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  • The Cases That Haunt Us

  • From Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, the FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Sheds Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away
  • Written by: John Douglas, Mark Olshaker
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (280 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Violent, provocative, shocking. Call them what you will, but don't call them open and shut.

Did Lizzie Borden murder her own father and stepmother? Was Jack the Ripper actually the Duke of Clarence? Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? America's foremost expert on criminal profiling and 25-year FBI veteran John Douglas, along with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, explores those tantalizing questions and more in this mesmerizing work of detection. With uniquely gripping analysis, the authors reexamine and reinterpret the accepted facts, evidence, and victimology of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime, including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Zodiac Killer, and the Whitechapel murders. Utilizing techniques developed by Douglas himself, they give detailed profiles and reveal chief suspects in pursuit of what really happened in each case. The Cases That Haunt Us not only offers convincing and controversial conclusions, it deconstructs the evidence and widely held beliefs surrounding each case and rebuilds them - with fascinating, surprising, and haunting results.

©2016 John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Cases That Haunt Us

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  • Overall
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Very Interesting- Good Narrator

I had previously read Mindhunter, and then watched the show on Netflix and a few of the author's speakings on Youtube.
The content of this book is very interesting, and the insights are enlightening. He has a very laid back way of writing which helps you understand the more difficult content. He's detailed, but not over the top with gore or anything like that.
The narrator was great, and almost kind of funny when he does other people's voices.
I listened to it while at work, it's a good background one because it's broken into smaller cases as opposed to one big story.

6 people found this helpful

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should have left JBR out of it otherwise good

I admire Douglas and his expertise but there is a critical flaw in his book: he can't help himself to talk of the jon benet Ramsey case for which he was an expert for the Ramsey family. it was not a shining moment for him and uses too much of the book defending his involvement, essentially.

For an expert, his explanations and obvious biases in his coverage of jon benet Ramsey's murder really deflates the book as a whole and ones view of Douglas as a kind of modern Sherlock Holmes.

his theory of what happened is almost laughable given the statistics of who the perpetrator likely is in such cases versus the scenario he proposes. he does not consider all the potential suspects and studiously avoids mentioning one family member in particular. he also casually throws aside or summarily explains away troubling facts (the ransom note and amount, the huge size of the home, etc) that make his young or teen aged assailants entering and committing this crime rather preposterous.

one could be forgiven for being left with the impression he was hired to assist the lawyers of the ramseys in muddling things up for the authorities and his protestations to the contrary ring rather tinny and weak. he doesn't disclose how much he his remuneration was - he can talk about violence depravity and gore but apparently the money topic is too taboo for him.

when he deals with the critique of an associate of his as to why this associate wouldn't get involved even for money to assist the Ramsay's situation, Douglas instead turns on him and expresses dismay at this other experts attitude. again, it sounded hollow as a defence to a rather astute critique of Douglas' involvement.

the rest of the book are summaries of cases and his take on things and are interesting particularly if you're not that familiar with the cases. I'd have been happier if he had fewer cases (and simply left the Ramsey case out of it entirely) and went into more depth and perhaps even brought in his "team" of experts to also give their take on it.

3 people found this helpful

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would recommend

I found the author's writing interesting and enjoyed the dissection of each case. It was both interesting and insightful. I appreciated that it was writing by someone with the insight, education and experience to take apart the cases rather than someone with a passion for this type of thing. the narrator had a good voice and cadence. I would highly recommend if you enjoy true crime with no over the top theatrics.

2 people found this helpful

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Ok

If you are a news junkie (guilty), there isn't much new here. I was hoping for information I didn't already know. It is well written and "pleasant" to listen to, aside of course for hearing what humans can do to one another.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I first read this book 20 years ago, when it first came out and when Ann Rule and Dateline dominated the true crime book and tv scene. A lot has changed since then and true crime has become a mainstream obsession, for good reason. We're fascinated by the evil ones among us and decade after decade we try time and again to understand the incomprehensible acts they commit. John Douglas has the distinction of having developed the science of criminal profiling during his career with the FBI. In this book he looks at some of the best known and most perplexing unsolved cases, from Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey. (He also reviews the Lindbergh kidnapping of which there was someone convicted and executed, yet there is consensus that the primary perpetrator actually escaped justice.) He applies his profiling techniques to rule out some suspects and highlight others, offering his opinion of who likely committed the crime. It's fascinating stuff. Yeah, his famous ego is on display, but the man has earned it, hasn't he? He remains an advocate for justice for all, including all the victims of many lesser known crimes. His comments at the end expose his frustration at trying to implement strategies that could help solve crimes quickly, but which require much cooperation among states and cities - something insurmountable, it seems. I should check if any of this has changed in 20 yrs. Apparently in Canada we did implement at least one of his recommended strategies and it's working well. He has a couple of new books out and I'm eager to read them, now. Great narration, highly recommended for true crime aficionados.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting Perspectives

I enjoyed the "Manhunter" POV angle of this book as the author looked at infamous crimes. I did find that some of the case studies dragged on a bit, but overall I'd say if you're a true crime enthusiast, or even interested in criminal psychology, give this book a look.

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Great content BUT...

Overall this book is fantastic, however John Douglas comes across as pompous and condescending when he speaks of his past and his achievements. The true crime aspects of the book are well worth the read though.

1 person found this helpful

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great detail on the cases we all heard about

very detsiled explanation of why people appear to be guilty when the are not guilty

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  • CmE
  • 2022-06-25

Enjoyable

I got this book for free with the audible membership, and quite enjoyed listening to it.
I didn’t know any of these cases, not details anyways - I remember the case of Jonbenet when I was a child, but nothing specific.
The “chapters” are very off, that would be my only complaint. The reader made me feel like I was listening to a 90’s or early 2000’s true crime show. Some may not enjoy, but I loved that.

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very good listen

the reading of this book along with all the information given is a very good listen . you will learn things and see cases from a different perspective

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-12-17

John Douglas is AMAZING

This book is incredible. It is insightful, balanced and completely enthralling. John Douglas does the job we all are fascinated with but deep down we could never do. Facts and evidence seem so obvious after he explains them to you and he makes you feel like you found them yourself. This was the last of all of his books I have " read" and actually read, and I hope he does more, his brain is the Alexandra's Library of crime. I wish I could give this book more stars.

54 people found this helpful

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  • wyohalter
  • 2020-02-16

Ugh!

I had high hopes this criminal profiler would have had answers about the Jon Benet Ramsey case. After listening to this book I came to a couple of conclusions. John Douglas is full of himself. In only one case which was not even included in the book did he mention being involved in the profiling of an actual real time case which resulted in affirmation he could profile; that being the Atlanta murder killer. Otherwise, he simply looked at some information from prior cases and added his two cents as if it meant something so long past when the crimes occurred. Though he is not a detective, he certainly seemed to armchair quarterback all of these cases, indicating his own superiority with regard to all of them. It was an exhausting listen. I was outraged to find someone with his background would become a paid party to the Ramsey case on behalf of the parents who were suspects at the time. I found his reasoning regarding it ridiculous. He was not privy to all of the case information and managed to interject himself into a criminal case in a way no one in law enforcement would have, resulting in him having to appear in the grand jury regarding it. It is possible his involvement actually further inhibited law enforcement from solving the case by having coached the family about what to expect when dealing with upcoming interviews with law enforcement. The stretches he made to come to a conclusion the parents were not involved seemed ridiculous to me. The biggest "tell" was when he interviewed John Ramsey for a short period of time BEFORE ever reviewing anything about the case and became convinced of his innocence. Really? That is the most unprofessional manner of approaching a case ever. He clearly is only interested in promoting himself and his ego and need to be in the limelight is certainly what drew him to the Ramsey case. I will not read another of his books. Huge disappointment.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Simone
  • 2019-03-23

Fascinating

A new look at some historically popular unsolved crimes told from the point of view of an FBI profiler.

It felt like a really interesting examination of the events as opposed to just “exploitative murdertainment”.

Jack the Ripper
Lizzie Borden
The Lindbergh Baby
The Zodiak Killer
The Black Dahlia
Bambi Bembenek
The Boston Strangler
Jon Benet Ramsey

35 people found this helpful

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  • John Frost
  • 2019-01-18

Meh

This books is more about the author than entertaining the reader. Kept waiting for it to improve but it never did, even when arriving at the most current case of JonBenet. Skip it.

32 people found this helpful

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  • E. Stieger
  • 2017-07-05

Great read!!! More details would have been great.

It was a fast listen however if your not paying 100% you miss quite a bit. Really fast chapters .

23 people found this helpful

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  • Sherri L. Smith
  • 2018-07-01

interesting

I really enjoyed this book, for the most part. My biggest criticism would be that I felt there was a lot of bias given to the Ramsey analysis. That's my own personal opinion and others may find the analysis incredibly fascinating. But because I felt like it took too much time stressing a particular Viewpoint it lost the shine of all the other stories in the book.

21 people found this helpful

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  • night owl
  • 2017-02-17

Outstanding

Incitefull look at some fascinating cases.The first thing I've read on Jack The Ripper, in years that hasn't bored me. I have to disagree on the Lindbergh findings. Bruno may not have worked alone but was the main culprit. One doesn't have to be educated to be intelligent. Never believed Patsy wrote that note and this latest stuff about Berkeley is ridiculous. If he had killed his sister there is no way the Ramseys would let the police interview him. As you can see I get really into these cases. If you do too, this is a great book with great narration.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Sera
  • 2017-02-03

A well written scratch to a True Crime itch

The narrator was fantastic. It was easy to visualize a scruffy, seasoned defective going over each case with you one on one. The writing was perfect. Logical, at times funny, and straight forward. This was everything I desired from the True Crime genre, so much so that I fear everything from now on will
Pale in comparison. My only negative thought is why, oh why, did it have to end?

19 people found this helpful

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  • jonathan meharg
  • 2017-12-27

Eye Opening

I mainly got this book because of the JonBenet Ramsey case because I wanted to know the profile of who they thought had committed the crime. I remember John Douglas being a pretty staunch supporter of the Ramsey family. even though I'm a fan of True Crime Jack the Ripper has never been interesting to me but the way he profile. Just based on the crimes was actually very interesting so if you like shows like mindhunter or Criminal Minds you'll really enjoy this book.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Brenda
  • 2017-06-20

NOT A FAN OF JOHN DOUGLAS

True to form John Douglas, likes to blow his own horn about how great he is and how smart he is. His huge ego just wont let him see all the things around him. I have decided this is my last book written by this author. I won't waste anymore of my time and money on his books.

13 people found this helpful