Long before the specter of terrorism haunted the public imagination, a serial bomber stalked the streets of 1950s New York. The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling.
The most interesting chapter of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling was its epilogue, when author Michael Cannell finally pulled all of his interweaving threads together to tell a concise ending to his story. In my opinion, he spends far too many words on the Mad Bomber and the NYC police department and too little concretely connecting them to the psychologist who used reverse psychology to catch said bomber. This could have been a great magazine article, stripped of its fat and zeroed in on just how revolutionary a case it was. As is, I got too bored trying to wade through the minutiae to make that connection myself.
Interested in more true crime? These sound much more interesting.
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
- Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
- In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote
- Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
- The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin
- The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
- Zodiac by Robert Graysmith