“He has hunted some of the most notorious and sadistic criminals of our time: The Trailside Killer in San Francisco, the Atlanta Child murderer. He has confronted, interviewed and researched dozens of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, and James Earl Ray – for a landmark study to understand their motives. To get inside their minds. He is Special Agent John Douglas, the model for law enforcement legend Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’s thrillers Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, and the man who ushered in a new age in behavorial science and criminal profiling. Recently retired after twenty-five years of service, John Douglas can finally tell his unique and compelling story.”
If you’re reading this review, chances are you’re either a) a true crime buff or b) curious as to what the source material of Netflix’s latest original series, Mindhunters, is based on. That title, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas is actually a fascinating read that details a division of the FBI that, had it not been created, would leave us without shows like Criminal Minds, where the Behavioral Science Unit profiles killers and races the clock to save victims that may still be alive. (Also, we wouldn’t have our Shemar Moore and wouldn’t that be a crying shame? We need our Morgan and Baby Girl.)
Reading more like Douglas is sitting in the room beside you and recounting his past, Mindhunter, as expected, delves into some pretty deep material. For a while, I had to put it down because the ATKID murders dug beneath my skin. Despite the sometimes gory details Douglas provides readers with, I feel this is an important title for any true crime fan. After all, it is Douglas that a certain character from Silence of the Lambs is based on.
The book does read a bit slowly. In fact, it kinda drags – for lack of a better word. Some parts are more fast paced than others, but the last eighty pages or so felt completely unnecessary to me. Granted, at this point it’s mostly a diatribe on how present day psychiatric healthcare professionals have little clue as to what devils they’re truly dancing with – which I agree. If anything, psychiatry has three outcomes, two of which are most popular: under and over medication. That’s a rant for another time though.
Now that I’ve completed the book, I’m looking forward to watching the Netflix series.
Discuss: Have you read Mindhunter? What are your thoughts on it? Without divulging spoilers, if you’ve seen the series, do you feel it’s a pretty accurate adaptation?