.

How and Why I Came to Write A Lethal Inheritance

I began this book project with the premise that the world didn’t need another memoir of mental illness — unless I could find a novel and useful reason for sharing the intimate details of what had been the worst decade of my life.

After dealing in 1998 with the diagnosis of my eldest son Alex at age seventeen with paranoid schizophrenia, I then confronted my own lifelong depression followed rapidly by my youngest son’s depression and anxiety disorder — while navigating the emotional and practical fallout. Nothing prepares you for such an unraveling — particularly when you come from a family steeped in denial, addiction, and hidden mental illness, as mine was. Eventually I would see that these historical family dysfunctions and secrets were as central to the story I had to tell as were the present-day diagnoses, and treatment decisions I was encountering.

This is how I came to the decision to use my own family going back three generations as a case study on how mental illness and addiction traverse families.

“A science journalist and mental health advocate in San Francisco, Costello offers both an affecting chronicle of her family’s mental illness and a useful guide to detection and prevention. In the end, Costello presents a book of vigorous personal and factual research.” – Publisher’s Weekly

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join our Facebook Killer Nashville group page and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

– Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville


About Clay Stafford

Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker ( and founder of Killer Nashville ( As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” ( and the music CD “XO” ( A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
This entry was posted in Recommended Books of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day / Sunday, June 10, 2012 / “A Lethal Inheritance” by Victoria Costello

  1. Thanks Clay and everyone in your mystery writing group/conference. I like to think of my book as a mystery story as well as a book about science and memoir. The mystery being how did my family end up with so much mental illness — and thank fully how did we survive and recover. Have a great conference and keep in touch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s