The bestselling author of The Forensic Science of C.S.I. examines the real-life cases behind the hit television series Criminal Minds
Week after week, the hit TV show Criminal Minds gives viewers a look inside the psyches of the fictional serial killers tracked by the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit). This elite team of FBI agents travels the country assisting law enforcement officials by examining the crime scene, "profiling" the perpetrator, and aiding in arrest and interrogation. In this book Katherine Ramsland reveals how reality differs from fiction and how forensic psychologists actually use their knowledge of human behavior and motivations as consultants in criminal investigations-as well as detailing the real cases that influenced some of Criminal Minds's most memorable episodes.
As a longtime admirer of the discipline of criminal profiling, and the stories that proliferate from it - both fictional and non-fiction accounts - I found this book to be a revelation in some respects.
Dr. Ramsland has the ability to bring the collateral material that informs these stories to the surface without seeming overly dry or pedantic, and explaining the reality of criminal profiling as a discipline and evolving tool in crime-solving. In an era when technology reigns supreme as an organizational and informational gathering tool, the importance of human perspective, intuition and instinct can sometimes be overlooked; this book illustrates how neither part can supply the whole answer, but how both used together can be a powerful force in solving crimes and saving lives.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the evolution of criminal profiling; while specific cases are used as examples, the book is very focused on the actual processes and theories that contribute to the science of evaluating, identifying and categorizing some of the most dangerous and damaging people in our society.
Dr. Ramsland also makes a great case against gender-bias in our collective thinking about who predators are, as well as an excellent retrospective on how long predators of this nature have existed in civilization.