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The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology Paperback – 30 Aug 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (30 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582970793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582970790
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 882,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Katherine Ramsland holds three postgraduate degrees in psychology and has taught psychology and philosophy at Rutgers University for fifteen years. She has published twelve nonfiction works, including Bliss: Writing to Find Your True Self, and recently released Forensic Science of CSI and Cemetery Stories. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Most people don't really know what forensic psychology is. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By P. Merrigan on 9 July 2003
Format: Paperback
I was a bit doubtful about this title before I purchased it from Amazon. But I have to say, it was well worth the price! My only qualm would be that it is US-centric, but much of the laws of criminal behavioural studies do cross the Big Pond without too much hassle.
The author has produced a very readable book, which goes into detail on personality disorders, character disorders and pschoses, among others, and not only reports findings on the "disorders" of the criminal mind, but also offers tips and ideas on how a writer can use both characters of "unstable mind" as well as the pschologists and criminologists who study and treat them.
Those of us who want to write about murder/homicide/serial-killing etc should definitely invest in this book.
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By Sam on 15 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a previous book by this author that I enjoyed, based on her own work. This book is descriptive, features long boring bullet point lists, and has the author slating programmes and books for their inaccuracy, but the criticisms are all the same, with the end effect being repetitive.I skipped whole pages and felt relief at reaching the last one.
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By Wendy Drummond on 29 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Very helpful for anyone wanting to write crime fiction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Excellent reference tool for crime/fiction writer 14 Aug. 2002
By Ellen Zuckerman - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology is an excellent reference tool for any crime or fiction writer who wants to write a believable story involving elements of criminal behavior and those who investigate and treat individuals who display this behavior. Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D., is herself a forensic psychologist and the author of fourteen previous nonfiction books. She uses a mixture of fiction and fact to describe the fundamentals of forensic psychology. She stresses the importance of keeping characters and their behavior realistic to an extent. By knowing how your character would really behave, Ramsland suggests that the writer can add credibility to both characters and plot of the crime, mystery or suspense novel.
Ramsland includes the liberal use of notorious examples from pop culture and media to illustrate various aspects of forensic psychology. From brief descriptions of individual assessment tools, to court testimony and strategy, she gives the writer/researcher answers to her many questions. Ramsland uses numerous colorful examples to illustrate her points, from real-life serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Daumer, to popular TV shows like "Law and Order" and the novels of Patricia Cornwell (The Body Farm) and Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal).
The Criminal Mind is written in clear, informal language, even given the necessary legal, forensic and psychological jargon defined throughout the book. This book is a must-have guide to help writers create truly human "bad guys" as well as believable mental health professionals.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Not the best 23 Jan. 2006
By M. Findley - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yes, it is adequate, but my advice to any write who is seriously considering writing about anything psychologically related is to simply buy a psychology book related to what you want. They, for the most part, are not that hard to understand and are very often much more interesting than any how-to book or any mass market fiction. This book gives a good overview, but not much else.

My advice is:

If you are writing about forensic psychology in general read: "Dark Dreams" by Roy Hazelwood and or "Mindhunter" by John Douglas as well as "On-Scene Guide for Crisis Negotiators" by Lanceley. These books will teach you more than any how to book ever could. They have been invaluable to me.

If you are writing about a specific disorder: Browse through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders(DSM IV) if you don't know which disorder to use. After that, simply get a book about that specific disorder. Here are my reccomendations-

Dissociative identity Disorder (multiple personality)- "The Dissociative Identity Sourcebook", "Got Parts? An Insider's guide to Dissociative Identity disorder"

Post-Traumatic Stress- "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- A Victim's Guide To Healing and Recovery"

Scizophrenia- "Schizophrenia Symptoms Causes and Treatments"; "Mad in America" (this is more a history of schizophrenia in American medicine, but it is AMAZING and eye-opening.)

Addiction- "The Addictive Personality" by Nakkan. (One of my personal favorites) or anything by Terance Gorski.

And of course, get a book specific to the addiction. Just look, you'll be surprised at what's available! And, also watch A&E's show "Intervention". Seeing actual addicts will really add to your characters.

Basically, just get a specific book on what you to do. It will be much more helpful than this, which is okay, but basically just an overview. Just do a little research. Nothing can substitute for the real thing. Don't be afraid to buckle down and do a little digging and hard work. It will pay off immensly and give your work an air of truth that an over view like this can't provide. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience. Come to think of it, after this I think I'll creat a list on Listmania. I'll call it... A writer's guide to the mind. It'll have much more on it!

*And of course, all of these items are avaliable on Amazon.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Review of The Criminal Mind 7 Oct. 2002
By Anne B. Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback
Writer's Digest Books' The Criminal Mind by Katherine Ramsland is an insightful tool for the serious crime writer. It is more intellectual than most self-help writing books and can provide interesting ideas for fleshing out characters. It is deeply rooted in psychological theory and that makes it an exceptionally interesting read. Complex topics are explained in layman's terms. It is nice to have a writing guide by such a talented writer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I like it 28 Dec. 2012
By L. Lorn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very interesting. It is easy to read and understand. It's like watching a movie and since it is so detailed, it got me on the edge of my seat. Suspenseful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Worth the Money 22 Jan. 2015
By Eric Edwards - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It covered different aspects of Forensic Psychology and gave enough information, to get your own opinion of it.
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