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Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit [Mass Market Paperback]

John Douglas , Mark Olshaker
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 April 1997

What makes a serial killer?

Only one man really knows. FBI Special Agent and expert in criminal profiling and behavioural science, John Douglas. A man who has looked evil in the eye and made a vocation of understanding it. Now retired, Douglas can let us inside the FBI elite serial crime unit and into the disturbed minds of some of the most savage serial killers in the world.

The man who was the inspiration for Special Agent Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and who lent the film's makers his expertise explains how he invented and established the practice of criminal profiling; what it was like to submerge himself mentally in the world of serial killers to the point of 'becoming' both perpetrator and victim; and individual case histories including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and the Atlanta child murders.

With the fierce page-turning power of a bestselling novel, yet terrifyingly true, Mindhunter is a true crime classic.

Frequently Bought Together

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit + The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence + Criminal Profiling: An Introductory Guide
Price For All Three: 17.37

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (28 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099435675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099435679
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"John Douglas knows more about serial killers than anybody in the world" (Jonathan Demme, Director of The Silence of the Lambs)

"A cracker of a book" (Esquire)

"John Douglas is the FBI's pioneer and master of investigative profiling, and one of the most exciting figures in law enforcement I've had the privilege of knowing" (Patricia Cornwell)

"Douglas is a hero for the agonised Nineties: not the action man quick on the draw, but the thinker who dares go into the unexplored badlands of the mind" (Nicci Gerrard The Observer)

"John Douglas is the FBI's pioneer and master of investigative profiling" (Patricia Cornwell)

Book Description

The real-life inspiration for Hollywood's obsession with criminal profiling, this is the bestselling true story behind the Silence of the Lambs. Mindhunter is a fascinating insight into the life of a FBI Special Agent, and the minds of the psychologically disturbed serial killers he hunts.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Chilling ! 28 Nov 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm not easily scared, but this book really made cold shivers run down my spine. The reason for that is that the subject matter of "Mindhunter" is not the fantasy of an author's creation, but is true facts about real people. We watch horror movies and think, "Nobody could be like that", and feel safe in our knowledge that when the film is over, the horror goes away. Read "Mindhunter" and realise that there are people like that. The things they do make your skin crawl and it is not a story. Neither does it go away ! Not, at least, until they are caught and "Mindhunter" is an account of how forensic psychology does just that. Riveting stuff !
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant read, unable to put down. 22 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best books that looks into the minds of the sick people that committ these murders.
The author john douglas is an ex-FBI agent and is very detailed in the descriptions of the murders and crime scenes.
Highly recommend to anyone who is into crime and crime fighting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesing book with good dose of narcissism! 7 Nov 2009
By Red
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is a riveting read and offers a clear and interesting insight into the life of John Douglas, one of the worlds foremost experts in the field of behavioural science and criminal profiling. I found myself picking it up for a brief glance when it arrived and not putting it down until I had read every word.

The man himself is a very intelligent, forward thinking person but he does seem to succumb to a bit of me-ism within this biography, I wouldn't let that put you off though as this is a must read for anyone with an interest in the subject matter. As a criminology student I found Douglas's opinions forthright and challenging, his conclusions are often non-conformist and offer a very thought provoking summation of some of the worlds most notorious cases.

Get it, read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant! 16 May 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gripping and informative, this book reads like a crime best seller and yet its true! John Douglas and Mark Olshaker talk about the start of the BSU and how John Douglas and other agents interviewed serial killers in prison. Im no good at writing reviews, but John Douglas and Mark Olshaker are certainly good at writing a very informative and gripping book! Highly recommended!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste! 19 May 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
"What makes a serial killer? Only one man really knows. John Douglas."

And he keeps this knowledge to himself. While I was constantly tripping over his ego, he was unable to answer his own question on page 95: [...] what really interested me was the psychological side: what makes a killer tick? What makes him commit a murder under the particular circumstances he does? [...]

Yeah, Mr Douglas that's what interested me as well; the answer to that question was the reason why I bought this book. Not to learn with whom you have slept, that you were almost caned by a cuckold and that your wife's name is Pam. How many kilos Mr Hoover weighs and that he had only senior secretaries in the "office's obscene steno" (the only women he allowed to be in the holy halls of the FBI were typists in these long gone days) typing the bad, bad, bad words you had on a list. I could not care less. The latter are maybe funny anecdotes but they are not a positive contribution to a book about the psychological profiling of criminals.

This book is just a self-indulgent autobiography of an egomaniac who happens to be a psychologist who happens to work for the FBI; but primarily wanted to be a published writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 24 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I must admit to being a little frustrated with this book. I agree with another commenter that it read like an autobiography rather than exploring the Elite Crime Unit as a whole and I did find the author quite unlikeable. Dare I suggest that he seemed quite arrogant in tone in several parts and I felt uncomfortable with how he attempted to push his opinion of the death penalty as the only correct one and present anyone who disagreed as a foolish liberal.

There is a lot of interest in here, but for those looking for detailed information on certain serial killers will also be disappointed as many only get a brief mention. I would have preferred less detail on the author's home life and early years and more on behavioural science and the people he dealt with.

Many others have clearly enjoyed this book, therefore I'd recommend reading the book yourself to form an opinion. It is an interesting read if you can get past the author's ego and opinion pushing, which I couldn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ordinary 16 July 2013
By Paul
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Initially I was very interested in this subject, but after reading the book, I'm not convinced that there is any really science to profiling, as the profiles are too vague. Also, the profiles are give to law enforcement agencies orally. Which means that there is no paper trail to check the accuracy of the profiles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stimulus to much painful thought 31 July 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a frank and moving account and I recommend it. Of particular interest to me is where the author considers what makes a sexually-related serial killer and notes that they are almost (if not totally) all men. He records not a single case in which the offender came from a stable family background. I wanted to know more and was led to speculate on why they seem to be predominantly (but of course not exclusively) American. I would suggest a society in which the following are evident: an ethos of excessive competition and wealth gain combined with gross disparities in wealth, ready availability of violent pornography, combined with a break-down of the local community and family networks. How many people in, say, Los Angeles even know their neighbours let alone what they might be doing by night. Therein is a warning for all of us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!!
Great book, a first hand account of criminal profiling from the man who was instrumental in the birth of the science.
Published 6 days ago by Heather Saggers
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
A birthday present for me, it is an amazing and thoroughly interesting read. It's detail is amazing, completely what you'd expect. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Chloe Bramwell
3.0 out of 5 stars present
I bought this a present for my daughter who has a degree in forensic science, I did not get any comment about thebook from hr so Iguess it must have been alright.
Published 27 days ago by danglepuss
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure torture by ego!
I thought this book would be an interesting read. I thought I would gain an insight into how experts in criminal profiling and behavioural science worked, and how they applied... Read more
Published 2 months ago by TD
5.0 out of 5 stars mindhunter
Truly amazing book had me hooked from start to finish. John Douglas is a true genius to be able to come up with profiles that aren't wrong ever! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marsha
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Really liked the detail in this book; not too much information about the crimes themselves more about the type of offender and how a profile is built. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lorna Crane
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite interesting
I did like this, however I found the structure rather jumbled, just like listening to someone chat who keeps lapsing into seperate stories. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ms. Kathryn A. John
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling but compelling reading
Fantastic insight into the work of the FBI Behavioural Analysis Unit. Like other reviewers I found the tone of the author to be a little pompous but it didn't ruin what was an... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr Lisa wilde
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for!
This book is really interesting. It had me hooked from page one. If you're interested in criminology I would recommend this book.
Published 5 months ago by Amy
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable.
It is difficult to imagine how people like John Douglas can stay balanced while absorbing the horrors done by murderers and other violent criminals. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Barry E. Sheridan
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