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Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (Mindhunter #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  9,349 Ratings  ·  480 Reviews
He has hunted some of the most notorious and sadistic criminals of our time: The Trailside Killer in San Francisco, the Atlanta Child murderer. He has confronted, interviewed and researched dozens of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, and James Earl Ray - for a landmark study to understand their motives. To get inside th ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 397 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1988)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 12, 2012 Lightreads rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crime
So John Douglas is great when he’s talking about serial rape and child murder, and then he’s intensely obnoxious when he’s talking about anything else. So I guess it’s a good thing he mostly talks about rape and murder?

And when I say “John Douglas,” by the way, I mean John Douglas or his co/ghost writer, because who knows who wrote what. All I know is when this book talks about crime, it’s focused and intelligent and compassionate. And when it’s talking about anything else – the FBI, his home li
Misericordia ❣
Ok, this is pure wow. The fact that the author doesn't adopt the 'holier than thou stance' so common with law enforcement makes this an extremely enjoyable as well as worthwhile read.
In high school, I was already six foot two, which I used to my advantage. Talent-wise, we were a so-so team in a good league, and I knew it was up to the pitcher to try to be a field leader and set a winning tone. I had pretty good control for a high schooler, but I decided not to let the opposing batters know thi
Alex Hawkey
Jan 16, 2013 Alex Hawkey rated it it was amazing
This book is written buy one of the FBI's top profiles, John Douglas. The man has worked on the cases that are world renowned for being some of the most psychotic killings to date. He has researched killers and rapists, helped police officers catch the most dangerous of criminals, and taught local law enforcement how to pick out the warning signs of chronic offenders and dangerous people. This book tells of his life and how he came to be the man that would one day be the inspiration for Jack Cra ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Maureen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one in particular
Recommended to Maureen by: research
Shelves: crime
I must say, this book is a mixed bag. The story of the development of criminal profiling is certainly an interesting one, but I don't believe that Mr. Douglas deserves quite as much credit as he is willing to give himself. He also freely characterizes the killers in this book as monsters. Having worked with a number of this kind of person, I tend to see them more as broken human beings who deserve to be punished. The "monster" epithet implies that society has no responsibility in the way these k ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Miz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of criminal behaviour studies and of the literature surrounding it (including Silence of the Lands and Criminal Minds), this was a fascinating read for me. I did feel like it read as a bit boastful but if I had set the department up then maybe I would boast about it :)

I want to know when this type of profiling DOESN'T work, but also more modern cases. Sequel please :)
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 14, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
This is probably the true crime novel of all true crime novels, the one every fan of this genre should add to the top of their reading list. Mindhunter covers the story of several infamous criminals from "The Killer Clown" (John Wayne Gacy), to the pseudohippie Charles Manson. It was detailed, well-written and it shows how this crime until brought these criminals and many more to justice.
May 15, 2008 Terri rated it really liked it
I liked this book. John Douglas was one of the original profilers in the FBI and spent a lot of time interviewing these criminals and studying them. As well as getting gravely ill while working on the Green River Case. I think it would be really hard to separate from the evil they see.
Bean Delphiki
If you're deeply fascinated by criminology (and you're curious about the history of profiling), or you're a big fan of John E. Douglas, this book might be worth checking out. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a straightforward presentation of serial offender types and example cases, you're going to want to skip this one.

Douglas clearly fancies himself a bit of a storyteller, but he lacks any sense of drama or poetry that might make the book more readable. Instead, he comes off as a bit f
Bob Mayer
Jan 09, 2011 Bob Mayer rated it it was amazing
I used to think profilers were a bunch of, well, hooey. How did they come up with the profiles? Because a profile is not CSI evidence. It's not lifting a fingerprint. It's assessing a crime and coming up wit the type of person who would do it. Then I read this book years ago and Douglas describes how they formed the Behavioral Science Unit in the FBI. And it made sense. A certain type of person acts a certain type of way. I've since used profiling in my Warrior Writer program since you can profi ...more
Patti's Book Nook
I expected to be disturbed by this book. The subject is quite clear. I thought I had prepared myself through other literature and movies to hear the worst kinds of depravity that human beings can inflict on each other. However, I still found myself repeatedly shocked at the details in these cases.
John Douglas was one of the original profilers, who worked tirelessly to integrate behavior profiles into narrowing the focus of a complex case. The much-used phrases of modus operandi and signature w
Nicola Mansfield
Fantastic! Criminal profiling is one of my main interests or hobbies if you want to call it that and this is like the classic primer. John Douglas is the man who coined the term "profiling"; he didn't invent it, but he basically started the modern science we know today. I didn't learn anything new about the psychology, but this was fascinating from an historical point of view as a memoir and a history of the BSU and the FBI itself. Douglas joined the FBI when Hoover was still the Chief and if yo ...more
Jul 10, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Sheila Moak
Shelves: reference-books
As someone who's a huge fan of shows like Criminal Minds and books like Silence of the Lambs, I was very excited to get my hands on a book that dealt with the nonfiction, more scientific aspect of serial killers and their psyches. I was also very pleased to find that the books and shows I've enjoyed so much are also somewhat accurate; that makes me enjoy them even more.

John Douglas, or his co-writer, did an excellent job keeping a very complicated topic accessible for the rest of us. His own sen
Sep 17, 2013 Alex_k rated it really liked it
Turns out that most serial killers are rather predictable and not very interesting. Once you've disassembled the minds of a dozen, you've cracked 95% of them. But it took lots of effort to have that dozen figured out. John Douglas was not the first criminal profiler in history, but he successfully worked to integrate criminal profiling into the FBI's criminal investigations.

As another reviewer said, the book is somewhat repetitive but to me it's a sign it's true to life: serial murderers may thi
Dec 03, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is how Mindhunter works: Douglas tells us about a crime, like a young girl who was raped and left for dead or a twenty-something who was murdered and tied up in an odd position in line with some odd ritualistic fantasy. From that he explains how he profiled the suspect: usually it's a male in his late twenties to early thirties who dresses scruffily and has next to no social skills. Finally, he relays how he went about catching said suspect.

The book is repetitive in this nature, but might
Jan 29, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
So after years of being a huge fan of the TV show Criminal minds I decided to begin to read into the real life cases that inspired many of the episodes. I found this book Written by John Douglas who basically started the Behavioural Sciences Unit of the FBI. Found this book really interesting with regards to how the practice came into its own and how it helped in certain cases including; B.T.K, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy to name a few. It also talks about Robert Hansen ( the film Frozen Ground is ...more
Steve Kemp
Jun 28, 2013 Steve Kemp rated it did not like it
John Douglas has one hell of an ego on him that is for sure ! He loves to take a lot of credit that is due a different person. Same goes for all of his other books. Usually some good stuff in his books ,but you have to wade through the ocean of bullshit to get to it.
Apr 09, 2016 Tasha-Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tasha-Lynn by: Jason Korbus
I think this is a 4-4.5/5 for me. Audio was read by John Douglas and very well done.
The Books Blender
Mar 09, 2017 The Books Blender rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Questa recensione è presente anche sul blog:

Fare profiling, quando ancora la parola risuonava simile a un rito di propiziazione degli dei, non è proprio un compito facile tra casi che si accumulano in ogni parte del mondo; pressioni e - comprensibili - insistenze da parte delle famiglie offese, della comunità, magari anche dei media; burocrazia governativa; diffidenza e circospezione da parte dei poliziotti di turno.

Ma questo è il lavoro di John e questa
Jul 31, 2016 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mindhunter ist kein leichter Lese-Tobak: John Douglas erzählt zwar von der Gründung der Behavioral Science, ihrer Weiterentwicklung und dem Part, den er dabei gespielt hat, flicht dabei aber unzählige – gelöste wie ungelöste – Fälle aus den 50ern bis in die 80er Jahre hinein ein, die seinen Werdegang begleitet oder die Behavioral Science Unit geprägt haben. Dass diese heutzutage einen anderen Namen trägt, nämlich Investigative Science Unit, ist ebenfalls Douglas' Werk und beschreibt deren Zugang ...more
Adam Voyton
Mar 18, 2014 Adam Voyton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My high school psychology teacher told me about this book. I remember he told the class what it was about, but then said that it was much too graphic and mature for high school students to of course I immediately met that challenge and checked it out of the library.

The book is an autobiography of John Douglas. He essentially invented criminal profiling - the ability to analysis the elements of a murder scene and determine the personality and physical characteristics of a killer. Mr.
Jul 21, 2009 Nathan rated it it was amazing
In a recent interview at a Prosecutor's office I was asked what the most recent 'good' book I read was. I said that I was in the middle of this one - and it is fascinating. It is like reading a modern Sherlock Holmes fiction.

This is a biography about an FBI agent to profiles serial killers in an effort to help local police departments focus their search. And in some cases, he vividly describes crime scenes of horror -so be warned!

1) I, apparently, had no idea that there were so many of these bad
Feb 29, 2008 Chriss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the concept of criminal profiling became part of every evening newscast, it was obvious that it was more than just luck and good guessing on someone's part. I, like many interested folk wanted to know what this new concept was so I read John Douglas's book. I was captivated while reading each case and could understand how the emotional toll of what he was working with could play havoc the way it did. But the graphic descriptions lose their intensity when you start looking at the clues from ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Lauren rated it it was ok
If I hadn't read two books about serial killers back-to-back, I might have enjoyed this more.

But probably not.

The writing style was the first thing to really annoy me, and I'm not sure whether to fault Douglas or his co-writer for that. i imagine the casual, storyteller tone was done intensionally, but I have no idea what it was meant to accomplish. However, I now completely subscribe to the theory that the character of Jason Gideon was based on John Douglas. Both are pretty damn full of themsel
Jan 25, 2014 Bob rated it liked it
Interesting, but at times frustrating because this book tries to be both a book about how an FBI Profiler is created and a book about the cases the profiler handled. In trying to be both, it often is neither.

At times it is very interesting and worthy of 4 stars, or more? However, the recurring act of patting himself on the back resulted in the loss of 1/2 star from me, and probably a rotator cuff injury from himself. I also could have done with a bit less of his personal story, which cost him an
Aug 06, 2010 Abby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was the first of the John Douglas works that I'd read.
I would say read this book in daylight. (I have a desperate fear of reading this one in the dark. {Maybe I'm just lame}) I wouldn't suggest (like a mouldy old joke states) reading this in the Police Station.
But, it is well written. Actually, I felt as though we were in his study/library, and he was telling me about his career and the serial killers he'd either interviewed or caught.
What did I learn from this book: There are no signs att
Jan 02, 2013 Jake rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece that all libertarians should read. This book shows the legitimate side of government, the benevolence it provides, while it makes the strongest case possible against prohibitionism. It reveals the origins and practices of the FBI's profiling division, the ISU. Fascinating, Outstanding, ...a must-read, from one of the most heroic human beings on the planet.

Warning: Contains many detailed descriptions of unimaginable horrors of serial killer investigation. A thousand times more horri
This is a long book, but it reads pretty easily. As far as true crime goes, this delves a little deeper into the psychology than it does into the forensic drama, which I enjoyed quite a bit. It trusts us as readers to already know a lot about crime and crime history, targeting the audience in the right way. Douglas is obviously a smart guy and has a lot of amazing information to share. It's a bit dated now, but I'd be interested in reading some of his other books.
May 09, 2016 Chuck rated it really liked it

Apr 22, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
This was an intense book, but an illuminating, interesting, and ultimately valuable one. This is not a book to read if you have a weak stomach, however.

John Douglas is a bit a legend, and seeing the process behind the formation of VICAP and the development of the tool of profiling is interesting from a historical perspective. Douglas provided a great gift to society by developing his method and cracking open the cases in the book. I appreciate his perspective on parole boards, psychiatry, and th
Elaine Nickolan
Oct 25, 2016 Elaine Nickolan rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was very interesting reading about the formation of the profiling unit of the FBI. Many of the cases discussed were ones I was familiar with. It was interesting to hear about the "before" of the killer. What happened to them prior to getting to the point that they commit these horrendous crimes? I would have given 5 stars but I have to agree with other that reviewed before me, that after awhile John Douglas started sounding like he did it all by himself. I would de ...more
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John Edward Douglas is a former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, one of the first criminal profilers, and criminal psychology author. He also wrote four horror novels in the mid 1990s.

More about John E. Douglas...

Other Books in the Series

Mindhunter (2 books)
  • Journey Into Darkness

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“[Talking about Monte Rissell] ...and like Ed Kemper he was able to convince the psychiatrist he was making excellent progress while he was actually killing human beings. This is kind of a sick version of the old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb. The answer being, just one, but only if the light bulb wants to change.” 4 likes
“Foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes. —WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet” 1 likes
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