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The Cases That Haunt Us: From Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Sheds New Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away
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The Cases That Haunt Us: From Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Sheds New Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  6,780 Ratings  ·  239 Reviews
America's foremost expert on criminal profiling provides his uniquely gripping analysis of seven of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime -- from the Whitechapel murders to JonBenet Ramsey -- often contradicting conventional wisdom and legal decisions.
Jack the Ripper. Lizzie Borden. The Zodiac Killer. Certain homicide cases maintain an undeniable, almos
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Scribner (first published 2000)
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Jul 24, 2014 ``Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed reading books by the famous FBI profiler John Douglas and this book certainly didn't disappoint. Douglas reviews several famous cases, gives his views on them and then profiles several killers who were never caught including Jack the Ripper.
Others included the Zodiac Killer and the Lizzie Borden ax murders. (view spoiler)
I enjoyed this, but the author irritated the hell out of me so I can't give it any higher than 2.5 stars.. For one, I believe he should have left out the Ramsey case because he's clearly biased and not playing fair with the reader. Second, he has a fat head, if Douglas could downsize his ego and stop mentioning all of his accomplishments every other paragraph it would make much easier reading!

That said, I did like this book. I loved the variety of the cases and that different perspectives were
Jun 13, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Douglas is one of the first criminal profilers in the country--and he lets you know it. He should have called this one "The Me Me That Me Me." This book is full of statements like "I flew across the country (at my own expense--I had since refused any and all payment for my services) to interview so and so. . " It starts out well, but soon devolves into Douglas patting himself on the back and talking over your head.
John Douglas uses his experience with profiling to give his take on various famous unsolved Crimes such as Jack The Ripper, Lizzie Borden, The Lindburgh Kidnapping, JonBenet Ramsey and The Black Dahlia.

He presents the evidence and explains what he believes from it. He debunks some theories with his explanations as to why.

It as an interesting book and I like that he supports his reasoning with his FBI experience of profiling crimes.

These are cases that likely we will never know the answers to for
Lee Anne
I don't read true crime like I used to, because I'm older, I have a kid, and reading about sex murders isn't fun any more, and thanks to C.S.I. crap, everybody thinks forensics is cool, and that makes it less cool. But I've read all of John Douglas' books (except the Unabomber one--yawn, and the novel, because who cares?), and this has been in my "to read" pile for years, and I thought it would be a creepy Halloween season read.

John Douglas is the inspiration for the Scott Glenn character in Sil
Feather Dust
I love a good mystery, even more so when it is focused on real life events. I read this book years ago and keep having my mind focus back to it. Gruesome and sad stories make you ponder why another human being would be guilty of such a terrible crime. Spooky and eerie, I recommend this book.
A very interesting book, with enough information and tantalizing clues to stimulate any armchair detective. My second time of reading, and I find it just as fascinating as the first time around.
I'm very hesitant about this book. Although Douglas is a well-respected and almost singularly talented profiler, having read one of his other books I found him to be exceptionally arrogant and dismissive about facts that don't fit into his theories. I would never admit to knowing more about this subject than John Douglas but leaving out evidence has never say well with me, no matter how revolutionary the man is. But I'm really trying to go into this book with an open mind- I'm especially interes ...more

John Douglas puts his FBI profiling skills to work on several cases, ranging from the Jack the Ripper murders to JonBenet Ramsey's death. Lots of detail here as he walks the reader through how a criminal profiler approaches a case. He generally presents the facts as they were known at the time, as well as touching on how our understanding of those facts may have changed over time. Once he has covered the case in detail, he presents how he would have worked each case, methods he might have utiliz
Apr 11, 2012 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True crime books are like crack cocaine for me, and this one was no different. I read it fairly compulsively over three days, and was generally satisfied at the end. I felt like his treatment of the Jack the Ripper case was really thorough and illuminating, as were his chapters on the Lindbergh kidnapping and Lizzie Borden. Things started to fall apart for me after that, with a lot of the material feeling like filler to bridge to his chapter on the Ramsey case, which is obviously a personal pass ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this some time ago...after my "true crime" period. Occasionally something will click and I'll look up a book on a given subject. Douglas was an FBI Special Agent and one of the earliest criminal profilers.

Here he takes a look at several "interesting" high profile cases from the past and (the book's) present. The Zodiac Killer (a case never solved), The Black Dalia (also never solved), Bambi Bembenek (accused of murder, escaped, recaptured and awarded a new trial. She finally agreed to pl
Mary JL
Oct 02, 2013 Mary JL rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am starting to find some interest in True Crime as a genre. For years, I have read mystery fiction; now I am becoming interest in real cases as well.

The author, a former FBI profiler for over 20 years, has focused on cases that have haunted a lot of us---not haunted as in supernatural---but haunting in their effect on us and the controversies that surround certain cases. I mean, it is over 100 years ago and we are still fascinated by Jack the Ripper.

Of course, these are still only the opinions
Oct 11, 2012 Gayle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Saw this book referenced in another that I read, and picked it up at the library since I absolutely love true crime mysteries.

I'm not certain what I expected exactly, but wasn't really impressed with most of the author's analysis of well-known crimes. Once I got to the last case/chapter, I got the feeling that the entire book was written just so that the author, who consulted with the Ramsey attorneys, could justify and re-argue his case for making the decisions that he made on the JonBenet Rams
Melissa Wells
Sep 11, 2015 Melissa Wells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty interesting read, especially the Jack The Ripper, Lizzie Borden, Lindbergh, Black Dahlia & JonBenet Ramsey cases. Some small parts dragged a little but the majority of the book was really interesting. I also want to say that I went into the Ramsey case in this book with the complete belief that Patsy Ramsey was the murderer, especially after reading lead Detective Steve Thomas's book before this one "JonBenet: Inside The Ramsey Murder Investigation". However, after reading ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a fascination with unsolved or questionably solved crimes, ever since I did a research paper on the Lindburgh kidnapping in high school. That case is here, along with seven others. I really liked that the author of this book, an FBI-trained criminal profiler, presented the facts and then used his knowledge of "killer" personalities to give his opinions on the different suspects presented, but still leaves the reader to draw your own conclusions. I have read quite a bit about Jack the Ripp ...more
Aleisha Z Coleman
Jun 12, 2009 Aleisha Z Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From what I understand John Douglas is one of the first FBI behavior profilers for murderers. He is one of the reasons we have the TV shows like Criminal Minds, Psych, The Profiler etc. Like the rest of the world, I am fascinated with behavior and the accompany reasons of what it takes for "normal" people to get involved in tragic events such as murder. There but for the grace of God go most of us, pray hard that most of us never have to to be involved in something so ugly. This book analyzes so ...more
Liza Nikitas
Nov 30, 2010 Liza Nikitas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i flew through this book - really enjoyed. i think i had a past life as a forensics expert or something, this stuff really fascinates me. i wanted to read it mostly for the piece on the jonbenet ramsey case but found the others almost as interesting (jack the ripper, lindbergh baby kidnapping, lizzie borden, etc). the author's arrogance comes through a bit too much, but hey, if i had his credentials i think i'd be arrogant too.
In his book, Douglas tackles many of the famous unsolved cases that still haunt and fascinate humanity today, from Jack the Ripper to Lizzie Borden. He uses his expertise as a profiler to analyze evidence and theories, and explain what he thinks the true solutions are.

The writing style can be a little dry, but Douglas has a lot of experience to bring to the table, and it is very interesting to read his theories and reasoning.
Apr 11, 2008 Anjiebringhurst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book but it's definitely not for everyone. Very graphic and disturbing, it reviews unsolved murder cases. The author is basically the father of criminal profiling. Very violent. Douglas profiles famous unsolved mysteries including Jack the Ripper, Lindbergh kidnapping, Lizzie Borden case, & Jon Benet Ramsey.
Neil White
Feb 15, 2012 Neil White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I get an itch to read true crime every now and then, but it's difficult to separate the valid, well-researched and objective narratives from the sensationalistic money grabs from a biased source that prefers to take a theory and run with it, disregarding any evidence that doesn't fit. (I'm looking at you, Patricia Cornwell - stick to fiction.) So, I like to choose wisely. This one came highly recommended on Amazon, and I was familiar enough with John Douglas, who basically invented criminal prof ...more
Taylor Hart
Oct 16, 2013 Taylor Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Throughout history there have been many cases of serial murders in the world. Many of these cases have been solved, however some of the most notorious killings such as Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer are still unsolved. The Cases that Haunt Us tells the chilling true stories of; Jack the Ripper, The Zodiac Killer, Lizzie Borden, The Lindbergh Kidnapping, and the JonBenet Ramsey Murder. Written by veteran detective John Douglas The Cases that Haunt Us reveals the analysis from the cases and ...more
I won't deny this book was fascinating, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. As some reviewers have mentioned before me, John Douglas appears to be somewhat of a narcissist. He's not afraid to point out how wonderful and intelligent he thinks he is. That got on my nerves.

What bothered me more though, was that I didn't feel completely convinced or impressed with the conclusions, sometimes it felt like a speeddate between Clue and a criminal profiler. I don't know how much time was spent
John E Douglas features the following cases in this book. These are the chapter titles, in American Dreams/American Nightmares he covers the three cases listed.
Jack the Ripper
Lizzie Borden
The Lindbergh Kidnapping
The Zodiac
American Dreams/American Nightmares
"The Black Dahlia" Elizabeth Short
"Lawrencia Bembenek" 'Bambi'
'The "Boston Strangler" Albert Henry DeSalvo

The Jon Benet Ramsey Murder

Although I 'know' all these cases, I have not done much reading on them. I prefer to read about less known ca
Eric Parsons
Jan 14, 2017 Eric Parsons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Douglas takes on certain cases--Jack The Ripper, Lindberg baby murder, Zodiac, Jonbenet Ramsey, among others--and deciphers evidence to identify the type of person who committed the acts. While he only identifies one actual person (Hauptman in the Lindberg case) and identifies who he thinks is the most likely Ripper suspect from a pseudonym offered, he maintains a bit of distance by simply discussing the type of person responsible and identifying key markers that make him feel this way.

Jun 29, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I had to snort a little while I was reading because there is an almost comical degree of false modesty and braggadocio that comes across from John Douglas in his books, but hell, I wouldn't ever argue that he doesn't know his shit. These are interesting, clear-headed, and concise examinations of really interesting criminal cases, and I think he's dead-on for the most part in his analyses of the historical instances here, though his look at the JonBenet mystery is less successful, and I don't thi ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, true-crime
Candy to a true crime junkie like me, this book is written with authority by someone who knows his stuff and can lend insight to some of history's most famous murderers who were never brought to justice. The writing is descriptive and provides alluring details without bogging down the reader. Some quirks of Douglas' bothered me (faux humility, his use of "pathetic") but it is easy to filter with the fascinating topics at hand. The Zodiac case is my favourite so I enjoyed that chapter, but I find ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Flora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I've read a lot of true crime, and this is one of the best. FBI guru John Douglas analyzes the case files of a series of famous unsolved murder cases, from Jack the Ripper to the Zodiac to JonBenet, and offers his own "profiles" of the perpetrators, blasting through much of the received thinking on the subject. Don't get me started on the flaws of profiling (which has done a fair share of damage on the "received thinking" front), but this is a fascinating book, probably because the cases are tre ...more
Since a lot of reviews prior cover my difficulties with this book, I will not go into detail here, since my time is limited, but I was disappointed as well as annoyed by how little the suspects were covered and especially, a pertaining to the last case featured. I quit reading after perusing reviews since what they said about his take on the last case made me know, I would end the book with a worse taste in my mouth worse than I already had.
Jennifer Daniel
I could believe his theories on all of the cases up until the last chapter. He was consistant and logical in his approach until the JonBenet Ramsey crime. If you refer back to a South Carolina child murder case he profiles in Mindhunter you will see he totally contradicts himself when speaking of the Ramseys'. Did they buy him off or what?
I went through a big John Douglas phase and really, who can resist going through cases like Lizzie Borden, OJ, and Jean-Benet Ramsay (sp?) through the eyes of the original "Mindhunter"... Not I. A fast, interesting read if you dig true crime.
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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...

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“I've come out many times publicly in support of the death penalty. I've stated that I'd be more than willing personally to pull the switch on some of the monsters I've hunted in my career with the FBI. But Bruno Hauptmann just doesn't fit into this category -- the evidence just wasn't, and isn't, there to have confidently sent him to the electric chair. To impose the one sentence for which there is no retroactive correction requires a far higher standard of proof than was seen here. Blaming him for the entire crime was, to my mind, an expedient and simpleminded solution to a private horror that had become a national obsession.” 5 likes
“had been ripped open, and her intestines” 1 likes
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