Crime Scene Profilers: Investigating What the Criminal Mind Leaves Behind

Edited by John H. Campbell. Prometheus Books, $27 (450p) ISBN 978-1-61614-555-2
This uneven anthology of criminology essays, edited by St. Cloud State University professor Campbell (coeditor of Profilers), is more suited to professionals than lay readers, who may find charts on using logistic regression to predict homicide clearance rates to be over their heads. The opening section, an excerpt from an unpublished manuscript by FBI Agent Patrick J. Mullany, is the most accessible; sadly, Mullany’s description of the investigation of serial murderer David Meirhofer is marred by lackluster writing and the choice to devote half of the essay to Meirhofer’s interrogation. Many of the following chapters also say less than expected from experts. For example, “Analyzing Violent Serial Offending,” coauthored by a “senior scientist” at the FBI’s legendary Behavioral Science Unit, inadequately addresses two questions raised by profiling work: are there patterns linking serial killers? If so, can knowledge of those patterns help law enforcement? Readers hoping for a better understanding of this relatively new criminal justice methodology would be better served by the works of such profilers as John Douglas and Robert Ressler. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 08/12/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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