I read a lot of non-fiction as research for my novels. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of kidnap and keep stories– just finished the Jaycee Dugard story which is not necessarily a fun read but very insightful as to what happened during her years of imprisonment.
A very interesting expose I just finished was The Profiler by Pat Brown.
What I like about this book is it’s the antithesis of everything you think about profiling. Pat Brown never worked for the FBI. She self-trained herself and opened up her doors, eventually offering her profiling services to families for free.
The book starts out with her as a housewife. She lived in a small town and to help make ends meet, she and her husband rented out a room. Shockingly, there was a murder nearby of a young woman drowned in a river (which was generally unheard of for this area) and Pat began to suspect her border of perpetrating the crime.
In case she’s over thinking, Pat goes to the library to research the traits of serial killers via the old card catalogs. This is likely the genesis of her career. She becomes so convinced by what she finds that she searches her border’s possessions.
What she discovers further fuels her suspicion. Wet, muddy clothes. Used condoms. She packs up this evidence and carts it to the police station. She doesn’t outright accuse the border of murder but says for these reasons he should be looked at.
And the police basically treat it like the musings of a bored housewife.
Their dismissal pushed her to eventually make this her life’s passion. When she decided that this was what she was going to pursue– she was too old to join the FBI. She educated herself and found the best way to get word out about herself was to get media exposure and offer her services for free.
The book details several of her cases. They are microscopically detailed and repetitive at times but I enjoyed the minutia she gave and how her thought process works as she analyzes cases.
A couple of pearls I enjoyed.
“One of the main purposes of bringing in a profiler on a case is to reduce the number of suspects and to prioritize investigative avenues. While anything is possible, everything is not probable.”
“Profilers get called in on suicides more than any other kind of death. Though a few are staged homicides the majority are actually suicides.”– Paraphrased.
So, if you enjoy forensic case analysis from a feisty, independent profiler, I think you’ll like this book.