Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds - Katherine Ramsland

The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds
Katherine Ramsland
Berkley Boulevard

True Crime/Nonfiction

It’s clear that knowing the characters from the show “Criminal Minds” and their various histories would lend an extra dimension to reading this book. As someone who has not seen the show, I still found these cases fascinating. The author takes situations and storylines from the show that were inspired be real events and details those real events.

Naturally, any fictional series is going to take a few liberties with the ‘real’ story for the sake of drama and pacing. The author points out those differences here, and also talks about how what we see on TV differs from the real job of a behavioral scientist. She does so in a completely respectful way that will not offend fans of this show or others like it. Her intent is clearly not to criticize, but to educate. And this she does, splendidly. Her examples are clear and concise and her language is easily understandable.

Instead of taking an episode-by-episode approach, the author starts out with a history of various investigative techniques, then relates them to characters and situations from the show. For those readers who take a deeper interest, there’s a great glossary of forensic psychiatry terms and even a bibliography for further reading. This is a very interesting way of writing true crime, I find. As long as there are shows like “C.S.I.” (the subject of her previous book) and “Criminal Minds,” there will be viewers who want to know more. Whether you’d like to broaden your knowledge base or just find out more about a specific case, this is the book for you.

Rating: 8
February 2010
ISBN# 978-0-425-23226-2 (trade paperback)


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