The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter

Dey St: HarperCollins. May 2019. 352p. ISBN 9780062910639. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062910653. CRIME
A high school chemistry teacher, the owner of a successful realty business, a longtime health-care worker, a man affectionately known as Uncle Joe. All were brutal killers. Here Douglas, an icon of criminal psychology and profiling, retired FBI unit chief, author of numerous books on criminal behavior (Mindhunter; Journey Into Darkness; The Cases That Haunt Us), and the inspiration for Netflix’s Mindhunter, sits down with four convicted killers to discern what makes them tick. Were they insane? No, Douglas argues. They each made a rational choice to kill. As the author unravels their tales, he introduces characteristics common to murderers: feelings of omnipotence coupled with feelings of inadequacy; a history of cruelty to animals, fire starting, and bed wetting in their youth; their shared belief that something or someone else bore the responsibility for their behavior.
VERDICT Douglas’s latest is harrowing and hard to put down; this will be welcomed by true crime buffs and law enforcement professionals alike

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