The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter

The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter

by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker


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The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases.

The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers—including  Charles Manson, ”Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and ”BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader—trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter.

Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. 

Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these.

A glimpse into the mind of a man who has pierced the heart of human darkness, The Killer Across the Table unlocks the ultimate mystery of depravity and the techniques and approaches that have countered evil in the name of justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062910639
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 15,420
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

John Douglas, the legendary FBI criminal profiler and veteran author of true crime books, has spent over twenty-five years researching and culling the stories of America’s most disturbing criminals. A veteran of the United States Air Force, he has directly worked and/or had overall supervision in over 5,000 violent crime cases over the past 48 years. He is currently chairman of the board of the “Cold Case Foundation.” One of the foremost experts and investigators of criminal minds and motivations, he currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

Mark Olshaker is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and author of ten nonfiction books and five novels, including Einstein’s Brain and The Edge. His books with former FBI Special Agent and criminal profiling pioneer John Douglas, beginning with Mindhunter and, most recently, Law & Disorder, have sold millions of copies and have been translated into many languages. Mindhunter is now a dramatic series on Netflix, directed by David Fincher. He and his wife Carolyn, an attorney, live in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Authors' Note ix

In a Small Room in the Big House 1

Introduction: Learning from the Experts 4

I The Blood of the Lamb 17

1 Little Girl Lost 19

2 "I Slept Well" 35

3 Mind of the Killer 45

4 Human Fallout 61

5 What the Psych People Said 72

6 Red Rage and White Rage 87

7 The Bottom Line 113

8 "Substantial Likelihood" 128

9 Joan's Legacy 157

II "Killing for Me Was Just Like Second Nature" 169

10 All in the Family 171

11 The Abandoned Volkswagen 199

12 Inside the Walls 207

13 "The Convenience of the Situation" 224

14 "There Were Victims in Between" 245

15 Power, Control, Excitement 264

III Angel of Death 285

16 Playing God 287

17 Working Nights 306

18 The Making of a Killer 324

19 "I Haven't Changed a Bit" 347

20 Fallen Angel 372

IV "No One Made Me Do Anything" 385

21 The Superbike Murders 387

22 What Happened to Kala and Charlie? 396

23 What Made Todd Tick? 408

24 "Good or Bad, I Still Want to Know" 426

25 Organized Versus Disorganized 453

26 Nature and Nurture 465

Epilogue: A Killer's Choice 488

Acknowledgments 507

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The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clear, readable, easy to understand prose. Impressive insights. Holds back the curtain on the minds of killers so that we can see their naked lust for power and insatiable narcissism. Informative for parents and teachers.
Anonymous 12 months ago
I have read all books published by John Douglas and this is by far my favorite. The continuity and flow blends effortlessly with sidebar information included for people who haven't read any of his previous work. Of course, the copy I am reviewing was provided as an unproved copy, but there were many instances of typos, punctuation errors, and missing or duplicated words. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC copy of the book. The opinions expressed above are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read. Interesting and enlightening.
oldwarden More than 1 year ago
Super! I've been waiting for this book since watching the Mindhunter mini-series on Netflix. A real, fleshed-out (sorry for the pun) version of what actually happened. The way the author has of drawing you into the situations he faced is amazing. You feel like you are there in the room with him, interviewing these people. And the way he has of getting these monsters to open up to him is incredible. You would have to think that if the author wasn't a law enforcement professional, he would have made a great priest, getting people to confess their sins. While only covering a handful of cases, the author is given time to delve deeper into each case. The result being a great read! I can't wait for his next book. And for the next season of Mindhunter!
January Gray More than 1 year ago
My blog post will be posted on Thursday June 13th. This book is a must read for all true crime fans! It is chilling! Very well written!
KivicCT140 More than 1 year ago
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* FBI agent John Douglas and Mark Olshaker take a deep dive into the fascinating and terrifying psych of some of the worst serial killers of the modern era. This is one book that will keep you awake at night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last week I finished reading The Killer Across The Table, by world renowned FBI criminal profiler John Douglas (The Mindhunter) and Mark Olshaker. Douglas examines four notorious serial killers in his latest well-written and thought-provoking book. No, I’m not talking about Ted Bundy or the BTK Strangler, though, they are briefly mentioned in the book as a comparison to Joseph Kondo, Donald Harvey, Todd Kohlepp and Joseph McGowan. Douglas sat with each killer, interviewing and profiling them, in the mean time, striving to learn their motivations behind their behavior and desire to kill. After twenty years at the FBI, Douglas was one of the first to begin advocating for interviewing serial killers to gain useful insights that could help him and others in shaping profiles of murders. He practically wrote the FBI book on criminal profiling. I was amazed at how accurate and spot on his profiling could be. By just reading the police files, murder book and investigation notes, Douglas puts together a detail and accurate profile of who the police should be looking at. I found the book to be an exhilarating read, not so much for the killers profiled, although, that was interesting too, but for Douglas’ profiling methodology. Thank you Net Galley and Harper Collins for providing me with the ARC for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great book