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Summary

The legendary FBI criminal profiler and international best-selling 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. 

©2020 John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (P)2020 HarperAudio

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Another fascinating insight

I found this book interesting for the insights it gives into the criminal mind and the nature or nurture argument. I found the narration of Holt McCallany made it an easy listen and it moved along at a good pace.

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Very interesting

This is an interesting book. I didn't like it as much as other Douglas/Olshaker books as it focused on only one offender and primary after his arrest, so the profiling didn't really play as much of a role. The way the epilogue is written, however, brings everything brilliantly in to focus and up to date. Well worth reading.

Excellent narration as always.

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It’s okay

Completely agree with BVerité ‘s review. It is somewhat uncomfortable listening to J.Douglas constantly praise himself. However, being a fan of true crime makes this an interesting and easy listen whilst doing housework or driving.

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  • Alyson
  • 25-12-20

A relevant and important read.

Having read several of Douglas's memoirs from his time profiling criminals, I've come to expect some repetition in his work. (In brief: Yes, you can absolutely expect him to bring up his exchange with David Berkowitz about the fake demon dog again.)

However, Douglas doesn't lean on too many redundancies in "the Killer's Shadow." The second half of the book in particular seems to do some really meaningful reflection about the lasting dangerousness of people like Joseph Paul Franklin. This account is deeply sad and horrifying, but timely.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-21

A little let down

I love all John Douglas’ books but this one specifically seems to be a little , just a little, exploitive of the political racial climate in America. Not a ton a profiling as in his earlier books. Maybe would have been better if the books itself was about murder and crime with racial motivations. I just felt it wasn’t only primarily about tracking down the killer but a tad “soap boxey”. Either way was still worth the time.

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  • katrina
  • 04-01-21

Rivetting

Amazing tie in at the end to current racial injustice and hate crimes, including the tie in to BLM.

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  • Lucie noir
  • 02-05-21

Supports BLM movement during COVID.

The most violent, cop killing, blatantly anti white movement that makes the panthers look mellow. As FBI he should know that over 560,000 whites are victims of violent black crime year after year. That’s 5 million people in 10 years. After a year of corporate funded violence he says nothing about the mainstream hate against whites. I suppose acknowledging facts is racist. I read 4 of his books, now I’m done.

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  • Sandra J Paluzzi
  • 01-05-21

eye opener

a quick and easy read . made the unbelievable believable. truth is indeed stranger than fiction

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  • Taylor
  • 10-04-21

What a ride!

If you like true crime this is right up your alley! Narration was fabulous, all the information you got from all the cases was so detailed. Huge fan now!

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  • Rachel Lindahl
  • 09-03-21

Another interesting story

I had to listen a few times to get the whole story with this one, but it’s another good story from John Douglas.
Holy also does a great hillbilly accent.

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  • Thomas Leinbach
  • 06-01-21

Must Listen Audiobook

14 words is not enough to give a Review. Return to the old format Please!!!!

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  • Alex S.
  • 17-12-20

Another great one from John and Mark

Loved listening to Holt narration of this book, as Mindhunter on Netflix was one of my favorites. Although a disturbing piece of history, John E Douglas and Mark Olshaker did a wonderful job of detailing the events that took place.

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  • Zebra3
  • 24-11-20

Excellent addition to the Mindhunter files

This is such a fascinating book. I thought it was a step up from The Killer Across the Table. I was way more interested in the focus on the singular case. The deep dive worked well in this case. And it’s always good to hear about a variety of other cases Douglas worked on throughout his career.

Cannot wait for more from Douglas and Olshaker!

1 person found this helpful