an insight into dark depths | THE KILLER ACROSS THE TABLE REVIEW



Writing style: 4
Authors intentions and success of showing it: 4
organisation: 2
enjoyment: 3
overall rating: 3.5


– The academic tone, there was no romanticism
– The fact that the four main cases were not known to me, aka not the biggest cases around

– The organisation was all over the place, muddled by John name dropping some of the big fish he had interviewed.
-at times it felt like a money grab. There was not much in there other than showing what these killers were like.



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.


This non fiction book focuses on four cases that John E Douglas, the narrator, feels impacted the way he viewed criminals, and how he profiled them. They are not the most well known cases of his, they’re not Charles, or Ted, but they are just as disturbing, and maybe more so, for how well many of them flew under the radar for years.

First of all, this book was very informative. If you have never read a John E Douglas and Mark Oshner book before, you will come to learn a lot about criminals and the ways of the american government. This book follows John  going in and out of prisons and behind police tape to learn more about killers after they have committed the crime, with the intention of learning what made them do it, so they can catch other criminals quicker next time.

I learnt about four cases I had never heard before and they were all horrible. Joseph McGowan who abused and murdered his seven year old Neighbor, Joan. Joseph Kondro who murdered and sexually assaulted two girls he knew, years apart. Donald Harvey, a orderly who killed around eighty victims in acts of ‘mercy’ and Todd Kohlhepp, a self aware killer who murdered at least ten people and was in my opinion, the most interesting case.

I feel like this book presented the information with beautifully written words. They got you sucked in and hooked quickly, which can be a great thing, as no one wants to read a book that drags on. However, that beautiful writing covered sloppy organisation. 
This book is divided into four parts, one for each crime the author focuses on. This is great, however, to prove his expertise and to compare these killers to the more well known, John is often referencing very famous killers he has already interviewed (which can make this book very boring for those of you who know the main cases very well already) While I loved learning things I had never known about people like Charles Manson, it did make things confusing. I would often be halfway through a paragraph on Joseph McGowan when the author would switch to talking about Ted Bundy, which while interesting, left me often having to go back further to remind myself of what I just read.

Overall, I found the cases highly interesting, and the writing well done. If it was organised better, this would have had a 4-4.5 star rating from me. But with the lack of organisation and repeated ego boosting comments, I found this became a very middle of the road book for me. I did not love it, but I didn’t hate it. I would definitely read another book by this duo, simply because he has interviewed so many high profile killers.

I would recommend this to lovers of true crime, and those who don’t mind being rehashed on the well known cases.  


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