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The Cases That Haunt Us

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  10,062 ratings  ·  464 reviews
Violent. Provocative. Shocking. Call them what you will...but don't call them open and shut. Did Lizzie Borden murder her own father and stepmother? Was Jack the Ripper actually the Duke of Clarence? Who killed JonBenet Ramsey?

America's foremost expert on criminal profiling and twenty-five-year FBI veteran John Douglas, along with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, explor
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Pocket Books (first published 2000)
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Jayne Sergent Great question! Probably not, since their minds were made up on day one.
Great question! Probably not, since their minds were made up on day one.
Jayne Sergent I'm almost finished with the book and it is a great read if you're a true crime fan and a John Douglas admirer as I am.
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  10,062 ratings  ·  464 reviews

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May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cases That Haunt Us follows Douglas as he explores several unsolved cases through history, ranging from Jack the Ripper, the Black Dahlia to JonBenet Ramsay, using his unique insight into criminal profiling to try and answer the ultimate question: who dunnit?

This was an interesting read, helped greatly by Douglas having turned down the personality just enough to present himself as the expert he clearly is without being overbearing during his presentation of the cases. He goes through each on
``Laurie Henderson
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
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 sat 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
Lisa Robbins
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Famed former FBI profiler John Douglas took a thorough look at several historical cases that have kept people interested for many years, going through victimology and profiling of the UNSUB. I learned many interesting facts about these old cases that I didn’t know and I enjoyed his analysis of the crimes. It was interesting to get the perspective of a profiler on cases that happened long before profiling was a thing. He didn’t have all the answers to solve the crimes, but he had some interesting ...more
Mariah Roze
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for the Goodreads' book club: Diversity in All Forms! If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link:

"America's foremost expert on criminal profiling and twenty-five-year FBI veteran John Douglas, along with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, explores those tantalizing questions and more in this mesmerizing work of detection. With uniquely gripping analysis, the authors reexamine and reinterpret the accepted facts, e
Lee Anne
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Claire- Louise
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found the Jack the Ripper profiling particularly interesting as well as the Boston Strangler case. This book also offered a new perspective on the murder of poor little Jon Benet, one which I have to say I now agree with.
Erin Clemence
“The Cases that Haunt Us” re-evaluates some of the most notorious, unsolved crimes in history, and looks at them with the modern technologies and theories that exist in the 2000’s. Written by John Douglas (former FBI profiler) and his writing partner, Mark Olshaker, this novel delves deep into the world’s most violent and memorable crimes, from Jack the Ripper to The Black Dahlia, The Zodiac and Jon Benet Ramsey, to name a few.

Douglas evaluates the cases that everyone is familiar with, introd
Mary JL
Oct 02, 2013 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
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
Famed "Mindhunter" profiler examines famous cases from the past, i.e. Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Zodiac, etc. There are no answers here, but Douglas offers his thoughts on how to analyze the evidence. I found it interesting that he believed that Borden was guilty, as was Bruno Hauptmann, and that John and Patsy Ramsey had nothing to do with their daughter's death.
3.5. FBI profiler and inspiration for many a TV and movie character John Douglas examines some of the most infamous unsolved American murders (plus Jack the Ripper) and works his mindhunting magic on them. I liked it because it's much less about him than the Mindhunter book (sorry, but if you're not going to tell tales of driving to Chicago with your cats in the car and your mustache blowing in the wind like Jeffrey L. Rinek I don't want to hear that much about your personal life, stick to the g ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I was hoping for a little more opinion on some of these cases (especially the Lizzie Bordon case). I was already familiar with the majority of the cases, but it turns out there was a lot about the Lindbergh case I didn't know.

There was a small chapter that briefly deals with a few crimes where Douglas suspects the real killer hasn't been caught. He mentions the Boston Strangler, for with Albert DeSalvo confessed, but based on the crimes he was committing after the murders (rapes) it does seem u
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it

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
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Katherine "Kj" Joslin
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a great review of a few high profile cases.
John Douglas is clearly a smart and confident profiler HOWEVER .... the self-stroking in his books is more than a little annoying. I enjoy him pointing out where other law enforcement officers took a different approach but it comes with an exhale of hot air as he pats himself on the back for his "superior ideas." This behavior is far less prevalent in this book (until you get to the Jon-Benet Ramsey chapters) than in his other books, perhaps bec
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
John E. Douglas never disappoints me, though I must say that the chapter on the Zodiac was a little bit weak.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
To me this was just a rehash of a bunch of old cases I've heard about a million times, with no new or special insight into them.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every true crime nerd has heard of these infamous unsolved cases: Lizzie Borden, JeanBenet Ramsey, the Zodiac, Black Dahlia, and Jack the Ripper. These cases and more that are in the book captivated the minds of the world not only at the time of their occurrence but decades and even centuries later. There is a desperate thirst for truth. A thirst that Douglas warns to be wary to quench.

This book is as brilliant and well put together as any other he has written. If you liked Mindhunter and The
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is my first book by the famous John E. Douglas and I have all the rest on my TBR list! The author has a unique insight into victimology and criminal profiling, leaving no stone unturned in each case that is discussed. Most, if not all, of the cases in this book are very high-profile, but I still learned facts that I didn’t know previously! These are unsolved cases so of course there’s a feeling of frustration or incompleteness at the end of each chapter, however Douglas provides an analysis ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought I had finished this years ago but then remembered I actually hadn't with one chapter to go (arguably the worst chapter in the book as Douglas is extremely biased regarding the JonBenet Ramsay case).

That said, this is still a pretty decent book focusing on different unsolved cases.
Aya Hamouda
That Was a really good Start for The Summer Vacation..
Nerdish Mum
Review to follow.
Katherine Addison
FBI profiling techniques applied to famous unsolved (or dubiously solved) crimes: Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, Bruno Hauptmann, the Zodiac, JonBenet Ramsey, the Black Dahlia, the Boston Strangler, and Laurie Bembenek. (It's odd, looking at that sentence, how some crimes are known, in shorthand, for their victim, some for the criminal, and some for the person accused. And the Lindbergh case is immediately recognizable from both sides.) Douglas and Olshaker are very rational, very commonsensica ...more
Lady ♥ Belleza
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
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Diversity in All ...: The Cases That Haunt Us (June 2020) 6 39 Jul 08, 2020 08:00AM  

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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. -Wikipedia

During his twenty-five year career with the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, a name he later changed to The Investigative Science Unit (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995), John Douglas becam

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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.” 7 likes
“If a bank robber tapes over the lens of a surveillance camera, that’s MO. If he feels a need to tear his clothes off and dance naked before that same camera, that’s signature.” 4 likes
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