Amelia S. reviewed Obsession: The FBI's Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back on + 80 more book reviews
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Douglas and Olshaker are clearly hit-or-miss authors for me: I loved The Cases That Haunt Us, then found Journey Into Darkness slow going, then loved The Anatomy of Motive, then Obsession took me at least a month to finish. The books I have enjoyed are the newest of the pair's five; the books I have found dull are older, which does not bode well for my consumption of the first book they wrote, Mindhunter, which is next on my list.
With the warmth and frank bias of a firsthand observer, Douglas, the founder and head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit and the inspiration for the character of Jack Crawford in Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, here describes violent crimes and their consequences. With co-author Olshaker, with whom he wrote Mindhunter and Journey into Darkness, Douglas details the crimes and case histories of serial killers, serial rapists, child molesters, stalkers and others. Included are infamous killers such as Edward Gein, Ted Bundy and Robert Chambers, along with less publicized, though just as disturbing, purveyors of acts of fatal obsession. Asserting "that behavior reflects personality," Douglas shows how he and his colleagues can assess the different temperaments and motivations at work behind grisly acts. Rapists tend to fall into four basic categories, for example, the "power-reassurance rapist" (driven by feelings of inadequacy), the "exploitive" rapist (impulsive and overtly macho), the "anger" rapist (who uses sex to displace his rage) and, cruelest of all, the "sadistic" rapist, who "simply gets off on hurting people." What stands out in this eye-opening book is how Douglas's compassion for the survivors of violent crimes seems to equal his understanding of the criminals themselves. His description of the work of the countless people who counsel, comfort and fight for the rights of victims serves as a welcome reminder that horrific and isolated acts of darkness and coldness are counterbalanced by a warmhearted and, one hopes, more natural human determination to help.
The authors of "Journey into Darkness" probes the minds of both the hunter and the hunted in this powerful exploration of human behavior. With a deep sense of compassion for the victims and an uncanny understanding of the penetrators, Douglas exposes the chilling obsessions that compel the murderers, rapists, and stalkers of modern times.