When a Killer Calls by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (Review by Lara Ferguson)
1 min read
Rating: 3/5 ⭐
When a young woman disappears in a small town in South Carolina, where everyone knows everyone else, it is big news. This was true when, on May 31, 1985, Shari Smith vanished, leaving her car running in the family driveway. In spite of the full focus of law enforcement as well as a massive manhunt, she cannot be found. Later, when several taunting calls come from someone claiming to know where she is, it is apparent that they are dealing with a devious and dangerous criminal and the FBI should be involved.
Then a young girl is taken from her yard while she is playing with her younger brother, and it seems that a serial killer may be evolving in their little town.
These are the tragedies that serve as our introduction to the workings of the FBI criminal profiler, John Douglas.
Using his personal experience with the case along with the actual files, John divulges to the reader his thought process and strategy when developing a profile and how that profile can aid law enforcement in the capture of criminals. The book combines a close up look at the family dynamics, as well as the struggle of the town to keep its citizens safe with specific details of the investigation and subsequent capture and prosecution of Larry Gene Bell, a man that Douglas identifies as one of the most dangerous serial killers he ever encountered.
This book is not only a compelling tale of a tragedy and a sobering look at the mind of a serial killer, it is also a fascination study of the inner workings and beginnings of the FBI’s profiling arm.