The Killer’s Shadow by John E Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Posted December 17, 2020 in review Tags:

The Killer’s Shadow by John E Douglas and Mark OlshakerThe Killer's Shadow by John Douglas, Mark Olshaker
Pages: 304

Genres: True Crime
Source: ARC, NetGalley, Audible
Narrator: Holt McCallany
Also by this author: When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling, and Justice in a Small Town
Amazon iBooks Audible

The legendary FBI criminal profiler and international bestselling author of Mindhunter and The Killer Across the Table returns with this timely, relevant book that goes to the heart of extremism and domestic terrorism, examining in-depth his chilling pursuit of, and eventual prison confrontation with Joseph Paul Franklin, a White Nationalist serial killer and one of the most disturbing psychopaths he has ever encountered.

Worshippers stream out of an Midwestern synagogue after sabbath services, unaware that only a hundred yards away, an expert marksman and avowed racist, antisemite and member of the Ku Klux Klan, patiently awaits, his hunting rifle at the ready.

The October 8, 1977 shooting was a forerunner to the tragedies and divisiveness that plague us today. John Douglas, the FBI’s pioneering, first full-time criminal profiler, hunted the shooter—a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin, whose Nazi-inspired beliefs propelled a three-year reign of terror across the United States, targeting African Americans, Jews, and interracial couples. In addition, Franklin bombed the home of Jewish leader Morris Amitay, shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. The fugitive supported his murderous spree robbing banks in five states, from Georgia to Ohio.

Douglas and his writing partner Mark Olshaker return to this disturbing case that reached the highest levels of the Bureau, which was fearful Franklin would become a presidential assassin—and haunted him for years to come as the threat of copycat domestic terrorist killers increasingly became a reality. Detailing the dogged pursuit of Franklin that employed profiling, psychology and meticulous detective work, Douglas and Olshaker relate how the case was a make-or-break test for the still-experimental behavioral science unit and revealed a new type of, determined, mission-driven serial killer whose only motivation was hate.

A riveting, cautionary tale rooted in history that continues to echo today, The Killer's Shadow is a terrifying and essential exploration of the criminal personality in the vile grip of extremism and what happens when rage-filled speech evolves into deadly action and hatred of the “other" is allowed full reign.

The Killer's Shadow includes an 8-page color photo insert.

I have highly enjoyed Douglas’ previous books, but The Killer’s Shadow missed the mark a bit. First, I felt the story was more focused on the killer and not the method of capture. I enjoy Douglas’ books because of the unique insight into profiling. In The Killer’s Shadow that was just a TINY chapter. Second, the story seemed disjointed at times. The killer has a LOT of crimes and he traveled a great deal. Trying to keep up with all he did was challenging. Again, had the focus been on Douglas attempts to identify the killer, it would have made more sense. Honestly, Douglas seemed to be a passive storyteller.

However, the story is still timely and intriguing. This is not a killer I was familiar with, but his actions are increasingly more common. I was surprised to know he took responsibility for a double homicide in my town of Cincinnati, OH.

The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas, Evil has a Name by Jim Clemente, I Will Find You by Joe Kenda…then you will probably like The Killer’s Shadow!


The Killer’s Shadow

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