Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cases That Haunt Us” as Want to Read:
The Cases That Haunt Us
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cases That Haunt Us

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  8,493 ratings  ·  357 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, exp
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Pocket Books (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cases That Haunt Us, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
991 books — 1,418 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
True Crime
541 books — 569 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,493 ratings  ·  357 reviews

More filters
Sort order
``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)
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Jamie Needham
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.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, true-crime
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
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
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books
I found some of this book interesting reading, but a lot of it was drawn out melodramatics I'm afraid.
The cases were very well-researched and, on the whole well-presented, but I found this book too "wordy" for me.
Also, and I realise that the author couldn't say "he did it!", but I had hoped with his knowledge and training he could have pointed in the right direction.
So, for me, this book was too ambiguous and rather too long.
I did quite like reading most of it, but I did not learn an awful lot
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.
Aya Hamouda
That Was a really good Start for The Summer Vacation..
Nerdish Mum
Review to follow.
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
Melissa Wells
Sep 11, 2015 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
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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  Zolman
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 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.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Evil That Men Do: FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey into the Minds of Serial Killers
  • Signature Killers
  • Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide and the Criminal Mind
  • I Have Lived in the Monster: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Serial Killers
  • A Beautiful Child
  • Deadly Innocence
  • House Of Secrets
  • Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer
  • Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
  • The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town
  • Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case
  • Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder
  • Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America's Youngest Serial Killer
  • Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers
  • Because You Loved Me
  • The Family
  • Whatever Mother Says...: A True Story of a Mother, Madness and Murder
  • Cruel Deception
See similar books…
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 became the leading expert on criminal personality profiling and the pioneer of modern criminal investigative analysis. Through his research with serial criminal’s, Douglas learned how criminals think and what makes them do ...more
“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.” 6 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.” 3 likes
More quotes…