In this eagerly awaited new book by the international best-selling authors of "Mindhunter" and "Journey into Darkness", master FBI profiler John Douglas takes us into the minds and souls of both the hunters and the hunted. The legendary former head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, Douglas was the pioneer of modern behavioral profiling of serial criminals. In "Mindhunter", we followed his development into a modern, real-life Sherlock Holmes as he tracked down the Atlanta child murderer, San Francisco's Trailside Killer, and Seattle's Green River Killer-- a chase that nearly cost him his life. In "Journey into Darkness", he directed his unique skills particularly to crimes against children and young adults, and showed how the quest for closure for the survivors does not always end simply with catching the killer.
Written with Mark Olshaker, the coauthor of Douglas's previous books and an acclaimed novelist, journalist, and filmmaker, "Obsession" is vital reading for anyone seeking to understand and prevent violent crime. In "Obsession", Douglas once again takes us fascinatingly behind the scenes, focusing his expertise on predatory crimes, primarily against women. With a deep sense of compassion for the victims and an uncanny understanding of the perpetrators, Douglas looks at the obsessions that lead to rape, stalking, and sexual murder through such cases as Ronnie Shelton, the serial rapist who terrorized Cleveland; Joseph Thompson, New Zealand's South Auckland rapist; the stalking and killing of television star Rebecca Schaeffer; and New York's notorious "Preppie Murder". He plumbs the minds and motives of those who commit these terrifying and seemingly inexplicable offenses, using as examples his study of Ed Gein, Gary Heidnick, and Ted Bundy, the three obsessional killers who made up the composite character of "Buffalo Bill" in The Silence of the Lambs. (Douglas himself was the model for Special Agent Jack Crawford.)
But Douglas also looks at obsession on the other side of the moral spectrum: his own career-long obsession with hunting these predators; the obsession of the directors of a model police department's victim's program in Virginia that has literally saved the lives of survivors; and the obsession of a brilliant young lawyer who has established an innovative school in Harlem to combat crime, drugs, and despair. Finally, there's the poignant and moving story of Gene and Peggy Schmidt and their daughter, Jennifer, whose sister, Stephanie, was viciously murdered by a paroled rapist in Kansas, and who channeled their grief and anguish into fighting for a milestone Supreme Court ruling. Douglas analyzes the critical lessons of the Stephanie Schmidt case, which demonstrates the new empowerment galvanizing the victim's rights movement.
In a final section that serves as a call to action, Douglas shows us how we can all fight back and protect ourselves, our families, and loved ones against the scourge of the violent predators in our midst. But the first step is insight and understanding, and no one is better qualified to penetrate obsession than John Douglas. [via]