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Enjoyable as a spoof comedy of profilers
on 29 June 2016
I'm staggered that this book has received so many 5-star reviews. The only way to really enjoy it is as a kind of spoof - a parody of criminal profilers, akin to Kevin Bishop's "Mind Cop" sketch.
Its insanely misbalanced in terms of how his inflated ego collides with a pretty sketchy understanding of criminal psychology. Its packed with cringe-worthy lines like "it was time for me to get inside the mind of the killer". At one point he likens the ability to read a crime scene to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphics. He writes things like "my interpretation of the killer was fact - all the clues supported it" which is not what a fact is. His profiles often end up basically the same, and based on commonalities of the crimes - whilst still making himself out to be some kind of intuitive genius who saves the day. Often the criminals are caught in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with his profiling - but he'll gloat on any "hits" of his predictions (e.g. a male! White! Under 40! Told you so!) as if they held some kind of value. At one point he even tells the police they have the wrong man, based purely on his subjective profile, which is madness. The section with the entrapment of Colin Stagg is where the would-be satire reaches a kind of crescendo that is devastatingly stupid and unprofessional (and apparently ruined his career).
I just can't imagine how so many people fell for this guy and his massive ego. If you're at all interested in profiling or forensic psychology, this should be read as a cautionary tale of how ego and bias can really get in the way.