cover image Profiling: The Psychology of Catching Killers

Profiling: The Psychology of Catching Killers

David Owen, Firefly, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-55407-725-0

As law enforcement professionals seek to enter the minds of murderers in order to identify, anticipate, and ultimately incarcerate them, the process of profiling plays an increasingly notable and controversial role in modern fact—and fiction. Profiling is a fledgling study, often more art than science, and in this systematic review experienced true crime writer Owen guides readers through 50 case studies from around the world, offering detailed breakdowns of the disparate criminals that have been caught through the use of these techniques. He examines both organized and disorganized serial killers and a number of rapists and child molesters, and even touches on how profiling techniques are currently being used to anticipate terrorists and suicide bombers. For such a complex subject, however, Owen's commentary is surprisingly cursory, not unlike what could be gleaned from a careful reading of The Silence of the Lambs. But Owen brings his book alive with a surprisingly graphic (and borderline exploitative) collection of crime scene photos (both real and reconstructed), and his summarized studies of famous killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. Owen succeeds on a basic level in not only educating readers, but also disturbing them. (Sept. 30)