Book Review: The Killer Across the Table by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

I was so disappointed when Mindhunter was cancelled. But then I received a copy of this next book and the world was right again for a while.

Goodreads Blurb

The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

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.

The Killer Across the Table Book Cover


Look, the blurb for this book really covers everything you need to know. What I’m going to try to do is add some new context as to why you should read this book.

  1. It is a must for anybody with an interest in the workings of serial killers. The amount of detail that The Killer Across the Table goes into is phenomenal.
  2. If you have already watched Mindhunter, don’t make the mistake in thinking that you will learn nothing new from this book. The book covers more cases than the show and goes into a lot more detail.
  3. The deep level of detail means that nothing is left spared. This book is not for the faint hearted. You have been warned.
  4. If you get the audiobook, Jonathon Groff will read it to you!

Overall, The Killer Across the Table does exactly what it says on the tin. For anyone with an interest in the area, it is a wonderful read and I totally recommend it.

Pick up your copy of The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter here.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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