I am not a huge fan of reading novels, so it’s a hobby I’ve had to work at developing over the years. I do read, but I gravitate toward non-fiction. Several non-fiction books have changed the way I viewed something, particularly when I studied Buddhism and other eastern religions in college. There is an upcoming entry about religion, so I will write about that separately.
Journey Into Darkness
by John Douglas
is a book that made an impact and changed how I viewed things. Three chapters of the book are devoted to one of my childhood and high school friends, Sue Collins
, a marine was brutally raped and murdered. I wanted to read it to learn more about Sue and her killer from the FBI agent
who investigated her case. Apparently, he was “haunted by the details of her case. He paid tribute to her life and got into the mind of the man who took it away from her. She was jogging at night when the crime occurred, and because of what happened to her, I don’t feel safe outside alone at night. Reading all the details from his experiences changed how I view society at large. It made me more aware of dangers present in public places and ways to protect my children. It proves there are very sick people out there looking to kill people.
It’s not an easy read, but a very important one in my opinion.
Here are descriptions of the book from amazon.com:
“Some authors are worth reading because of their area of expertise, even when their objectivity may be questionable. This is true of John Douglas, who follows up his Mindhunter with another assortment of his observations and opinions from his ex-job as the FBI’s top expert on constructing behavioral profiles of criminals. This book contains several passages of interest: a detailed discussion of the modus operandi versus the “signature” of a murder, and how each relates to motive; thoughts on how the press and the public can be used to flush out a killer; a taxonomy of pedophiles, with a chapter on how to protect children from them; a detailed analysis of the savage sex-murder of a female Marine; a profile of the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman killer; and a report on how the courts are handling behavioral testimony. Always biased, often egotistical, but uniquely experienced–that’s Douglas.
In the #1 New York Times bestseller Mindhunter, John Douglas, who headed the FBI’s elite Investigative Support Unit, told the story of his brilliant and terrifying career tracking down some of the most heinous criminals in history. Using behavioral profiling and criminal investigative analysis to get into the head and psyche of both the criminal and victim — to feel what they felt at the critical moment — Douglas helped crack many high profile cases, including the Trailside Killer, the Atlanta child murders, and the Tylenol murders. Now, working again with his co-author Mark Olshaker, Douglas delves further into the criminal mind with a series of chilling new cases in Journey into Darkness: Follow the FBI’s premier investigative profiler as he penetrates the minds and motives of the most terrifying serial killers. In Journey into Darkness, Douglas profiles vicious serial killers, rapists, and child molesters. He is straightforward, blunt, often irreverent, and outspoken, but takes pains not to glorify any of these murderers. Some of the unique cases Douglas discusses include:
The Clairemont killer — Six women were found stabbed to death in San Diego, three in the same apartment complex. In each case, the killer entered through an unlocked door or window in the late morning to early afternoon. A suspect was in custody, tied to one of the murders through a DNA match. Douglas was called upon to use his profiling techniques to link the other five murders to the suspect. Douglas looked at the “signature” of the killer, and found that all the murders were committed by the same man. The prosecution used the profile to force the jury to find the defendant guilty of all six murders, if they felt he was guilty of the one murder. Celophus Prince was found guilty on all counts.
The schoolgirl murders — What became Canada’s “trial of the century.” Several schoolgirls disappeared in 1992; their bodies were dumped several weeks later, beaten and sexually attacked. Canadian police agencies contacted the FBI for help on the case and to get a profile on the killer and, according to witnesses, his accomplice. Following the advice of the Investigative Support Unit in Quantico, Canada aired a television special entitled “The Abduction of Kristin French,” allowing agent Gregg McCrary to describe the killer’s profile on air. Knowing that the murderer and his accomplice would be watching, he planned to confront the unknown killer, assuring him he would be caught. Paul Bernardo was arrested on February 17, 1993, turned in by his wife and partner in crime, Karla Leanne Homolka.. The profile was dead on the money.
Richmond’s First Serial Murderer — In 1987, Richmodd, Virginia, was struck by a serial rapist/murderer. The Richmond police called upon the Investigative Support Unit in Quantico to make up a profile of the perpetrator. The crimes and profile beared a remarkable resemblance to a string of burglaries, rapes and murders in Alexandria, Virginia, several years before. Agent Steve Mardigian then formulated a complex strategy that caught the killer who fit the profile to a tee. In the process he helped free a wrongly convicted man, who due to his low intelligence level, had become confused and confessed to the crime.
The brutal and sadistic murder of Suzanne Marie Collins, a beautiful young Marine on the verge of a brilliant career. The culprit was caught and confessed to her killing, but his story was very different than what really happened. By delving into Sedley Alley’s mind, Douglas helped bring the murderer to justice, recreating the evening from the perspective of a sadistic and angry man. Suzanne Collins’ horrifying end haunts Douglas to this day.
Douglas delves into other cases, including Polly Klaas’ abduction and murder by Richard Allen Davis, the tragedy that lead to the creation of Megan’s Law; the abduction and murder of six-year-old Cassandra Lynn Hansen, who was snatched from an evening church service; and the vicious murder and sexual assault of Nancy Newman and her two daughters, eight-year-old Melissa and three-year-old Angie in Anchorage, Alaska. He also explores the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, focusing on the double homicide purely from a behavioral perspective. Douglas examines what the facts at and surrounding the crime scene told about the killer from a behavioral point of view. From Douglas’s profile, the only viable suspect to date is O.J. Simpson.
With Journey into Darkness, Douglas provides more than a glimpse into the minds of serial killers; he demonstrates what a powerful weapon behavioral science has become. Profiling criminals helps not only to capture them, but also helps society understand how these predators work and what can be done to prevent them from striking again. Douglas focuses especially on pedophiles and child abductors, fully explaining what drives them, and how to keep children away from them. As he points out, “The best way to protect your children is to know your enemy.” He includes eight rules for safety, a list of steps parents can take to prevent child abduction and exploitation, tips on how to detect sexual exploitation, basic rules of safety for children, and a chart, based on age, which details the safety skills children should have to protect themselves.
In his review for Mindhunter in The New York Times Book Review, Dean Koontz said, “Because of his insights and the power of the material, he leaves us shaken, gripped by a quiet grief for the innocent victims and anguished by the human condition.” Journey into Darkness continues this perilous trip into the psyche of the serial killer, but also offers a glimmer of hope that profiling may enable law enforcement to see the indicators of a serial killer’s mind and intervene before he kills, or kills again.
From the Publisher
There is only one John Douglas.
We first met Douglas in Mindhunter, which told the story of his brilliant and terrifying with the FBI until his retirement in 1995. And now, again with coauthor Mark Olshaker, he goes even further. We accompany him on the Journey Into Darkness that marks every case he examines; every instance in which he helps police identify the unknown perpetrator of a violent series of rapes, kidnappings, or murders through his remarkable criminal personality profiling.
In this fascinating audio experience, we journey with some of the brilliant and sensitive agents John has trained, who have carried on his work. We take a startlingly fresh look at the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman as if John had been asked by the LAPD to identify the killer through behavioral profiling. And we hear how a lifetime around killers and their victims has shaped his views on justice and punishment.
The Journey Into Darkness is a perilous one, but ultimately a hopeful one as well. For not only do we see from the men and women who track the most sadistic of criminals what a powerful weapon profiling has become, we also get advice on how we might better keep our children, our families and ourselves safe from harm. By making the Journey Into Darkness with John Douglas and his colleagues, we come away with an insight into the human condition that no one else can offer.
About the Author
JOHN DOUGLAS, during his twenty-five-year career with the FBI, has become the leading expert on criminal personality profiling and the pioneer of modern criminal investigative analysis. He conducted the first organized study into the methods and motivations of serial criminals and has aided police departments and prosecutors throughout the world. A veteran of the Air Force, he is the author of numerous articles and presentations on criminology and the coauthor of the landmark books Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives and Crime Classification Manual. John Douglas and Mark Olshaker coauthored Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and Unabomber: On the Trail of America’s Most-Wanted Serial Killer. Douglas lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
Douglas presents more observations about murderers and the profiling of serial killers in this follow-up to Mindhunter. Pointers on how parents can protect their children are worked into a section about murders of children. Douglas reads clearly, with variety of tone and emotional coloring. Although he often sounds as if he’s reading, the riveting narrative itself helps to overcome this weakness. While not as compelling as it could have been with a more experienced narrator, this is still a good choice for anyone fascinated by the subject matter. M.A.M. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine”