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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

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Progress: 73 %
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The Bungalow Mystery
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The Bungalow Mystery #3
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages

Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit ★★★★☆

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit - John E. (Edward) Douglas, Mark Olshaker

Part autobiography, part true crime, and part history of the FBI’s development of criminal profiling, this book kept me absorbed while waiting in line, avoiding chores, and at the ballpark waiting for the game to start. Not only does the author discuss how their theories were developed and tested, he gives many examples from real cases.


It does have flaws, though. The casual, spoken-word style of narrative implies that this was ghost-written from recorded interview sessions and is a little off-putting. Douglas also chooses to only share examples where their profiles were a match to the killer, giving the impression that they were flawless in their predictions. I know that can’t possibly be the case, and the very fact that he offers this pretense of perfection makes the whole book a little suspect, whereas if he’d included an honest discussion of trial and error and the limitations of this work, or even where it can go badly wrong if misapplied, I’d have more confidence in the conclusions/assertions he forwards.


Paperback version, found in a fairly yellowed and tattered state at a used bookstore.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Serial/Spree Killer: A sub-genre of crime fiction that involves the detection of serial or spree killers. That, of course, is the whole point of this book.


Prior Updates:

Sep02 0/416pg

Sep03 56/416pg

Sep05 144/416pg

Sep07 244/416pg

Sep08 343/416pg