Review: Mindhunter by John Douglas


Hello book lovers! Today I have a review for you that I originally wasn’t planning on writing BUT I loved the book too much not too and, admittedly, I have to do a book presentation on it and figured that writing this would actually help me with that rather than being another thing among my pile of assignments right now.

Now for anyone who has watched the Netflix series, Mind Hunter, this is the book that inspired it. It is a true crime novel written by John Douglas, the FBI Agent who worked towards inventing and establishing the practice of criminal profiling. Yes I admit that I got that wording from the book blurb on the back of my copy but that is the easiest way to explain it. Now with it all being true – a recap of the cases that he helped with, the criminals that he interviewed, and the difficulties that he faced in his personal life due to his work – it is a bit gruesome and intense at times. However, as a person who LOVES true crime and TV shows such as Law and Order SVU, this book was one that I will never forget and could happily re-read in the future.

Seeing as this is an aid for my book presentation, I am going to go about this review differently to my usual system. I am just going to write what I feel, when I feel it, and how I feel it. This book was an amazing experience and I just can’t fit it into the strict form of like, love, and hate. Why? Well because all of it was amazing and I need to rant about it, basically.

Book Blurb: “What make a serial killer? 51oxxdvq3jl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

John Douglas has looked evil in the eye, and made a vocation of understanding it.

In Mindhunter, the FBI special agent who was the inspiration for Jack Crawford’s character in The Silence of the Lambs (and who lent the film’s makers his expertise) explains how he invented and established the practice of criminal profiling.

He also discusses individual case histories including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and the Atlanta child murders.

With the fierce page-turning power of a bestselling novel, yet terrifyingly true, Mindhunter is a true crime classic.”

The order of this book is that each chapter has a different topic. They form around the crimes and criminals discussed which then leads into Douglas talking about his travels, new developments, colleagues, and overall view that has been altered with each crime. There is no better way that he could have written this as the intense is mixed with the narration, something is always happening, and you are always left thinking about the previous crime as you hit the next one.

I don’t know if this makes me sound weird (and maybe even creepy) but as a person who loves to research the criminals as they pop up in the Netflix series, the description and facts that are presented with each crime is amazing. Rather than being left wondering what happened to the victim’s family, who solved it, how the criminal was caught, and where the criminal currently is, you find out all of it and can’t help but to then Google search all of the articles on that criminal. I have to admit that the entire time I was reading this, I kept wishing that I had chosen criminal psychology for my degree instead as I just find it all so fascinating. It truly is a career that will always be necessary and whose developments are constantly growing and updating.

That leads me to my next thing. The entire book is a reflection onto the past while still incorporating his current thoughts and experiences. You begin with him graduating from high school, going into college and dropping out, joining the military and going through various jobs within it, making his way into the FBI as a teacher, and eventually forming the development and research of criminal profiling. While telling you his exact thoughts and processes when working on a case, he always reflects on what he would have done differently now and how easier the case would have been with today’s technology (well that in 1988, when he wrote this book). The details that he includes are the exact locations, prisons for the interviews, the timeline for his family, the impact of the overwhelming amount of cases that he was presented with, and the overall impact of seeing and hearing the descriptions of how the crimes were acted.

As much as I expected myself to need a breather after every chapter or so, I couldn’t put this book down. In terms of days that I actually read it, I got it done in nine days which is pretty good for me. It probably helps that I had a deadline to get it done and had been waiting to read it since October but the overall pace of Douglas’s writing  made it that more easier to fly through.

John Douglas was very open and allowed himself to be raw when reflecting on the negative impact of his career. He admitted his faults with the balancing of family and work life, which eventually lead to a divorce, as well as wishing that he had put more time in with his children. He faced nightmares and health problems over the years as the workload became too much and the cases became more intense and demanding.

Now as a reader who tabbed all of her favourite cases (21 to be exact), the longer and more difficult they were to solve, the better/more intriguing. Douglas even admitted this as he was then able to truly develop his work with predicting the criminals personalities as well as study their ways of attempting to hide the crime or playing with the victim’s families and friends, as well as the police and FBI. It was all a bit mind-blowing at times with how similar the patterns turned out to be, even if the crimes committed were quite different.

In this sense, I really do recommend reading this book if you enjoyed the series. As much as I enjoy it (and am still cherishing the final two episodes), this book just delved way more into the cases and proper facts than the show ever has. You simply get a taste of the interviews and Holden’s thought process, but John Douglas says it all as it is and all that happened right in 19 chapters. And no, I never wished that there had been more as at the time it was written, this was all that there was and needed to be.

To wrap this up, so that I don’t bore you guys too much, though I do think that the length of this shows my passion for how much I LOVED it, I’ll just quickly sum up my favourite elements:

  • The pace never lets you get bored and just leads you to hitting up Google for more.
  • Raw and honest writing that brings you into all of it emotionally.
  • Everything that you want to know about the crimes, criminals, and more.
  • John Douglas is even more fascinating that I expected.
  • As good as the Netflix series is, the book is better.

And that is it guys! I hope that you all have a lovely week. Please do check out the book and series if you are interested. I can’t recommend it enough and can proudly say that to the people who I already recommended the series to who watched it, they loved it. We all just want season 2 already!

Until next time! x

4 thoughts on “Review: Mindhunter by John Douglas

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