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The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter

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The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challe The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases. The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers—including Charles Manson, ”Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and ”BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader—trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these. A glimpse into the mind of a man who has pierced the heart of human darkness, The Killer Across the Table unlocks the ultimate mystery of depravity and the techniques and approaches that have countered evil in the name of justice.


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The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challe The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases. The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers—including Charles Manson, ”Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and ”BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader—trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these. A glimpse into the mind of a man who has pierced the heart of human darkness, The Killer Across the Table unlocks the ultimate mystery of depravity and the techniques and approaches that have countered evil in the name of justice.

30 review for The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    In The Killer Across the Table :Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter , Mr. Douglas and co-author Mark Olshaker take a close look at four predatory killers while detailing the profiling process and strategies used to unlock the minds f some of the country’s most notorious killers. I had not read (or watched) Mindhunter before this book, so it was an entirely new experience for me. The FBI’s former special agent and master of criminal profiling, In The Killer Across the Table :Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter , Mr. Douglas and co-author Mark Olshaker take a close look at four predatory killers while detailing the profiling process and strategies used to unlock the minds f some of the country’s most notorious killers. I had not read (or watched) Mindhunter before this book, so it was an entirely new experience for me. The FBI’s former special agent and master of criminal profiling, John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers. In this book, the author has attempted to go deep into the life and crimes of 4 of the most infamous killers. He tries to uncover the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Douglas recounts his encounters with these four killers—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. Each of the 4 major chapters, profiles one killer in detail. It gives a brief profile of the killers and the crimes they have committed. He then goes, step by step, through his interviews and connects each killer’s crimes to a ‘trigger’, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. He also uses the knowledge he gained from other famous cases, killers and interviews that have helped him deconstruct these killers. As a Warning, the crimes committed by each killer are really gruesome and the details are truly disturbing to read. Having read many books from the ‘True Crime’ genre, this book is unlike any other I have read so far. Douglas’s insights into the minds of the killers are completely unparalleled. He can decipher even the seemingly obscure remarks or even faintest of body language in an expert manner. He attempts to answer questions such as the reasoning for their offenses and how the offender themselves tries to justify their actions. Douglas gets them to open up about their motivations and triggers. In a way, he guides the readers through the complex labyrinth of the human mind to understand what true evil looks like. While the book covers only 4 cases, each of these four cases is truly unique in nature. Douglas does not make try to heroes of these killers or evoke sympathy for them, nor does he sensationalizes their crimes (many books are guilty of doing that). What sets the book truly apart is the way Douglas examines the minds an actions of these criminals, casting a critical look at their past to find their ‘triggers’. Having said that, the narrator has a habit of going back to old cases, to make a finer point, which gets confusing at times. If you are looking for something on the lines of unsolved cases or ‘crime-solving’, this book may not be for you. This book is more about personalities, of both the criminals and Douglas interviewing them. Overall The Killer Across the Table is a well-written and insightful look into the mind of murderers. It is a book which goes beyond the sensational narration of crimes and focuses more on the criminal psyche and the book is a great way to understand the true origin of some of the despicable criminal acts. This is a recommended read for anyone interested in crime, criminal profiling, and psychology. Many thanks to the publishers HarperCollins, the author John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker and Edelweiss for the ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    The real-life FBI profiler who inspired the TV program, Mindhunter, reveals his secrets within these pages. He details some of his most high-profile cases and his interviews with the criminals. He delves deep into their crimes and their minds. I’m a fan of true crime and of all things psychological. This was a disturbing look into some truly diabolical minds. Their utter lack of humanity and empathy is the stuff of nightmares. Are psychopathic killers born or are they made? And if made, what ex The real-life FBI profiler who inspired the TV program, Mindhunter, reveals his secrets within these pages. He details some of his most high-profile cases and his interviews with the criminals. He delves deep into their crimes and their minds. I’m a fan of true crime and of all things psychological. This was a disturbing look into some truly diabolical minds. Their utter lack of humanity and empathy is the stuff of nightmares. Are psychopathic killers born or are they made? And if made, what experiences molded them into cold-blooded killers devoid of the characteristics that makes us human? By sitting down with convicted killers and using interview techniques specific to the criminal mindset, he explores potential answers to these questions. By doing so, the author unlocks the secrets to profiling, which improves the odds of identifying and apprehending these monsters. Well-written and narrated by the actor from MIndhunters, this is the perfect book for true-crime devotees who are interested in criminal profiling. I recommend this one only for those who can stomach the graphic details of the crimes and can tolerate being inside the minds of serial killers. I highly recommend this on audio. Don’t miss the interview at the end between the narrator and the author. This was another fantastic buddy read with Marialyce. For this and other duo reviews please visit her blog @https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    Every so often a book sends shivers down one’s spine, makes one check the locks of the doors and windows of the house, and hunker down to listen to a book that is both harrowing and frightening all in the knowledge that this was all true. Needless to say, the saying life is stranger than fiction is ever so true and in the harrowing story of serial killers, one finds that the strange is also the horrifying. Imagine the most frightening book you have ever read? It made you scared, creeping you out Every so often a book sends shivers down one’s spine, makes one check the locks of the doors and windows of the house, and hunker down to listen to a book that is both harrowing and frightening all in the knowledge that this was all true. Needless to say, the saying life is stranger than fiction is ever so true and in the harrowing story of serial killers, one finds that the strange is also the horrifying. Imagine the most frightening book you have ever read? It made you scared, creeping you out, chilling you, probably horrifying, eerie and alarming. However, that book was fiction and though you were scared silly, you knew in your head that nothing there was real. What if you read a horrific book about killers, serial killers, and the mind that creates such people and all of it was totally real. This is the world that John Douglas and Mark Olshaker present to us as we are seated with the killer across the table. The harrowing details and the people described, names we all know, crimes we all read of or listened to on the nightly news were vividly portrayed for us in detail as to what creates this kind of macabre personality. As we travel the road taken by Mr Douglas as a former FBI profiler, we are lead into the world of the psychopath and we, as well as the author, try to understand the why of their nature. Do they, these killers, share similar characteristics or is each one a separate entity, one bent on destruction and death of another human being? This is the stuff of nightmares, it is a nightmare lived out in the real world. These killers once lived among us and probably some still do. This was a fascinating story certainly not for the faint of heart but one that I found so intriguing and thought provoking. Jan and I had a few lurking nightmares after reading this one, but it was definitely an alluring look into the mind of killers. To see our reviews and a more with John Edward Douglas, you can go here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    John Douglas is undoubtedly a fascinating man. Right at the forefront of criminal profiling, he's sat across the interview table from some of the most infamous and prolific serial killers of our time. Yet this is a light offering, repetitive and covering ground well trodden. The cases are, of course, horrific, especially the first: the rape and murder of 7 year old Joan D'Alessandro. The problem is that he can't let those bigger fish go, instead their stories seep into this book at every possibl John Douglas is undoubtedly a fascinating man. Right at the forefront of criminal profiling, he's sat across the interview table from some of the most infamous and prolific serial killers of our time. Yet this is a light offering, repetitive and covering ground well trodden. The cases are, of course, horrific, especially the first: the rape and murder of 7 year old Joan D'Alessandro. The problem is that he can't let those bigger fish go, instead their stories seep into this book at every possible point of comparison. Ed Kemper shows up regularly, as do other 'big names'. If you've seen Mindhunter (and I recommend that you do), most of what's discussed here, save the specifics of these 4 cases, has been covered before. I was expecting something more procedural and academic, something more about the work the profilers do, rather than this more sensationalist, killer focused work. This is a book dominated by personality, both Douglas' own and those of the well-known criminals he has interviewed. Because of that, it sometimes veers too far into uncomfortable territory, exploitative and almost celebratory at times. Something about it just didn't sit quite right with me. As much as the advances in criminal investigation interests me, I doubt I'd read anything by him again. ARC via Netgalley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    The Killer Across the Table not only takes you into the minds of serial killers but also into the minds of the profilers who examine and interview these murderers. John Edward Douglas has been with the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit for twenty-five years, making him a leading authority in his field. Researching what makes a killer tick is not for the faint of heart. Edward Douglas reveals the life and previous crimes of four of his cases, bringing the reader along to help understand what leads a The Killer Across the Table not only takes you into the minds of serial killers but also into the minds of the profilers who examine and interview these murderers. John Edward Douglas has been with the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit for twenty-five years, making him a leading authority in his field. Researching what makes a killer tick is not for the faint of heart. Edward Douglas reveals the life and previous crimes of four of his cases, bringing the reader along to help understand what leads a man to commit brutal murders. This is a difficult book to read and makes you appreciate the necessary and important work being done by profilers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Ecstatic update: I just ordered a signed copy of this book! I’m going to own a signed copy of a John Douglas book! Need morning to come so it’s more socially acceptable to jump up and down with glee! Have you ever considered who you’d invite to your fantasy Ultimate Dinner Party? John Douglas is one of my top five fantasy guests; although, introvert that I am, I’d much prefer a one on one conversation with him. My main takeaway from my psychology degree was my obsession with criminal profilin Ecstatic update: I just ordered a signed copy of this book! I’m going to own a signed copy of a John Douglas book! Need morning to come so it’s more socially acceptable to jump up and down with glee! Have you ever considered who you’d invite to your fantasy Ultimate Dinner Party? John Douglas is one of my top five fantasy guests; although, introvert that I am, I’d much prefer a one on one conversation with him. My main takeaway from my psychology degree was my obsession with criminal profiling. My favourite assessment was when I was given a scenario that detailed a crime scene and my job was to profile the UNSUB. I bought and devoured every John Douglas book he’d written at the time and fantasised about moving to America to join the FBI. I wanted to be a criminal profiler way before Criminal Minds premiered and if I had a do-over of my life, you’d know me as Special Agent Nerd and I would have been mentored by Mr Douglas. Ah, fantasy land… Why? + How? = Who. Built around conversations with four violent predators, The Killer Across the Table provides relevant information about their backgrounds, how they offended, what they thought in the lead up to, during and after their offences, and importantly, gives valuable insights that can help investigators prevent similar crimes or assist in apprehending offenders. With its content this book could easily have sensationalised the crimes but the authors recount the details of the cases and their perpetrators in a matter of fact way; as matter of fact as you can be when discussing sexual assault, torture and murder. With clear empathy and compassion for the victims and their loved ones, their stories are told in a way that at once honours the people they were but also affords them a dignity they were denied by their murderers. Given his pioneering work in the field of criminal investigations and profiling, John Douglas could easily (and justifiably) come across as a know it all seeking glory for his brilliance. But he doesn’t. He explains his approach and why he treats the offenders he interviews well but I don’t feel any arrogance in the writing. At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking the authors are name dropping when they casually explain something by making comparisons with renowned criminals like Bundy or Manson, but John Douglas has interviewed so many household names that it feels organic when he links certain aspects of cases. The explanations add to your understanding of not only the case he’s referencing, but also provides insights into others. I haven’t read a John Douglas book in several years but this read has reawakened my need to reread all of my previous reads and to finally read the couple I haven’t actually read yet. If you have even a passing interest in what makes people who commit horrendous crimes tick, I can’t recommend these authors’ books to you enough. Content warnings include descriptions of sexual assault, torture and murder of adults and children.

  7. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    FBI profiler John E. Douglas's latest true crime book, diving into the minds of various serial killers. He was the inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter, which I didn't see. I don't watch much tv. But he was also the inspiration for one of the characters, Jack Crawford, in Silence of the Lambs, which I did see. Many times. I've been wanting to read more non-fiction and had this one on hold for ages from my library. I ordered up the audio and started it as soon as it came in. It's not a FBI profiler John E. Douglas's latest true crime book, diving into the minds of various serial killers. He was the inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter, which I didn't see. I don't watch much tv. But he was also the inspiration for one of the characters, Jack Crawford, in Silence of the Lambs, which I did see. Many times. I've been wanting to read more non-fiction and had this one on hold for ages from my library. I ordered up the audio and started it as soon as it came in. It's not a light read and at times I wondered about listening to this via speakers. My husband never questions the books I'm listening to....well, Harry Potter drives him insane. Ha! But the author talks about some of the most notorious serial killers and their crimes. It can be quite gruesome and shocking. The author details conversations he has had with these criminals and not being sympathetic to them, but appearing on 'their side' to get them to open up. It's utterly shocking sometimes what drives a serial killer, what sets them off, and sometimes, what ultimately gets them caught. I listened to this via audio and the narrator is fabulous. He narrates Douglas's other books and was also in the Netflix show, Mindhunter. I can't say I'd give this one 5 stars just for the nature of the book. I don't see myself reading this one again. But it's utterly fascinating. I do see myself reading more from this author but reading light books in between. If you like to read true crime books, I highly suggest you pick this one up. If you are a fan of Helter Skelter or In Cold Blood, I think this would be right up your alley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    “To understand an artist you have to view his art. Likewise with a predator to understand him you have to understand his art, because that’s what it is to him.” This book is brought to you by the writers of the thriller series “Mindhunter” on Netflix where FBI agents interview serial killers and try to get into the brain of the villain.( It’s based off of the book as well.) “The Killer Across The Table” is in that same vein...It’s such an intense and truly frightening insight into the life of an F “To understand an artist you have to view his art. Likewise with a predator to understand him you have to understand his art, because that’s what it is to him.” This book is brought to you by the writers of the thriller series “Mindhunter” on Netflix where FBI agents interview serial killers and try to get into the brain of the villain.( It’s based off of the book as well.) “The Killer Across The Table” is in that same vein...It’s such an intense and truly frightening insight into the life of an FBI Profiler and his conversations with murderers. After 25 years in the business he has learned how to successfully help the police by figuring out what’s inside a convict’s head in order to bring them to justice. It’s amazing the crucial information that you can get out of a conversation. He calls this “behavioral profiling.” “The aim is not to be a friend. The aim is not to be a foe. The aim is to get to the truth.” The goal from sitting across the table from these disturbing individuals was to get a motive. Why? How? Is there a common denominator between them all...similar personality trait, diagnosis; background? He found 3 common traits throughout their interviews: manipulation, dominance; control. “It is a verbal and mental chess match without any game pieces. A sparring session without body contact. An endurance contest in which each side will seek out and exploit the other’s weakness and insecurities.” I think that this book scared me even more; made the chills run a little bit deeper, because the setting is at the Maximum Security NJ State Prison in Trenton and I live in New Jersey. Yikes! This book is divided into four sections, one for each killer that was interviewed, each man just as horrifying as the next. “...Any prison interview of this type begins as a mutual seduction. I’m there to seduce the convict into believing that my sole purpose of being there is to help him get out and he’s there to seduce me into believing that he’s worthy of getting out.” The conversations are beyond bothersome—you’ll find that these are people that live in your neighborhood, friends that you trust with your children, men that can look you in the eye and have no regard for another human life or the friends and family that their malicious deaths will affect. They have no regrets, even after being incarcerated. “Had you not been identified would you have kept going? Yea. You would’ve kept killing? Yea. You felt comfortable with that? I felt real comfortable about killing. I mean killing for me was just like second nature, ya know?” The truth will haunt you. Their words will devastate you. Tread lightly with this book, it’s true crime at its most gruesome— one on one with a killer. If I learned anything it’s to be careful being too vulnerable because this characteristic more than anything else will lead you straight into the path of a psychopath. These words are rough, so make sure you can handle it before you step inside this manic world of brutality. —Here are some examples below: “He then unbent a wire coat hanger and fed it through the catheter puncturing the bladder and intestines. Gilbert went into shock from internal bleeding and then sank into a coma.” “ He was “Uncle” Joe to her, yet he thought nothing of beating her viciously strictly as means to a perverse end before he sexually assaulted and murdered her.” “She had to be terrified and fearful for her own life, particularly when he showed her the grave he had dug for her.” 5 ⭐️

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Killer Across The Table is the latest book by John Douglas, pioneer in behavioural sciences at the FBI, and the inspiration behind the character of Holden Ford on Netflix’s Mindhunter. In this latest book he examines four different murderers, ranging in victims and signature, as he delves into their mind and discusses the why, what and how of their crimes. Douglas always has an interesting way at examining these kinds of crimin I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Killer Across The Table is the latest book by John Douglas, pioneer in behavioural sciences at the FBI, and the inspiration behind the character of Holden Ford on Netflix’s Mindhunter. In this latest book he examines four different murderers, ranging in victims and signature, as he delves into their mind and discusses the why, what and how of their crimes. Douglas always has an interesting way at examining these kinds of criminals, casting a critical look at their past to find their ‘triggers’. As he states, to understand this level of behaviour you need to examine every aspect of their life. They didn’t start to exist the day they came to jail. The writing, as usual, is also good and flows well. John uses a lot of past cases as evidence to support his ideas and the reasons he believes these criminals behave the way they do to great effect. He also never glorifies the criminals, or sensationalises the crimes. Particularly with the first case, which surrounds the death of a child, Joan D’Alessandro, he’s empathetic to the victim and family and shines a light on what the family has done to reduce child murder since her death. He also spends time discussing the great lengths that the family went to ensure the child’s killer remains behind bars. The criminals do not ever come out of Douglas’s books with a good reputation. As they shouldn’t. I found the section on Joan D’Alessandro and her killer John McGowan the most interesting, and the most well researched. Douglas masterfully dissects McGowan’s behaviour, and the reasons behind the killing, bringing up interviews from his colleagues and neighbours as well as his own time talking to McGowan and other similar killers to discern the real reasons behind why he did what he did. As mentioned, he also touches on the work of Joan’s mother in particular, and demonstrates what a truly inspirational woman she is. I do think that sometimes he repeats himself quite a lot, rehashing sections of his book ‘Mindhunter’, or repeating comments he’s already made earlier in the book (such as mentioning, twice, that police brought in ‘self-proclaimed experts’ to help solve satanic ritual crimes) which at times I found annoying. However for the most part I found this interesting and insightful. Information is presented here in what I would call an objective way, although with an obvious passion for the subject, that is easy to understand. I also found Douglas’s personality to be less ‘in your face’ than previous novels. Here the criminals and their behaviour take centre stage. Interesting read, obviously written to coincide with the success of the Netflix show Mindhunter, but worthwhile for fans of true crime and Douglas’s unique insight into criminal behaviour.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    5, 10, 12 brilliant stars! THIS NOVEL IS IT!!! I have found my perfect book soulmate! “The Killer Across the Table” by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker is like a real-life Criminal Minds (my favourite TV show by the way). In this novel, former FBI criminal profiler John Douglas discusses four of his most prolific cases, and the criminal minds behind them. He uses his knowledge, background and FBI experience to try and understand why the criminals do what they do, what triggered their violent act 5, 10, 12 brilliant stars! THIS NOVEL IS IT!!! I have found my perfect book soulmate! “The Killer Across the Table” by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker is like a real-life Criminal Minds (my favourite TV show by the way). In this novel, former FBI criminal profiler John Douglas discusses four of his most prolific cases, and the criminal minds behind them. He uses his knowledge, background and FBI experience to try and understand why the criminals do what they do, what triggered their violent actions, and what exactly makes them different from everyone else? A non-fiction, in-depth examination of four intensely violent crimes and the disturbed brains behind them, “Killer” is completely un-putdown-able. Mr. Douglas touches on other cases he examined (such as the BTK killer, Son of Sam, and other infamous criminals) and draws comparisons, while he tries to figure out what makes killers “tick”. Douglas was apparently the person that Jonathan Demme used for the “Jack Crawford” character in Silence of the Lambs (one of my favourite movies), so there are some references to “Buffalo Bill” (from the movie) and the real murderer the character was based on. I cannot go on enough about this book. It’s utterly fascinating, gripping, page-turning and every ounce a powerful and disturbing story. For those who are interested in the workings of the criminal mind, look no further. (And don’t worry, Douglas reassures us that being “interested and obsessed with the criminal mind” does not mean we are destined to be criminals ourselves. So go ahead, read away!).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel

    Book Blog | Bookstagram Opening Killer: Mild-mannered, sunny disposition Main Psycho: Hiding in plain sight Plot Mindhunter-ness: Hunting all the minds! Hands down, if you are a true crime nerd you want to read this book. It is a heavy fucking tome of information on the dark and depraved. It is written by the Godfather of criminal profiling and it focuses on cases that you’ve likely never heard of before unless you happen to be local to where the crimes happened. We are not talking about circling the Book Blog | Bookstagram Opening Killer: Mild-mannered, sunny disposition Main Psycho: Hiding in plain sight Plot Mindhunter-ness: Hunting all the minds! Hands down, if you are a true crime nerd you want to read this book. It is a heavy fucking tome of information on the dark and depraved. It is written by the Godfather of criminal profiling and it focuses on cases that you’ve likely never heard of before unless you happen to be local to where the crimes happened. We are not talking about circling the drain on Bundy and Manson. This is likely going to be brand new information that will have you cringing with every uncomfortable nerve exposed while teaching you how the minds of the four twisted subjects worked, how Douglas dissected them during one-on-one interviews, and how the killer’s traits represent the broader strokes of understanding criminal minds. Be forewarned however, if you have issues with crimes against children, a significant portion of this book really explores that, unflinchingly. I listened to the audio of this, narrated by Mindhunter's Jonathan Groff, who plays Holden Ford on the show – a character heavily inspired by the life of John E. Douglas. That just added a little something extra to this reading experience that shouldn’t be discounted. Honestly, he should probably narrate every true crime audiobook from here on out. Someone start that petition! Speaking of, I’m going to keep screaming into the bloody void if Mindhunter doesn’t come back for a third season pronto. STAT! Listen, I L-O-V-E love David Fincher, but give me a fucking break on delaying this perfect TV show to make a biopic about a screenwriter fighting over the making of Citizen Kane. No offence to Mankiewicz fans (is that a thing?) My life just isn’t the same without Tench and Ford in it. #TenchWench The Killer Across the Table (A+ title) relies pretty heavily on quoted interview dialogue with the four murderers spotlighted (which is part of the magic of Mindhunter, as well.) I can’t help it, but I love that shit. Give me a direct, uncensored transcript and I’m peachy. Because of this, there is no shying away from the gory, disturbing details of the crimes dissected, so be prepared if you’re sensitive to blunt, straightforward discussion on brutal actions. But keep in mind that Douglas is not glorifying, sympathizing or sensationalizing the crimes and killers. This is about honesty and psychology – the down and dirty truth of why someone did a fucked up thing and what that means for identification, motive, future prevention and even rehabilitation. What you get here is a deep dive into four killers. It is not a general study on profiling. Douglas opens up his archives to give full, immersive accounts of four very specific cases that have had a profound effect on him as a law enforcement agent, and also as a human. The point is to discover the trigger, the patterns, the motives and the reasons why a person could end up doing something “evil.” Douglas takes you from the basic outline of the crime, down to the gritty details of the killer’s personality, connecting the dots through interviews, evidence and crime scene information. Douglas takes his time trying to get the killer to open up, to help them find their way to identifying their own motivations. One of the most fascinating parts for me was listening to the killer’s own words of how they can justify and excuse their actions, despite all logic. It’s batshit crazy. And riveting. If you like true crime, profiling and psychology behind it all, this book is a must-read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ | 4.5 stars rounded up

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars This was a gripping piece of true crime. Normally I struggle with non fiction because I often find it dry or too slow paced, but this one held my attention quite well. Readers should be aware that the crimes described in this book were very disturbing and often gruesome. I appreciated the attention on the victims. The best aspect of the book was the exploration of criminology as the authors discussed the psychology profiles of these serial killers. 

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Together with longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, John “The Original Mindhunter” Douglas is at it again, interviewing the iciest of killers to find out what makes their cold hearts tick. Since he is retired from his old home at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, John—now an independent contractor—takes his four psycho-killer interviews wherever he can find them: one commissioned by the New Jersey State Parole Board, two for a prospective MSNBC pilot, and one for a six-part ID Network documentar Together with longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, John “The Original Mindhunter” Douglas is at it again, interviewing the iciest of killers to find out what makes their cold hearts tick. Since he is retired from his old home at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, John—now an independent contractor—takes his four psycho-killer interviews wherever he can find them: one commissioned by the New Jersey State Parole Board, two for a prospective MSNBC pilot, and one for a six-part ID Network documentary series entitled Serial Killer: the Devil Unchained It is obvious, though, that John Douglas isn’t in it just for the money. He never accepts interviews with run-of-the-mill murderers; no, he only seeks dialog with the most intriguing cases, subjects who can help him answer a compelling question or two about how exactly predators think. Take Joseph McGowan, for example. What compelled the 27-year-old high school chemistry teacher to murder the 7-year-old Brownie from across the street who had come to his door to deliver two boxes of Girl Scout cookies? McGowan was an intelligent man, but the murder was extraordinarily reckless: the girl was known to him, lived across the street from him, and his house was most likely known to be her destination. Why did he choose her—and that particular moment—for his first and only murder? Then there is Joseph Kondro, who evokes in Douglas’ mind a similar question. Kondro, locked up for the sexual assault and murder of two young girls—one eight years old, one twelve, a decade apart—knew both of his victims well and was a close friend with their two families. Why not pick strangers as victims instead? Why take such an obvious risk, even once? And why take it twice? The third killer, hospital orderly Donald Harvey, known as the Angel of Death, took care to make all his murders seems to be from natural causes, and thefore managed to commit three dozen to five dozen murders before he was eventually caught. And Douglas’ fourth interview, the apparently reasonable real estate agent Todd Kohlhepp, unknown perpetrator of the notorious “Superbike Murders,” and then, years later, two cases of couple abduction and murder. Each has particular aspects to his case that interests Douglas and motivates his interview. There are more than a few gory details here, a score of illuminating references to some of Douglas’ better known cases, and a few inspiring passages as well (Rosemarie D’Alessandro, mother of the murdered Girl Scout, is a courageous and memorable woman). But the real interest here is in Douglas’ cat-and-mouse game with his four subjects. Each of these four devious men still has his secrets, and Douglas—ever patient, ever the good listener--is just the right man to smell them out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    By all intents and purposes, John E. Douglas is an interesting character with a fascination for interesting characters. He was one of the FBI's first criminal profilers and a celebrated serial killer "whisperer" for the duration of his career. In this book, he delves into criminal psychopathy and attempts to answer questions such as: are killers born or made but also investigates the reasoning for their offences and how the offender themselves tries to justify their actions. Douglas’s great insi By all intents and purposes, John E. Douglas is an interesting character with a fascination for interesting characters. He was one of the FBI's first criminal profilers and a celebrated serial killer "whisperer" for the duration of his career. In this book, he delves into criminal psychopathy and attempts to answer questions such as: are killers born or made but also investigates the reasoning for their offences and how the offender themselves tries to justify their actions. Douglas’s great insight was to recognise apprehended serial killers not as monsters to be thrown down a deep pit and forgotten – but an untapped reservoir of knowledge and insight. Who could better understand, and decipher, these debased crimes than the criminals perpetrating them? So despite being considered as unorthodox at the time, Douglas decided to go to the direct source. Time after time he charmed and gained the confidence of criminals such as Charles Manson, Ed Kemper and Ted Bundy who gave up their darkest secrets. This is an interesting true crime book which gets to the crux of the issue through some intriguing, lesser-known cases. Sometimes the way in which it is written can come across as quite sensationalist, and we have to remember that these crimes had victims, but I can also see that Mr Douglas gets giddy when uncovering new information, so it may just be that. This is one of the better true crime reads and recommended reading for those interested in crime, criminal profiling, psychology and psychopathy. Many thanks to William Collins for an ARC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    Fucking fantastic. 100% recommend if you like true crime.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    John E. Douglas, one of the original profilers and partial inspiration for a whole slew more fictional detectives, has written another insightful and fascinating book. Just to quickly get the negatives out of the way - you'll see it in other reviews of this book and his others, but Mr Douglas definitely doesn't have any confidence issues. He name drops chronically, and couldn't stick to a point if you paid him. Wait.. But that aside, the reason this author has names to drop and segues to slide int John E. Douglas, one of the original profilers and partial inspiration for a whole slew more fictional detectives, has written another insightful and fascinating book. Just to quickly get the negatives out of the way - you'll see it in other reviews of this book and his others, but Mr Douglas definitely doesn't have any confidence issues. He name drops chronically, and couldn't stick to a point if you paid him. Wait.. But that aside, the reason this author has names to drop and segues to slide into is that he has seen and done it all - he literally wrote the books on profiling. The conversational style he uses is easy to read and follow even as it meanders, and the insights can be genuinely intriguing. The biggest plus for me when reading John E. Douglas is his focus on victims, their families, and the fallout crime brings to all concerned. He handles their stories with sensitivity and such clear compassion that even if you knew nothing about him, you'd be able to tell that this is a man who has seen that fallout impact people again, and again, and again. A lot of current focus on his work is on his time spent interviewing killers, but this man was an active FBI agent, and it does him a disservice to ignore the time he's spent on victim advocacy. He's been known to be in touch with families for decades after the fact, and commits significant parts of his books to bringing a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves. Definitely one to read for anyone interested in this arena - whatever your angle may be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    "How could somebody do this to another human being?" That's the underlying question every murderino really wants to know. Its what drives us to read true crime, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts. John Douglas and Mark Olshaker pull back the curtain and dive into the profiling and psychopathy of a handful of murderers and serial killers. Giving us the sad logic behind why some of these violet offenders do what they do. "How could somebody do this to another human being?" That's the underlying question every murderino really wants to know. Its what drives us to read true crime, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts. John Douglas and Mark Olshaker pull back the curtain and dive into the profiling and psychopathy of a handful of murderers and serial killers. Giving us the sad logic behind why some of these violet offenders do what they do.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I grew up in the years of Adam Walsh, rumors of white vans, missing children pictures on the back of the milk carton, and a pervasive fear of abduction and serial killers that felt heavy in the air around us all. We all watched Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted because that made it seem a little less real. I wasn't even sure that I could listen to this book, yet I found it to be absolutely fascinating and almost impossible to put down. Even so, it is very scary and deeply disturbing. I grew up in the years of Adam Walsh, rumors of white vans, missing children pictures on the back of the milk carton, and a pervasive fear of abduction and serial killers that felt heavy in the air around us all. We all watched Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted because that made it seem a little less real. I wasn't even sure that I could listen to this book, yet I found it to be absolutely fascinating and almost impossible to put down. Even so, it is very scary and deeply disturbing. The dedication was so appropriate. And heartbreaking. 4.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    I think parts of this book did get bogged down in its structure (introduce killer, explain their casefile, plus random name-drops of other killers with similar backstories that disrupted the flow) but besides that, it was really .. not ENJOYABLE to read, the first two killers especially made me feel sick but interesting? If you like Mindhunter or even just true crime / criminal profiling it's worth reading. I think parts of this book did get bogged down in its structure (introduce killer, explain their casefile, plus random name-drops of other killers with similar backstories that disrupted the flow) but besides that, it was really .. not ENJOYABLE to read, the first two killers especially made me feel sick but interesting? If you like Mindhunter or even just true crime / criminal profiling it's worth reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Horrifying, yet fascinating on so many levels. I don't think I will read a better book this year. Horrifying, yet fascinating on so many levels. I don't think I will read a better book this year.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Did you know John Douglas was the inspiration for Netflix's Mindhunter? He's certainly not going to let you forget it. Although this billed as a deep dive into the psyches of four killers Douglas has studied, Douglas constantly going off topic to recap stuff from Mindhunter. It jumps from the case at hand to ones from his past from one paragraph to the next, and it's easy to confuse where the investigation is or which criminal he's referring to. Two of the four murderers profiled are child kille Did you know John Douglas was the inspiration for Netflix's Mindhunter? He's certainly not going to let you forget it. Although this billed as a deep dive into the psyches of four killers Douglas has studied, Douglas constantly going off topic to recap stuff from Mindhunter. It jumps from the case at hand to ones from his past from one paragraph to the next, and it's easy to confuse where the investigation is or which criminal he's referring to. Two of the four murderers profiled are child killers and Douglas goes into the kind of gratuitous detail usually reserved for tabloid true crime books. Douglas has always been kind of pompous and unable to admit any theories other than his own might have merit, but it's especially bad here. All other psychologist's assessments are wrong. Only he has the power to see through criminal BS. Other rubes might think its possible that JonBenet's parents could have had role in her death but, even though he doesn't know who did do it, Jon and Patsy (who hired him as an expert) are 100% innocent. Despite Douglas' abrasive personality, his books are usually compelling reads, but The Killer Across the Table is a scattershot, self-congratulatory cash grab.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jiny S

    Manipulation, domination, and control.. the hallmarks of serial predatory killers. In this shocking reveal of the investigation of a FBI criminal profiler, we get a glimpse of the inner workings of some of the most dangerous and psychotic criminals in history that would inspire crime stories in books and on the big screen. When it comes to acts of heinous crimes of the utmost degree, there are many assumptions out there. Some of them are correct, and others couldn’t be more off the mark. There are Manipulation, domination, and control.. the hallmarks of serial predatory killers. In this shocking reveal of the investigation of a FBI criminal profiler, we get a glimpse of the inner workings of some of the most dangerous and psychotic criminals in history that would inspire crime stories in books and on the big screen. When it comes to acts of heinous crimes of the utmost degree, there are many assumptions out there. Some of them are correct, and others couldn’t be more off the mark. There are four profiles covered in this book. The topic is interesting and the way the author conducted the interviews was logical and sensical. It was an investigation into their minds, history, intentions, and behaviour. These people are on the fringe, even in the criminal world. It’s grotesque and morbid. It’s repulsive, and at the same time fascinating and seductive. It won’t give you serial-killer tendencies, or teach you how to be a more successive criminal, but it is tremendously entertaining. If you enjoy any of the crime documentaries on TV, you’d love this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    "The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases. The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of "The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases. The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers—including Charles Manson, ”Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and ”BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader—trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these."

  24. 5 out of 5

    danielle

    Great book for getting inside the mind of these killers. I appreciate the details. Since I did the audiobook version, I especially loved that Johnathan Groff was the narrator (he plays Holden in the netflix show Mindhunter) and that he did an interview with John Douglas at the end of the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    A wonderful, insightful audiobook narrated by Jonathan Groff himself. I could listen to him narrate audiobooks until the end of time. He really brought the story to life and made me feel like I was listening to MINDHUNTER. While I was only really invested in the first two cases, this was still very informative and interesting to see John Douglas’ thoughts about certain cases he’s dealt with.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    Give the people what they want. That's what I kept thinking while listening to this audiobook. And what the people want is more John E. Douglas. The notorious criminal profiler's persona and experiences have been wrung out so often you have to wonder if there's any more juice to squeeze. His latest book, The Killer Across the Table, answers that with a yes... and also a bit of a no. TKATT is structured around four lesser-known killers and Douglas's post-FBI interview sessions with them. Many of Give the people what they want. That's what I kept thinking while listening to this audiobook. And what the people want is more John E. Douglas. The notorious criminal profiler's persona and experiences have been wrung out so often you have to wonder if there's any more juice to squeeze. His latest book, The Killer Across the Table, answers that with a yes... and also a bit of a no. TKATT is structured around four lesser-known killers and Douglas's post-FBI interview sessions with them. Many of their stories are extremely hard to get through, particularly those that deal with child abduction, rape, and murder. But Douglas is just so compelling that you do keep listening/reading. The mastery here is that he seems aware that any of his books need to include his greatest hits (so to speak) somehow, so he interweaves tangents about Kemper, Manson, Gein, Bundy, BTK, etc. Those who've read his other memoirs will get a sense of deja vu, but as I said, it's all good because he's just giving you what you want. I do recommend the audiobook experience for this one, because its narrator is Jonathan Groff who plays "him" on the Netflix series "Mindhunter." As a big added bonus at the end, Groff interviews Douglas. Fans will enjoy being along for the ride as the actor talks to the man he's been portraying for the first time ever.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennah

    Such a hard book to read. A creepy and heartbreaking but interesting look into the mind of a serial killer. It was fascinating to read about John Douglas’s interrogation methods and studies and the psychology behind them. Douglas details 4 very different cases and criminals that he’s analyzed during his career and he describes how each individual helped him get insight into how psychopaths and predators think and behave.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    Great Narrator, Engaging stories! I heard that Mind Hunter is on Netflix. I will be watching that next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Quinn

    For fans of true crime or the Mindhunter series on Netflix, The Killer Across the Table continues John Douglas's tales of sitting conversationally with convicted serial killers. For fans of true crime or the Mindhunter series on Netflix, The Killer Across the Table continues John Douglas's tales of sitting conversationally with convicted serial killers.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Niezgoda

    Okay... this is heavy. So be warned. The Killer Across The Table is written by John Douglas (Mindhunter dude) and narrated by none-other than Mindhunter actor Jonathan Groff! Which is rad. But it covers cases that need more attention (unlike the Mason's and Bundy's of the world). And horrifically, most of the cases discussed in this book revolve around child crimes. (EEEK). It's extremely well presented, but the tragedy is grave. And the sinister nature of these cases isn't for the faint of heart Okay... this is heavy. So be warned. The Killer Across The Table is written by John Douglas (Mindhunter dude) and narrated by none-other than Mindhunter actor Jonathan Groff! Which is rad. But it covers cases that need more attention (unlike the Mason's and Bundy's of the world). And horrifically, most of the cases discussed in this book revolve around child crimes. (EEEK). It's extremely well presented, but the tragedy is grave. And the sinister nature of these cases isn't for the faint of heart. As with Douglas' Mindhunter, the evidence is presented in full - which can be very graphic at times. But I go back to these cases needing more attention. I, a true crime junkie, had not heard of ANY of them. Which begs the question of how many more cases are out there not receiving any media attention because we continue to circle back to Mason or Bundy?

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