Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden and Jonbenet Ramsay--Books by Profiler John Douglas, with Mark Ohlshaker

The Cases that Haunt Us

One of my all-time favorite books, and definitely not for the squeamish.  The authors cover--in unbelievably great detail and depth--the crimes, aftereffects, motives, evidence and suspects involved in the periphery of the Jack the Ripper killings in Whitechapel in 1888, the Jonbenet Ramsay trial, the Lizzie Borden case, the Zodiac Killer, The Black Dahlia (see the James Ellroy blog entry below this one) and a few others.  The writing about these cases is inspired, impressive, thorough and intense.  They are also, especially when writing about 1888 Whitechapel (Jack the Ripper) and 1950s L.A. (The Black Dahlia), historically accurate and extremely fascinating.  I have re-read this book a few times now, and, like a true classic, I get a new thing out of it each time.  John Douglas's take on Jack the Ripper, especially, is definitive, and obliterates the efforts of Patricia Cornwell and others who have tackled and been derailed by the topic.  For Ripper enthusiasts, this is the one to read.


Gruesomely fascinating, as usual.  Very good writer, and it's amazing how he's been able to keep his sanity, considering all of the insanity he's seen.


Well-written, as usual, and memorable for both the writing and the content.  I wrote in a journal: "It reinforces that Epicurus quote for me: 'If God listened to the prayer of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are for ever praying for evil against one another.'"

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