Book reviews

Book Review: Mindhunter by John Douglas

Mindhunter book review

Title: Mindhunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit
Author: John Douglas & Mark Olshaker
Pages: 397
Genre: True crime, memoir
Publication date: August 1995

“Behavior reflects personality. The best indicator of future violence is past violence. To understand the “artist”, you must study his “art”. The crime must be evaluated in its totality. There is no substitute for experience, and if you want to understand the criminal mind, you must go directly to the source and learn to decipher what he tells you. And, above all: Why + How = Who.”

True crime is my thing. I do not shy away from murder, rape, and the details that go along with it. To some people that might seem weird and twisted, but there is something about the mind of a criminal – especially serial killers – that is inherently fascinating to me.

Let this book be exactly about that. Special Agent John Douglas helped pioneer behavioural science and criminal profiling in the FBI. For 25 years, he researched killers and their modus operandi. An important part of his research was conducted speaking directly to killers about their own crimes and analysing their behaviour in the interrogation room. 

There is so much murder within these pages. Douglas does not only cover a wider range of topics, he also covers a lot of different murders – some of which are well-known, others that aren’t. As someone who has consumed a lot of podcasts, books and documentaries, I appreciated that there were stories in here that I had not heard of before.

As interesting as Douglas is when he writes about true crime, as insufferable is he when he talks about anything else. I disliked the first 80 pages or so, in which Douglas only talks about his (quite boring) life as an adolescent. Within these pages, John doesn’t steer away from letting you know his opinion. That’s fine, I do not have to agree with him to still enjoy the book. In fact, I enjoy reading things that I disagree with, because I think it’s important to step outside of your bubble.

But I did not enjoy his comments on mental health professionals, which he is not a fan is. Douglas doesn’t only show a very one-sided view, but he also presents it as fact.

In the end, the parts I enjoyed definitely outnumbered the parts I didn’t enjoy. And if you’re a true crime buff like me, I highly recommend it. I watched the Netflix show before reading the book, but the experience was so inherently different that I enjoyed both.

Final rating:

4 stars

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Mindhunter by John Douglas

  1. One day I will read this! You’ve made me more enthusiastic when it comes to true crime and I think this book will be very interesting in different aspects. You said something really interesting as well about not agreeing with what the author writes and still enjoying the book. I wholeheartedly agree that is is important to step out your bubble 🙂 Great review again!

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