Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book Review - Mysteries of the Criminal Mind


TIME-LIFE Mysteries of the Criminal Mind: The Secrets Behind the World's Most Notorious Crimes

By: Time-Life Books
Publisher: Time-Life
Publication Date: February 2015
ISBN: 978-1618933539
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: April 11, 2014

Okay, I admit it – I love gangster movies, forensic shows and who-dun-it mysteries on television. So when I was offered this new Time-Life book on the criminal mind, I jumped on the chance to review it. Does it live up to my expectations? Yes, and I really enjoyed the somewhat different approach it takes on what makes these hoodlums tick.

Before delving into the stories of the most infamous criminals, this book explores what turns some people into cold-blooded killers. We get a brief history of what early criminologists suspected happened in the minds of these men – and women – from left-handedness to bumps on the head to turn them into criminals. From here the authors take us to present-day DNA research, environmental influences and other possible causes. It all makes for some interesting reading.

The bulk of Mysteries of the Criminal Mind focuses on the most notorious killers, many of whom the reader will be familiar with, from Lucky Luciano to Ted Bundy. There are, also, many criminals in this book who may not be at the forefront of history books but their stories are no less compelling. Profiles are sectioned by topics such as Mobsters, Arson, The Lethal Female, and include photos, sidebars and inserts. I found myself repeatedly flipping forward/back, skipping to biographies that grabbed my attention. Before long, I had read the whole book.

If you’ve read my reviews, you will know that I’m a big fan of Time-Life books. They tackle interesting topics and present the information in an informative, quick and attractive way that keeps me reading. While the format doesn’t allow for in-depth examination of each topic, it consistently presents a brief overview that will pique the interest and offer an excellent starting point to investigate further. Mysteries of the Criminal Mind follows this winning formula and is an excellent book to learn more about some of the world’s most infamous criminals.

Quill says: Mysteries of the Criminal Mind will keep you turning pages, learning some fascinating facts about some of the most evil people this world has ever known.