If you haven’t heard, season 3 of the Netflix show Mindhunter has been indefinitely put on hold. I’m so sorry if I’m the one to break the news to you. I am devastated. I decided that if I couldn’t watch another season, then I would simply read the book that the show is based on. I’m so glad that I did!
In Mindhunter, John E. Douglas recounts his time in the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit. He discusses what it was like interviewing some of the most notorious serial killers and how the information that came from those interviews helped develop modern psychological profiling techniques. He and his team identified patterns such as signature and modus operandi in serial offenders. These discoveries helped law enforcement to predict the behavior of offenders, narrow their suspect pool, and determine appropriate interrogation techniques.
If you’re a true crime junkie, it’s likely you’ve heard the stories of a lot of the criminals/crimes mentioned. There’s something that feels a bit special about reading these stories from the perspective of someone who was there.
I think what I liked most about this book was the presentation of each of Douglas’ experiences. While walking you through a story about one of his interviews, he gives background as to why he chose the techniques he did. He also explains the usage of these techniques in future cases.
I felt like I was truly learning about profiling. Douglas mentions a few times how complicated this process is. It’s not something you can master from simply reading this book. He even explains how the FBI had so few agents who were “masters” of profiling and available to travel that he was the primary person to advise on the hundreds of requests around the country. The stress of it almost killed him.
This book has a great mix of information on Douglas’ life and stories about serial killers. I would not say that it is an uplifting read. Douglas mentions how his career impacted his family life and health. He also does not sugarcoat the terrible cases that he assisted in. Despite this, I couldn’t put the book down. This was the first “for fun” book I’ve read in years.
Overall Rating of Mindhunter
I’d give Mindhunter 4/5 stars. It was almost everything I wanted from a true-crime book. My only criticism is that the book seemed to jump around a bit in Douglas’ life. Non-linear stories are a bit confusing. I loved his stories and analysis. I liked his brutal honesty. Overall I would absolutely recommend this to any true crime fanatics.