Criminal Minds #3: Finishing School

( 40 )


From Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Max Allan Collins

BASED ON THE CBS TELEVISION SHOW HAILED AS “The network’s best new offering.” (Wall Street Journal)

Watched by nearly 18 million fans weekly

The bodies of three young girls are discovered in the woods of Bemidji, Minnesota, the result of barbiturate poisoning. Unable to identify the victims, the local police turn to the Behavioral ...

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From Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Max Allan Collins

BASED ON THE CBS TELEVISION SHOW HAILED AS “The network’s best new offering.” (Wall Street Journal)

Watched by nearly 18 million fans weekly

The bodies of three young girls are discovered in the woods of Bemidji, Minnesota, the result of barbiturate poisoning. Unable to identify the victims, the local police turn to the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Profiler David Rossi learns that the girls disappeared more than ten years ago from Georgia. Further investigation reveals that the perpetrators have been involved in a cycle of kidnapping and murder for close to twenty years—and are about to start again…

Learn more about the Criminal Minds television series.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451225474
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Series: Criminal Minds Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Media Tie-in
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Quantico, Virginia

Jennifer Jareau studied the photos she'd just downloaded to her laptop.

"JJ" to her friends and colleagues, the long-haired blonde in her late twenties had been with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit for the last five years, and had seen photos far more gruesome than these. But something about these victims—mostly skeletons now because of decomposition—engaged her interest.

Obviously, the three victims had been interred in their shallow graves near Bemidji, Minnesota, for some time. Exhumed over the weekend, the three bodies displayed levels of decomposition indicating burials over the course of at least several months.

She checked her watch, then printed the pictures and loaded them into a file folder with her notes as well as other documents from the investigators in Minnesota. She'd been accumulating information almost since the moment Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi had phoned her to say a call would be coming from a Minnesota investigator named Fletcher Keegan, apparently an old acquaintance of Rossi's.

Her fellow agent's heads-up had come so late that Keegan had called while Jareau was still on the line with Rossi. She spoke at length with Keegan, who in turn put her in touch with Detective Lewis Garue, lead investigator.

Of course, at this point, with the autopsies not done, the crime was the illegal disposition of bodies—a misdemeanor. But everyone on the Minnesota end felt they had a serial killer, and, judging by the strands of blond hair clinging to the skulls of the three corpses, that seemed likely; but the BAU could not get involved in a misdemeanor.

Her team, already in the office, was waiting for a briefing on what their next case would be, but first Jareau wanted confirmation on the causes of death.

Jareau was just about to inform her boss, Special Agent in Charge Aaron Hotchner, that the briefing would have to wait until after lunch, when the phone rang.

The call was from the Beltrami County coroner. Jareau spent half an hour taking down all the information and incorporating it into her briefing materials.

She called Hotchner and brought her boss up to speed.

"Don't rush yourself," Hotchner said. "We can schedule the briefing for after lunch."

"That would probably be better," she admitted.

Better if for no other reason than Jareau could keep working through lunch, which today, like so many other days, would be at her desk. She had long since learned to eat without qualms while perusing the most grotesque write-ups and photographs of forensics evidence.

A PowerBar, a banana, and a container of yogurt from the break-room refrigerator kept her going as she prepared for the presentation. By the time she finished her lunch by downing a bottle of water, Jareau was ready.

When she entered the conference room, the others were already seated around the long, oval table. To the left, windows with venetian blinds let in November sunlight. A copier and fax machine on a sidebar shared the wall with the door. At the far end, a flatscreen monitor dominated.

Seated at the head of the table was team leader Aaron Hotchner, in an immaculate gray suit with a white shirt and striped tie—he might have been the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, not one of the top criminal profilers on the planet. His black hair was parted on the side, his well-carved face stern and businesslike, his eyes locked on the man to his right, David Rossi.

Fiftyish, with black hair showing signs of gray, Rossi was one of the originators of the BAU—along with the retired Max Ryan and Jason Gideon, he'd been among the unit's first superstars. After stepping down himself, then writing a series of true-crime best sellers, Rossi had made a small fortune on the lecture circuit before coming back to the BAU, in part to finish a case he'd walked away from. Today, Rossi wore a gray suit with a blue shirt and a tie with geometric shapes.

Next to Rossi, Derek Morgan, with his killer features and stylish stubbly beard, might have been a model for GQ and not a top federal agent. He wore a black mock turtleneck shirt with black slacks, and the only thing spoiling the male-model look was the nine-millimeter pistol holstered on his right hip. The son of an African-American police officer (killed in the line of duty) and a white mother, former college quarterback Morgan had spent time with the ATF, later serving as a hand-to-hand combat instructor here at Quantico.

Across the table from Morgan sat Dr. Spencer Reid, youngest member on the team. Reid had a distracted, little boy lost quality that endeared him to Jareau, the next youngest, and which belied the sharp focus he brought to every case, every moment. The lanky Reid had a mop of long hair, dressed like a prep school student, and was, judging by IQ scores, the smartest person in this or any room. With his eidetic memory, Reid seemed to have every fact in the world ready and waiting.

On Reid's right, SSA Emily Prentiss looked typically crisp in a sharp navy business suit, her black hair perfectly combed. Before the return of Rossi, she'd been the "newbie" on the team, but those days were over—Prentiss had long since proved herself a valuable addition. Tough and smart, with a sly, dry sense of humor, she was fitting in with the team on a personal level equally well.

No one said a word as Jareau set her materials down. They would wait patiently for her to start laying out facts. Once she did, however, well, the room would be far from quiet. . . .

Jareau centered herself, then began. "Saturday, three hunters in the woods outside Bemidji, Minnesota, found this."

She touched a button on her remote and the first photo appeared on the flat screen. This and subsequent images had been provided by the team's digital intelligence analyst, Penelope Garcia, who had used her considerable computer skills to enable Jareau to display images from her laptop onto the screen in the conference room. (Jareau couldn't have managed this feat herself, but she didn't have to— she, like everyone on the team, was just glad Garcia made all their jobs easier.)

The image was a stark, even grisly one: a skeletal hand sticking out of patchy snow and dead leaves, a small bloodstain nearby.

Reid was the first to interrupt, though there was nothing rude about it—give-and-take was normal here. "That hand," he said, eyes narrowed, "is far too decomposed to be the source for the blood on the ground."

Jareau nodded. "The blood is apparently from a wounded buck the hunters were tracking."

Reid nodded back.

Jareau continued: "The hunting guide used his cell to call 911. The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office responded with two squad cars. The county seat is Bemidji. . . ."

Hotchner said, "They have one of the state's two regional crime labs."

"That's right," Jareau said. "So investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were sent out as well."

The team sat quietly as Jareau switched to a photo that showed police tape outlining the burial site, the hand still visible near one edge. In the background were two more tape outlines.

"This is why they're asking for our help," Jareau said. "When they used ground-penetrating radar to find the parameters of the first grave, they found two more."

Morgan frowned. "Two more graves?"

"Total of three," Jareau confirmed. "Here's where it gets interesting—the coroner said they were not buried at the same time, but rather over the course of as much as a year."

She touched the button and the photo switched again. This one showed the three graves dug up, the bodies next to them each wrapped from head to toe in plastic. Though the shapes were vaguely human, there was no seeing through the plastic shrouds.

"Each of our three bodies is wrapped identically," Jareau said, but that was already evident. "The outer layer is a huge piece of plastic, a paint drop cloth of the sort available for a few dollars at any home improvement store or paint supply store in the United States."

No one said a word as she brought up the next photo. This one showed a victim without the layer of plastic, a blanket covering the victim from head to toe. This was not the original find, since the hand was not exposed.

"Under the plastic, each victim was wrapped in a blanket," Jareau said. "Then beneath that"—she switched to the next photo—"each victim wore a winter coat and beneath that"—the next photo came up on the screen—"they were all dressed in nice Sunday dresses that were pretty well protected from the elements by the plastic. Still, decomposition didn't leave us much."

Hotchner asked, "What do we know about the victims?"

"They're all females," Jareau said. "Girls, really. Each between the ages of twelve and fourteen, the coroner thinks."


Shaking her head, Jareau said, "Not yet. If the girls are from Minnesota, they must have disappeared years ago—they don't match any recent missing girls from the area."

Hotchner asked, "What other avenues are we exploring to identify the victims? Garcia's on this, I assume?"

"All morning and right now. Beyond her efforts, the state crime lab is contacting nearby states and the coroner is going the DNA route. The county sheriff is even using volunteers to comb through 'missing kids' Web sites."

Reid's head was tilted like the old RCA Victor dog. "Do we know anything at all about the victims, other than age?"

"Caucasian, fair-haired," Jareau said. "They range in height from just under five feet to five-four."

With a frown of thought, Morgan asked, "Sexually abused?"

"Decomposition too far along to tell. Closest thing to a sexual component here is that tampons were found in two of the bodies."

No one said anything for a while.

Then Rossi asked, "Cause of death?"

"COD, too soon to tell," Jareau said. "They all appeared peaceful in the grave—no apparent signs of violence. The coroner's doing toxicology, but we won't have the results for at least a few days."

Looking at the screen through slitted eyes, Prentiss said carefully, "They were laid to rest as if by someone who wanted to protect them from the cold, wanted them to be . . . safe." Rossi gave her a humorless smirk. "Possible—killers have killed to 'protect' often enough." He shrugged. "But it's just as likely that the killer's a police buff, who knows about fiber evidence and just doesn't want any clues left in his car."

"Wayne Williams," Reid said as if on autopilot. He didn't need to explicate—they all knew the Atlanta child killer from the eighties, one of the BAU's first big cases and a cornerstone of their reputation. Williams had been convicted with the help of both fiber evidence and the BAU's profiling skills.

Looking from team member to team member, Rossi said, "I know we don't have much to go on yet. And I also know we don't play favorites. But the forensics guy on this was a student of mine. I'd like it if we could help out. But I'll understand if we take a pass, at least till we have more."

"Three girls whose descriptions are nearly identical," Hotchner said, "buried in three nearly identical ways, in three adjacent graves. Anybody think this is a case we shouldn't be investigating?" He was greeted with silence as his eyes slowly scanned the room, landing on Jareau. "Call the sheriff in Bemidji," he told her. "Say we're on our way."

She nodded.

"Now," Hotchner began, "I don't mean to sound

like a mother hen . . ."

"Then don't," Rossi said.

That earned a grin from Hotchner, a fairly rare occurrence. "Just the same—it's going to be cold. Pack appropriately. We're wheels up in two hours."

Bemidji, Minnesota

Between not leaving until late afternoon and the length of the flight, they didn't land in Bemidji until evening. The regional airport looked like a hundred other small-town airports, with little foot traffic inside, and when they went outside, the first thing everyone noticed was that mother-hen Hotchner had been right—the wind seemed to be blowing straight down from the North Pole.

As the team stood on the sidewalk with their breath pluming, Jareau was wondering where the hell their SUVs were. The vehicles were to be brought up by agents from the Minneapolis field office, which was admittedly over four hours from here, but the field office had received plenty of notice to get up here on time.

Jareau tugged the drawstrings on her parka tighter. The chill reminded her of early winters in the Pennsylvania town she grew up in. She was about to punch the number of her contact into her cell phone when two Beltrami County Sheriff's four-by-fours rolled up.

Stepping out of the driver's door of the lead vehicle was a tall, sinewy, middle-aged Native American. He had gray-white wavy hair, pouchy cheeks and a small bulge just above his waistline that said he probably didn't work out regularly. Still, as he approached, his gait was just short of a swagger and, even with the biting wind, he still wore only a flannel shirt and jeans—and had considerable presence.

A younger deputy, in uniform, got out of the other Durango and came around to the passenger side, but stayed with the vehicle.

The plainclothes officer walked up to the group, and stopped in front of Hotchner as if he'd known the agent for years. Most people, when confronting the team for the first time, approached Rossi as the leader, and before that, the assumption had usually been made about Jason Gideon—something about their age, Jareau figured. This man did not do that. He went like a heat-seeking missile to Hotchner.

"Detective Lewis Garue," the man said extending his hand.

"Special Agent in Charge Aaron Hotchner," Hotch said, and they shook.

"Thanks for coming in," Garue said. "I know the facts are a little sketchy, but you took us serious and we appreciate it."

"That's our job," Hotchner said. "Let me introduce the team. . . ."

Garue stepped to his right, facing Rossi. "You're SSA David Rossi."

Rossi shook hands with the detective.

"Your reputation precedes you, Agent Rossi. I've read your books, seen you on TV. Thought you were a bigger man."

"I don't seem to be," Rossi said with a grin.

Morgan, hands on hips, was grinning, too. "So it's true—you do have fans."

"One or two," Rossi said.

Garue had half a smile going himself. "I'm gonna wanna book signed."

"We can make that happen. But let's find out who's burying bodies in your woods, first."

"Fine by me."

Hotchner made the rest of the introductions, ending with Prentiss, who asked, "Lewis Garue?" A smile tickled the corners of her mouth. "As in, Lew Garue?"

The detective nodded, straight-faced. None of the others were following.

The detective said, "But my parents did change the spelling."

Hotchner asked, "What am I missing?"

"A phonetic game," Garue said. "Agent Prentiss speaks French, obviously."

"She speaks a bunch of languages," Morgan said.

"But how did you know she speaks French?"

"I'm a detective, son. Phonetically, 'Lew Garue' sounds very much like a French phrase—'loupgarou.'"

"Which means what?"

But Rossi answered: "Werewolf."

Garue chuckled. "Very good, Agent Rossi. A little favor my parents did for me—thought it would make me tougher."

"Must have worked," Rossi said. "You look like you can handle yourself."

"I'm still here," Garue said with a shrug.

Rossi seemed to like that response. Then he asked, "What band are you?"

"Bear clan of the Red Lake Band of the Chippewa Nation."

The two men stared at each other for a long moment and Jareau wondered what was going on.

Very softly, and evenly, Rossi said, "That wasn't us, you know."

Garue waved a dismissive hand. "There's still a lot of bad blood about the feds on the rez, but here in town? You guys will be welcomed as heroes."

"The rez?" Prentiss asked. "You mean, reservation?"

For once Rossi, not Reid, was spouting facts: "On March 21, 2005, Jeffrey Wiese, a troubled sixteen-year-old, killed his grandfather, the grandfather's girlfriend, then entered Red Lake High School and in three minutes fired off forty-five rounds. He killed five students, a teacher, and a security guard. He wandered the grounds of the school for another six or seven minutes and randomly wounded five more students before killing himself. Since the tragedy happened on the Red Lake Reservation, the FBI came in to investigate, and many people were unhappy with the way the case was handled. They thought the FBI overstepped."

"In some cases," Garue said mildly, "they did."

Rossi continued. "Some people thought the FBI was out to get the Chippewas, when Louis Jourdain—the son of Floyd 'Buck' Jourdain, Jr., the tribal chairman—was charged with conspiracy, because he knew about Wiese's plan and didn't tell anyone. Some believed the FBI was guilty of conspiracy, trying to get Jourdain out."

Garue and Rossi were again locked in a mutual stare. "Some did," the Native American said.

Hotchner was taking this in with narrowed eyes. "Are we going to have a problem here?"

Jareau was thinking, Some fan . . .

But Garue shook his head. "Not with me. When Keegan said he was going to call Agent Rossi, I was all for it. You federal guys and gals may not be much at Indian affairs, but you're a hell of a lot better at this sort of thing than we local cops are."

"Thanks for that much," Rossi said.

"There's some crazy shit going on around here, and we need your kind of help." Garue shrugged. "Anyway, I really do want a book or two signed."

The two men shared a respectful if guarded smile; then their stare-down concluded.

"We could get started," Hotchner said, looking around with frank irritation, "if we knew where our vehicles were."

Garue faced Hotchner. "That's why Deputy Swenson and I are here. Your SUVs are downtown, at the law enforcement center. Sheriff figured it would be easier for us to chauffeur you, some—just till you get the lay of the land."

"Considerate," Hotchner said. "Thank you."

Garue looked from face to face. "Any of you been to Bemidji before?"

They all shook their heads.

"We figured as much. Better you ride with us awhile."

No one argued the point.

With the help of Garue and Deputy Swenson, the team loaded their gear into the patrol vehicles. They split up as they got into the SUVs, Morgan, Prentiss, and Reid riding with Deputy Swenson while Hotchner, Rossi, and Jareau accompanied Detective Garue.

Hotchner sat up front with Garue while Jareau and Rossi shared the rear. Even though wire mesh separated front and back, the inside of the Durango was toasty warm—Jareau found that a soothing relief, after their windy entrance to what seemed to be the southernmost tip of the polar ice cap.

They had only gone fifty yards or so toward the airport's entrance when Garue said, "The building on the right there is the regional crime lab, a division of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension."

Rossi asked, "That's Keegan's office?"

"Yeah," Garue said.

The one-story glass-and-brick building was mostly dark, though Jareau could see some fluorescent lights on in the rear part of the lab.

"That's probably his light in the back," Garue was saying. "He's been working full tilt on this one since Saturday."

On the other side of the road, a two-story motel sat vacant, its windows boarded shut.

Rossi asked, "What happened there?"

"Northern Inn," Garue said. "Too many other choices—the land was sold for a new Ford dealership and the motel lost its lease."

From the airport, Garue turned left. On the right side of the road, a pine forest ended right before an overpass for Highway 71 north to International Falls, less than two hours away.

As they passed under the highway, someone might have thrown a switch—the landscape changed from rural forest to urban sprawl, strip malls, big box stores, restaurants, and gas stations lining the fourlane thoroughfare into town.

Hotchner asked, "How many people in Bemidji?"

"Almost fifteen thousand," Garue said. "Growing more every day. Nearly seven thousand students at Bemidji State University."

Jareau asked, "Crime problem at all?"

"Mostly petty stuff. Certainly nothing like what you folks are here for. Some burglaries and so on. The usual meth freaks you find anywhere. With poverty so high on the reservations, you get some B and Es, people trying to get by however they can."

Rossi said, "That was plural—'reservations'?"

Garue nodded, eyes on the road. "Three. I grew up on the Red Lake Reservation, north of here. The Leech Lake Reservation is to the east, the White Earth Reservation, west."

"Things are tough for them," Rossi said, not a question.

"Yeah," Garue agreed glumly. "The White Earth Band is doing the best, unemployment rate only twenty-five percent. At Leech Lake, it's over thirty, and nearly forty percent at Red Lake."

"That's a lot of people," Rossi said, "with a lot of time and not many worthwhile ways to fill it."

"Got that right," Garue said. He shook his head. "Desperation makes people do things they might not otherwise."

"This UnSub," Jareau said, thinking it time to steer the conversation back toward the case at hand, "seems to have done just what he wanted to with these girls."

Garue turned right onto Irvine Avenue and the retail strip was left behind for rows of well-kept older homes, mostly two-story clapboards.

For a couple of blocks, their driver said nothing and they lapsed into silence.

Finally breaking it, Garue said, "You know, you do this job long enough, you think you've seen everything."

"Yeah," Hotchner said, years of experience coloring that single word.

"We had a case a few years ago," Garue said, "crazy bastard stabbed his wife thirteen times. Then went into the bedroom, woke his three-year-old and slit the kid's throat. Woke him up first—Jesus."

Despite the heater, a chill settled over the car's interior.

"When we got to the scene," Garue was saying, "Daddy had propped the dead kid on the counter so the corpse could 'watch' as he made cutlets out of Mommy with a meat cleaver."

No one said anything.

"That was bad enough. Thought I'd never see any crime scene that could get to me again." He grimaced. "But after what I saw in the woods the other day . . ."

Garue turned left onto Eighth Street. A parking lot spread out before them on their right and beyond that sat a cluster of matching buildings.

Rossi asked, "What did you see in the woods?"

Another block passed in silence before Garue turned right onto Minnesota Avenue.

Finally, Garue said, "They looked so peaceful lying there. The coats, the blankets, the plastic, they were prepared by someone who . . . who loved them."

No one said anything. On the right, Jareau saw the first of the matching redbrick buildings. This one had the legend COUNTY ADMINISTRATION over its entrance.

"In the end," Garue said, "it was the complete lack of violence at the scene that got to me most. The last grave was shallower than the first two. Like maybe the perp . . . what did you call him? The UnSub?"

"Yes," Hotchner said. "That's our shorthand for Unknown Subject."

Garue nodded. "It was almost like your UnSub was rushed that last time. Everything else was identical, except the depth of the third grave. Somehow, the critters got to it and they picked at the plastic, and picked the hand clean, too . . . but that was all they got."

Rossi said, "We came to the same conclusion, Detective—that the killer, or whoever buried the bodies for the killer, might've wanted to protect them."

"It was the peacefulness of the graves that shook me. This is one cool-as-a-cucumber character. You just take these kids out and bury 'em in the woods like a dead pet? You can do that, man, you got something a lot colder than ice water in your veins."

In the next block, on the left side, the redbrick building carried the legend BELTRAMI COUNTY JAIL AND JUDICIAL CENTER. Garue pulled up to the curb in front of the third matching building. Over the door, this one had the words LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER.

Garue and Hotchner had to open the back doors to let Rossi and Jareau out. Jareau looked over and saw two black SUVs in the parking lot with U.S. government plates.

"This is home," Garue said. "This building houses both the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and the Bemidji PD."

Hotchner said, "Looks fairly new."

"Nineteen ninety-eight," Garue said. "All three buildings. The county decided to do it all at once and consolidate everything. Actually's made life easier."

Rossi asked, "Any closer on the cause of death?"

Garue shook his head. "Tomorrow, if we're lucky. The coroner had to send material off to the lab. You want to go in and get set up, or just wait for morning?"

A part of Jareau hoped that Hotchner would let them check into their hotel and catch one last good night's sleep, because she could anticipate what kind of hours were coming; but she knew better.

Predictably, Hotchner said, "We might as well get started right away."

Garue raised a finger. "One more thing, while I'm thinking about it—Bassinko Industries likes to consider itself a part of this community. So don't be surprised if they send someone around to talk. The bodies were found on Bassinko land, and that's the sort of press they don't want. I wouldn't be surprised if they send you a sort of . . . liaison. Or maybe envoy is more like it."

Hotchner nodded. "JJ here usually handles that kind of thing."

Jareau—who had dealt with cops, media, angry parents, and a thousand things worse than a company hack—said brightly, "I'll gladly meet with him or her."

Inside, the tiny lobby held a bulletproof-glass enclosed cubicle with a door on either side. One was marked BEMIDJI PD, the other SHERIFF'S OFFICE. The uniformed policewoman behind the glass waved at Garue and pressed the button unlocking the latter door.

Only a couple officers were working at desks in the outer bull pen; the light was off in the sheriff's office and the chief deputy's. Garue led them into a conference room, flipped on the switch and fluorescent lights in the ceiling flickered to life.

"Let's get our equipment set up," Hotchner said, "make sure everything's ready for tomorrow—want you all to get a good night's sleep, and then tomorrow, we'll hit the ground running."

They all knew their jobs, and in less than an hour, the conference room resembled their own back at Quantico. A white board on one wall was filled with questions written by Rossi and Hotchner, Prentiss and Jareau had set up the laptops and established contact with Garcia to make sure their computer communications were up, Reid was using a bulletin board on another wall to display the crime scene photos. While they all did that, Morgan added equipment to what had already been provided in the SUVs.

Once Hotchner was satisfied, they climbed into their Tahoes and followed Garue's Durango to a chain motel, a four-story building overlooking Lake Bemidji, the reason the town sprang up here in the first place.

In her room, after she'd unpacked, Jareau stared out across the black lake, four stories below, stars glinting off its choppy surface as windblown waves worked the water.

Beyond the far shore, she could see lights from the east side of town. Somewhere here, among all these peaceful houses with their glittery little lights and drawn curtains, lurked a killer.

The BAU team would get a good night's sleep, have breakfast, then begin the hunt.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011


    I would motivate anyone to read this book that is interested in crime, suspense, mystety, drama, and a little horror. This book is expessially good for Criminal Minds fans!! Knowing the characters from the show really helps you place yourself in the book and really visualize the characters. The preface is a little slow but otherwhys fantastic,a must have!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    mind blowing...craving for more!

    It took me just a day to finish it. Hats off to the writer. Felt like i was on the spot with the agents. The writing is so detailed but not boring.i wish there were more book and not just the three of them. I hope he writes more .... hopefully. I got the other 2 as quickly as possible!!! Its ssoooo worth the money you pay for it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read crime novels.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Lots of twists and turns.....

    I wish I could stumble unto a hundred of these bargain books that would be as entertaining as this one was. I truly enjoyed this thing from page one until the end. From the opening trio to the final pairing this book kept your brain ticking off the possibilities. The author would give you just little crumbs to decipher from chapter to chapter until you had a good idea of who the villain was...and then you realized that you had guessed wrong. At least I did. Really enjoyed the charachters, the setting and the pace. Just a nicely written whodunnit that was tough to put down. Definitely going to try this author again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Absolutely captivating!

    My favirote character would be, well I actualy have two. Agent Morgan and Dr. Ried.

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    I believe that people will love the book Criminal Minds: Finishi

    I believe that people will love the book Criminal Minds: Finishing School by Max Allan Collins. I think anyone who enjoys watching the TV series Criminal Minds or any other Cop shows would love this book. It is a classic chase between the FBI and a serial killer. I agree with shadowcat80 that this book is a great read. It captures the characters very well and hints very subtle clues on who the unknown subject (Unsub as they call it in the book) is. This book is a good read because it gets you thinking in one direction that you are sure it is someone and a new piece of evidence is found to get you thinking in a completely different direction. This keeps you reading because it starts your whole thinking process over again. Also, the point of view helps give more information. The book is told from a second person point of view which allows for more details and explanation of the book. Lastly, the action kept you wanting more. There was always a solution to the problem right around the corner but the agents just couldn’t get to it. They had to keep working hard to find more and more clues which pulls you into the novel.
    My favorite character was Agent Morgan. He was the person who loved to get hands on and catch the guy but wasn’t all force he was very smart to. He helped the team find numerous clues and decipher them. He was a very active role in the team and one of the most interesting people in the book.
    My favorite quote from the book was “I’m glad this is all over.” (Collins 276) This is my favorite quote because it gives you an idea of the pressure they are in. Finally closing the case took a load off of their shoulders and I can relate to that, everyone can.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012


    I luv the tv series criminal minds and this book is just as amazing. A very good read indeed:)

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    TV doesnt make a great book

    I' m an avid reader and a big Criminal Minds fan. I know books from TV series are rarely good, but when I saw it took place in my home state and in the city I went to college in, I had to buy it. Unfortunately it was about what I expected. Way too short for the price (about 175 pgs), cardboard characters, no new insight into existing characters, and the mystery was pretty blah. The upside was that its a very accurate physical description of Bemidji MN, and that part tickled me pink. I can only really recommend this book to Criminal Minds fans from Northern MN who will be delighted to read abouy their favorite characters in a familiar location.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    This book which is based off the tv show Criminal Minds, plays out like an episode of the show. It's about a serial killer that kidnaps toddler girls, raising them for ten years as his own children, and then kills them. Just as the show, the story centers around developing a profile to catch the Unknown Subject or Unsub as term is coined on the show. Being that the profile is a big part of the appeal of the story, I'm not going to include it. The book does a great job of capturing the characters of the team. Which makes the book feel like the show. If you're a fan of Criminal Minds, or if you like mysteries or both you would appreciate this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    This book is.......

    FANTASTIC i loved it! The case makes you think like a profiler. I really suggest this:)

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  • Posted January 1, 2011


    This book didnt fulfil my criminal minds book fix i should say. Not as good as the other books in this series, but wont stop me from reading more!

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  • Posted December 29, 2010


    is this the tv series or the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2009


    i loved this book sooo much i bought another one just for the hack of it! (and the other reason's a love the covers.) and i have watched it scene it first came out so bascilly i am the numberr one fan! ROCKIN OUT! and reeds soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hot really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

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