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Book reviews for "Olshaker,_Mark" sorted by average review score:

Einstein's Brain
Published in Paperback by Pocket Books (1982)
Authors: Mike Olshaker and Mark Olshaker
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What do these people have in common?
Why would people with diverse interests suddenly become obseccesed with Physics? They discover the truth that they are the recipients of the brain of the most famous Physicist in the World, Albert Einstein. Follow their journey as their collective insight leads them to discoveries that Einstein did not live to see.

The Edge
Published in Hardcover by Random House Value Publishing (1997)
Authors: Mark Olshaker and Mark Clshaker
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Mark Olshaker's "The Edge" is a gripping, tension-filled whodunit with lots of graphic violence and a feisty heroine named Sandy Mansfield. However, Sandy isn't quite so smart when she finds herself falling for the prime suspect: Dr. Nicholas Ramsey, charming, debonair and perhaps a hard-hearted killer. Ramsey also had a brother who was a demented serial killer, and it is his motifs that a new killer is using in homage to the crazed Neville Ramsey.
There are some major inconsistencies, however, that keep it from being a true "5" thriller. For instance, letters are being sent to Mansfield after each of the killings, urging her on. However, when it seems as if one of the killings is a copycat crime, she still gets a letter with the main killer taking credit. A big plot faus pax in an otherwise tightly written medical thriller. The ending is rather overblown, but it works okay, and I guess one can't help but wish Ms. Mansfield well.
The book moves well and the dialogue is terse and believable.


The Edge is absolutely an unforgettable thrill.
The details of the murders,the cunning connections the chemistry between a suspect and detective Sandy Mansfield are just a few things that give the story its course and non-stop action. The use of medical science as portrayed in this story is hard to put away from the mind. The force that pushes the murderer to butcher and "play with the body" lasts mind provoking. The end leaves the reader stunned yet fully satisfied with each detail and concept given. Olashaker contribution to the story is fully present in each aspect of The Edge. It is a non-stop thrilling, unforgettable experience for a human mind.

Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World
Published in Paperback by Doubleday (1998)
Authors: C. J. Peters and Mark Olshaker
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A good mix of virology, biography and adventure!
This book is an exciting look into the professional and private life of a particular virologist/epidemiologist, C.J. Peters. The action takes place in several locals including MARU, CDC and AMRIID.

Unlike "Hot Zone" (mentioned by previous reviewers) this book is non-fiction and written by an expert.

The story provides any would-be epidemiologist with a realistic view of the problems and challenges that are likely to be encountered. (Though it is unlikely that he, or she, would experience this much adventure in one lifetime - Peters is the James Bond of epidemiologists!) When dealing with communities of people with varying cultural and religious beliefs, not all of the challenges are of a scientific nature.

Reading this book is well worth the time - and particularly recommended to young people thinking of entering the field of medicine. There can be more to life as a doctor than cursing HMOs and tracking a swollen stock portfolio!

A Very Real Perspective on Emerging Infectious Agents
C.J. Peters retold the years of battling emerging infections very well. He explained what the clinical symptoms of the disease were, as well as any additional scientific info about the virus itself. He also told of his battle to stay married while hunting these viruses. I would certainly recommend this book to any aspiring virologists out there, or anyone who is just interested and wants to remain informed.

Excellent book
If you thoroughly enjoyed "The Hot Zone" and are now wishing to learn more about viruses (without taking a course) this is the book you're looking for. Scientific, yet entertaining and humane, it is a rare find. Dr. Peters has an extraordinary ability to explain his concepts in such a clear manner as to make it possible for the lay person to understand. I recommend it highly.

Broken Wings
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Pocket Books (27 February, 2001)
Authors: John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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Whoops, I bought a novel!
I love true crime and of course, know John Douglas' name well. I ordered this, not realizing until I was running out the door with it in hand to read on the subway that it was a novel. I was a little disappointed, because I generally am more interested in true stories. I did read the whole book and I enjoyed it. I am guessing that there is probably a lot of John Douglas in the main character (Jake Donovan - same initials, even). The idea of the Flying Squad on which the book is based, is fascinating. And, of course, solving the mystery is half the fun. Well written, a good story, believable characters and even a few good chuckles.

Count me a BROKEN WING groupie!

This was my first Douglas/Olshaker book. It won't be my last.

I can't remember reading anything since john case's THE GENESIS CODE that rang so absolutely true.

Douglas' time at Quantico permeates every page and each plot twist is presented with such authority...I never doubted the story line at all.

I'll be checking out more Douglas/Olshaker stories and I look forward to more missions by Millicent's mavericks -- the Broken Wings.

If you liked a good action story, well told, with people you'll come to like, read this book!


Douglas and Olshaker Have Done It Again
Broken Wings is absolutely intriguing, but what else would we expect from best-selling authors Douglas and Olshaker? These two authors have traditionally written amazing non-fiction books, but I absolutely could not wait, aftering hearing Douglas was coming out with a novel, to delve myself right into reading it! The main character in Broken Wings, Jake Donovan, fulfills Douglas's actual vision by starting up a flying squad that will be ready to fly to the scene of a crime, fully prepared to analyze and solve criminal cases. This novel gets a strong five stars and a pat on the back to Douglas and Olshaker, for another job well done.

Mind Hunter : Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
Published in Paperback by Pocket Books (1997)
Authors: John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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A very good read, start to finish
John Douglas' book Mind Hunter is a quality read from start to finish. In this book Douglas explains how he gets inside the heads of some of the serial killers that he has helped track down. One thing Douglas makes sure to do is to give credit to the law enforcement officers that are actually investigating the cases. He takes no credit for finding these killers, he just provides a narrowed point of view for the detectives. Douglas makes the reader understand the anguish that the victim and the victim's families must go through. Not to mention the physical and mental toll it takes on the investigators.

The stories he tells makes the book move along at a nice pace and he doesn't drag down the narrative with a lot of technical gibberish. He is quick and to the point. I suppose the credit for this should go to Mr. Olshaker instead.

No matter who is responsible,Mind Hunter is an excellent read that you will find yourself re-reading over and over again.

This book is one that you can't start without finishing.
Douglas's career experience is anything but boring. Sort of a biographic story, Douglas tells how he struggled to find a career for himself and then stumbles his way into the FBI. He takes us through how the criminal profiling unit became a recognized unit under the FBI. However, don't get me wrong, the book is rich with terror as Douglas recounts the cases he worked with some of the most brutal criminals of our time. I never used to read for pleasure and since reading Mindhunter, I have gone on to read Obsession and Journey into Darkness (also written by Douglas and Mark Olshaker). I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in criminology, to read this book.

Great Book
This book is a great start to those who are interested in behavioral sciences, the subject profiling or life in the FBI. The book is detailed in the techniques John Douglas developed and is very easy to read for a person who is not familiar with psychology.

The book starts off with Douglas' early life, entry into the FBI, and the struggles he endured to get profiling on the map. Then, Douglas procedes in showing the reader how success in famous cases thereafter solidified profiling as a real, if somewhat imperfect, science. Douglas goes case by case, pointing out what he looks for in determining the type of killer responsible, and the clues needed to single out the offender.

If you are interested in profiling, John Douglas will show you how he and others like him have done it for years. Unlike the previous reviewer stated, Douglas DOES show you how a trained professional would profile a criminal, but the reader should not expect to be able to profile someone themselves because it takes years of experience and training. He shows the reader what type of physical and behavioral evidence he looks for when creating a profile. In one chapter, he even decides to take you step by step in detail on how he developed a profile for a killer.

Profiling is a behavioral science technique and while Douglas integrates psychological theory, it does not get at all technical or something that the reader will not understand. Douglas and Olshaker made sure this was a book that anyone could read.

John Douglas covers a lot of cases in this book and while they may not be detailed to every piece of evidence in the case, the book overall succeeds in showing the reader how the cases were solved, a general idea of FBI life, profiling, and the criminal mind.

...And no, as explained in Douglas' books, serial killers or others cannot read this book and come up with a way to get away with murder... an attempt by a killer to use this sort of tactic would just implicate him further by blatent behavioral cues, as explained.

If you like this book, I would definitely recommend any of John Douglas and Mark Olshaker's books.

Unnatural Causes
Published in Hardcover by William Morrow (1986)
Author: Mark Olshaker
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A good story
This was a good story. Just a tad unbelievable, but isn't that what fiction is about? Plenty of action, but a lot of drama, too. Olshaker does a good job of mixing the fiction with fact. He writes in a fairly seamless manner. Enough detail on the biological aspect to be interesting, but not too much, so as to bog you down. If you like Robin Cook, you will like this.

Journey into Darkness
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Pocket Books (1997)
Authors: John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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Journey Into Darkness
A very good book. Seeing what human beings can do to eachother, especially what they do to children children, can make you want to vomit. Douglas is a very good profiler. The only problem with this book is that the author spent too much time focusing on how the families of the victims and how they are helping to reach out to the families of victims of violent crimes. He took three chapters to talk about the family and hystory of a murder victim names Lance Corp. Collins. It dragged on a bit, and he payed special attention to this victim, and almost no attention to the personal lives of the other victims.
Also, I would have liked to see more about how profiles are made, not just the profiles in each case.
All in all it was a good book and I wouldn't mind reading his other books.

Examining the mind of a killer
"Journey into Darkness" gives a harrowing portrait of the brutality of murder. The book includes several stories of actual criminal cases involving serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, etc. With his years of experience in the FBI, Douglas has developed the ability to predict the profile of a killer with an excellent degree of accuracy. He is straightforward and honest about his opinions on crime and our system of justice. This is good reading material, but be forewarned: with its graphic explanations and disturbing nature, this book is not intended for the weak of heart.

A read that scared the daylights out of me!
Though this book still has John Douglas's usual pat on his own back all through it, it's truly a terrifying read.

The only unfortunate part of the book is Douglas's rehash of the Simpson case (yawn), and his showing us how he'd profile the killer is a big bore.....and it's in here because John Douglas likes to talk about how good he is (and I'm sure he is....but the man has an ego problem).

Aside from that profile, the reading is so scary that I couldn't sleep, and as far as true crime books, that rarely happens to me.

It's an excellent read, and gives some worthy "tips" as far as your own self-preservation, and the safety of your children.

In spite of Douglas himself, I enjoyed this book almost too much. I was afraid to go in front of my windows for days!

Absolutely worth buying and reading...

The Cases That Haunt Us
Published in Hardcover by Scribner (14 November, 2000)
Authors: John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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A VERY promising start, but disappointing ending...
I've read most of John Douglas' books, and most of the other books inspired by the work done in the FBI's Behavioral Sciences unit. I have a deep respect for Douglas and his many colleagues around the country who continue to work in law enforcement and are students of the criminal mind.

"The Cases that Haunt Us" is, for the most part, a work that deserves as much accolade as Douglas and Olshaker's previous books. The historical perspective and fresh evaluative light shed on such classic cases as Jack the Ripper and the Lindbergh kidnapping is fascinating and invaluable. However, upon reading the final chapter, I was left with the nagging feeling that every chapter in the book was a carefully calculated setup to prepare the reader for the final chapter, where Douglas presents his findings and opinions on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.

I don't fault him for being unobjective. He admits that he was hired by the Ramseys' lawyers to provide his opinions on their possible guilt or innocence. He was not, as is often assumed by the public, hired to provide a profile of the killer (he was never given access to the autopsy reports, crime scene photos, physical evidence, etc., that would be necessary for a true profile). As with his style in the previous chapters, he presents the facts of the case. But his chapter on JonBenet is hopelessly contaminated by his own involvement with the family (none of the other high profile cases in the book involved him personally). The result is a missive that reads like a cross between a rationalization and an apology. Don't get me wrong, Douglas presents his findings in a clear and very logical manner, and I don't disagree with his findings. I just wish for the sake of this book, that he had left the Ramsey case alone and had added some additional historical cases (JFK or MLK Jr assassinations, for instance, or the OJ case) in which he was not personally involved.

Much has been written about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, and I was curious to see Douglas' own conclusions on this case. But by including it in this book, he busted what was easily a 5-star work down to 3 stars.

Fascinating insight on infamous cases
This is the best Douglas book since his first, "Mindhunter." Subsequent books has have tended to be repetitive with not much new information. In this book, since he is looking into historical cases for the most part, he offers new analyses and ideas about the Unsubs in cases including Jack the Ripper, Lizzy Borden, Charles Lindbergh Jr, Zodiac killer, and Boston Strangler.

I almost wish he hadn't included the JonBenet Ramsey case, because I think that takes away from the rest of the book. He could have included some other cases that still "haunt" us, that would be interesting from a historical point of view. I don't think enough time has passed for people to consider the Ramsay case objectively. I am not saying I disagree with his conclusions about the Ramsays, but I don't completely buy them either. If he is ever proved wrong, he will have to eat a ton of crow. Enough said.

Still, I would recommend this book for true crime lovers, historical crime buffs, and anyone with an interest in psychological profilings. I admit freely my favorite TV show is Discovery Channels "The New Detectives." If you have never seen it, and you fall into one of the above categories, you must check this show out.

Fascinating interpretations of historic cases
THE CASES THAT HAUNT US provides fascinating and convincing insights into some very high-visibility crimes. When Douglas says Jack the Ripper was So-and-So or someone like So-and-So (I don't want to give you a spoiler here), I believe him. Douglas makes solid arguments regarding Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, the Lindbergh kidnapping and the Zodiac. Those chapters kept me turning the pages and then wanting to learn more. I ordered additional Jack the Ripper and Lizzie Borden books and videos...even before I finished reading CASES.

Which brings me to the last chapter, on JonBenet Ramsey. That chapter read too much like a justification of Douglas's controversial defense of the Ramseys, and less like a profile. After all, he didn't have access to the evidence he would normally use to make a profile, so how could he really decide that the Ramseys are innocent? He measures other theorists with the yardsticks: "people don't act out of character. If they appear to, it is only because you don't understand the character well enough," and "'when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'" Douglas would do well to measure himself with those yardsticks, too.

In retrospect, the "look and feel" of the beginning chapters of CASES doesn't seem to match the last chapter, and vice versa. Douglas and Olshaker seem to make careful studies of the historic cases, then quickly zoom over decades to Douglas's defense of his position regarding the Ramseys. Only a few references to the earlier murders tie the chapters together. Perhaps...the earlier chapters were included only as a build-up to JonBenet Ramsey. Alternatively, perhaps Douglas and Olshaker were writing a history, then decided to tack on JonBenet Ramsey. Or, maybe they knew that Jack the Ripper and JonBenet Ramsey would sell, and therefore added some cases in between.

That said, the bottom line is that CASES is a slightly disjointed but intriguing book from beginning to end. There's something here for those interested in history, and those interested in current events.

Obsession: The Fbi's Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists, and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back
Published in Hardcover by Scribner (1998)
Authors: John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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Very Disturbing Look at the Criminal Mind
In Obsession, John Douglas gives the reader a brief glimpse into the criminal mind and a short overview of the process of criminal profiling. I like the fact that he refuses to make any excuses for criminals (coming from a dysfunctional family, childhood abuse, insanity, etc.) He makes it very clear that regardless of a person's background or previous experiences, the execution of a crime is always voluntary....that the criminal made a choice to disregard the consequences of his actions, and inflict consequences on an innocent victim. The only thing I didn't really care for too much in this book was the fact that so little was devoted to actual criminal profiling. Most of the book is dedicated to victim's rights and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. While there is nothing wrong with such topics, and he does make some very excellent points, I felt a little bit shortchanged after becoming intrigued with the coverage of criminal psychology...intrigued enough to look into it further as a possible career, and then the rest of the book jumps into victim's rights and never looks back.

Indecent Obsession
Yet another classic expose of the sadistic sociopath written by the man who knows them best - John Douglas. In this book, John meticulously describes 2 types of obsessions - the obsessions of the sociopathic sex criminals who prey on society, and the obsessions which drive law enforcement officials who, very often risk their own safety and sanity in order to capture these monsters and bring about justice.

Throughout his quarter century in the FBI, John gained valuable knowledge. He learned how serial offenders "profile" their potential victims to test their vulnerability. He learned what ruses they employ to lure unsuspecting victims away from areas of safety. And as he graphically illustrates in the tragic stories of Jennifer Levin, Katie Souza Hanley, and Stephanie Schmidt, he learned how sometimes we can unfortunately place our trust in the wrong person, a person who is quite literally "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

So instead of speaking disparagingly about John, we should realise that we have cause to be grateful to him. He has such great insight into the minds of these human demons, and because of his lecturing and writing, he has undoubtedly saved many lives. We should thank him in any way possible - one day his experience and insight might help save our own life or the life of a loved one. He has given us valuable advice about how to keep ourselves and our children safe. He has showed us how we can turn profiling to our own advantage, how we can use it and our own survival instincts to keep ourselves safe. Undoubtedly this type of knowledge is certainly just as important as the knowledge of how to perform adequate, life saving first aid treatment.

John Douglas- One of the Real American Heroes
Without a doubt, John Douglas is extraordinary and a very dear man. He has dealt with, on a DAILY basis, for years, into the horrific and graphic details of the aftermath of serial killers, serial rapists, stalkers, mutilators. He has gotten into the minds of those criminals and looked at the crime through their point of view. Being able to do this process, called profiling, he has identified these killers and sexual predators. Still with all that he has seen, he has given so much compassion and empathy to the victims of these acts of violence. John Douglas has tried to also get the knowledge to the people so that we can all become more aware. He has traveled to hospital emergency rooms to inform doctors and staff about evidence needed for rape cases. He has also conducted seminars in colleges. This is an excellent book that John Douglas has written. Mr. Douglas is very respected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in which he worked for over twenty-five years. He became head of the Investigative Support Unit in 1979. May John's story go on. He's one of the real American heros. As a victim of attempted rape and child molestation myself and from all of the other victims in the U.S. that he has helped, I would like to extend a very heartfelt and deep appreciation to John Douglas.

The Anatomy of Motive : The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Simon & Schuster (Paper) (2000)
Authors: John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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