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Finishing School (Criminal Minds #3)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  427 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
From Edgar Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Max Allan Collins

BASED ON THE CBS TELEVISION SHOW HAILED AS “The network’s best new offering.” (Wall Street Journal)

Watched by nearly 18 million fans weekly

The bodies of three young girls are discovered in the woods of Bemidji, Minnesota, the result of barbiturate poisoning. Unable to identify the victims, the l
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Signet (first published May 6th 2008)
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Jul 07, 2010 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three hunters in the woods of Bemidji, Minnosota stumble upon a decomposed hand while tracking a deer. The local police are called in and discover the bodies of three blonde girls ranging from ages 12-15. Fearing they had a serial killer on their hands, the Behavioral Analyst Unit (BAU) is called in to investigate these murders. After Jennifer Jareau, JJ to her friends, finds the case, shehands it over to the team. They gear up and travel to the freezing cold Minnosota to track the killer. While ...more
Feb 11, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I am a big fan of the TV show so when I found out that there were tie-in novels, I immediately pounced on them. I haven't been able to find #1 or #2 yet but Finishing School is an amazing way to get introduced to the fiction-world of Criminal Minds, seeing as how most tie-in novels don't relate to each other much anyway.

This book is a great companion to the TV show and I could really see it being played on like an episode on the show. My only 'complaint' of sorts is that the TV show does feature
Sian Wadey
Apr 05, 2011 Sian Wadey rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mysteries
Finishing School by Max Allan Collins

I'm a big fan of Criminal Minds, and when I realised there were accompanying books I couldn't wait to purchase them. As I knew already, Collins does a good job at translating the characters to books, a task I wouldn't wish on anybody. It was great reading new stories about some of my favourite characters. Overall, they're a good, easy read that require practically no imagination because you already know the people and their history, but they're nothing specia
Apr 19, 2013 Dorottya rated it really liked it
I have had mixed experiences with Max Allan Collins's CSI books, so I was really interested how he excelled at a Criminal Minds story, especially as this show is probably my favorite, and also because it has a totally different structure from CSI.
I thought this novel was fine, except for some logical anomalies in the investigation, mainly in the beginning. Other than that, I thought the gist of the main characters' personalities was grabbed and captures in a really great way, especially seeing h
Dec 08, 2008 Randy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: thriller fans
This is Collins' third entry in the series and by far the best. The show features superior writing and Collins doesn't let down in the books. He's a writer that, whether he's working on his originals, doing a movie adaptation, or a novel based on a series, does the research necessary to make them more than potboilers.
Three bodies are found buried side by side in the forest. All were teenage girls in the thirteen to fourteen age range. Wisps of hair show they were all blonde.
As the identities are
Oct 19, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Loved this book more than the other 2 in the series. The only downside is that (for some reason) the author insists on reminding us in EVERY chapter (and then some) of the characters full names. It became rather annoying.
The story follows closely to at least 3 Criminal Minds episodes and yet is not something that a Criminal Minds fan would have seen in any of the wonderful 11 seasons. This was a bonus as sometimes authors tend to rewrite episodes and fail at it :)
Loved the strength given to the
Dec 20, 2009 Eric_W rated it liked it
I don't know how he does it. I first ran across Collins reading his Nate Heller series. They were pretty good. Then I discovered the Quarry series; they were even better. Now I've found the Criminal minds series. I understand he writes a lot of books based on movies and TV series. It's my understand that his Saving Private Ryan was as good as the movie.

Short plot summary: serial kidnapper abducts blond female toddlers for his "family" but then has to kill them when they reach puberty. FBI and co
Jan 09, 2015 Rachel rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
Let's put it this way - the author is absolutely a fan of the show. His descriptions of the team are very positive. They are heroes, superstars, and in one case a male model. Collins seems to particularly adore Rossi. Most chapters somehow involve a mention of the fact that Rossi is a highly successful author. It didn't come up in the epilogue, but it was brought up so often that I started to look for it.
I suppose I just never really saw the show as a cosy mystery where everyone is best! friends
Aug 31, 2010 Crystal rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This book seemed to be exactly what I would have expected from a book written around a TV show. It was not brilliant writing, awkward with its overwhelming amount of descriptions, especially of characters that were incidental to the plot. But the story was well done, the characters seemed true to the series, and the book was relatively enjoyable (once you get past the first section--that was just awful.)
I'm planning to read more books by the author, this series AND the Burn Notice ones he does.
Duane Rygh
May 15, 2011 Duane Rygh rated it really liked it
Overall a good story, follows the spirit of the show well plus, for the most part, captures the characters well even though at times it seems forced on the author's part. One major continuity error on pg. 184 made me go back through the book to see if I had missed something but my suspicions we're proven correct on pg. 194. As a huge fan of the TV show I'll read the other two novels, only because they're quick reads and Jump Cut has Gideon in the story.
Ariadne .
Mar 19, 2011 Ariadne . rated it really liked it
This is definitely the best book of the Criminal Minds based series by Max Allan Collins. The writing is so much better and enticing, I couldn't stop reading until I was over with it.

The plot was well thought and it followed things like the unsub involving himself in the investigation, which was a nice touch (keeping the show's facts). The Unsubs were also well portrayed and it was really nice that they were presented well into the story, and not at the beginning.

Feb 02, 2015 Ed rated it liked it
#3 in the Criminal Mind series. Novels based on the TV series.

Criminal Mind series: The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit team is invited to Bemidji, MN when three graves are discovered by hunters. The graves are all of 12-14 year old blonde girls killed and buried over a period of up to a year. As the identities are discovered, it is found that all three girls were kidnapped as three year olds in GA and AL.
Dec 07, 2011 Carmel rated it liked it
The final book of the Criminal Minds Novel series. I was really sad to finish them. :(

The plot is Finishing School was really interesting. It was a gripping plot full with twist and turns.
For me, the characters seemed most in character in this book. I think Collins finally found the proper way to convey the BAU team. Sadly, he found it when writing the last book. So here's hoping to more!
gotta love a good criminal minds book. the last one i read wasn't much fun because you knew who did it right away. it even said his name. but this one had more mystery to it and i like it. i also liked the plot for it because the woman was the dominant was a different way to go than most stories
Nov 27, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: mine, read-in-2013
Another solid and fairly enjoyable installment of the Criminal Minds novels. Sadly, the characters were a little off once again but that didn't overly influence the story so it's forgivable. I only wish that there had been a little more heart in the whole little series. Fans of the show should read anyway, it's a nice way to spend a night or two with the team.
Oct 07, 2009 Jo rated it really liked it
I kind of hovered between 3 and 4 stars for this because it's readable but not outstanding but I loved it just that little bit more because I'm a huge fan of Criminal Minds. This is the 3rd of Collins' novels based on the show that I've read and I still don't get the author's obsession with describing in detail what everybody is wearing. One for fans of the show only.
Jul 17, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
Well, it's not good. Not well written, the characters are wooden, none of the spunk and lovableness of the TV characters. If you like the show, just stick with the show. Trying to translate the chemistry of the characters into a book just doesn't work.
Nov 10, 2013 Stina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criminal-minds
Brilliant! Just like watching the show. I could even see the expressions on their faces - Hotch's seriousness, Rossi's smirks, Spencer spouting statistics and probabilities like a walking encyclopedia and Morgan's dazzling smiles. Thoroughly enjoyable without being heavy reading
Nicole Sullivan
Feb 20, 2013 Nicole Sullivan rated it it was amazing
just like watching an episode! it took me more than 2 weeks to read it because i didnt want it to be over. it also captures the characters perfectly. definitely buying another from the series!
Jul 04, 2012 John rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-mile
A surprisingly good novelization of the television series. You have to be familiar with the television show and cast to fully appreciate it, but if you are you will enjoy it.
Natalia Baker
Oct 26, 2015 Natalia Baker rated it liked it
Good book for commuting. The plot was fair, not too in depth. Good read if you're looking for something light and easy.
Jan 10, 2013 Kayley rated it it was ok
Shelves: at-library
I didn't really like it that much. It was way too different from the TV series and I could barely get through it. It just wasn't the same!
Sep 10, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
This was a thrilling read, especially for fans of the TV series Criminal Minds...of which I am!

I appreciate that the author kept the characters true to their TV persona.
Feb 27, 2012 Miz rated it really liked it
Was a very easy read but still think the tv show is better! Interesting to get a writers view on the characters though :)
Mar 07, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Susana
Shelves: myst
Reminded me heavily of the book. Could see the scenes being played out, hear the characters speaking.
Lisa rated it it was amazing
Oct 25, 2015
Brenda rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2012
Christy rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2012
Tatyana rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2013
Jen rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2014
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2006.

He has also published under the name Patrick Culhane. He and his wife, Barbara Collins, have written several books together. Some of them are published under the name Barbara Allan.

Book Awards
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1984) : True Detective
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1992) : Stolen Away
Shamus Awards Best Novel nom
More about Max Allan Collins...

Other Books in the Series

Criminal Minds (3 books)
  • Jump Cut (Criminal Minds, #1)
  • Killer Profile (Criminal Minds, #2)

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