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Showing posts by: Michael Cannell click to see Michael Cannell's profile
Thu
Nov 9 2017 3:30pm

The Prequel to Mindhunter: How Dr. James Brussell Created the World of Criminal Profiling

Read Michael Cannell's exclusive guest post about Dr. James Brussell, the psychiatrist who pioneered criminal profiling, then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of Incendiary!

It’s impossible to switch on a television these days without running across a profiling drama. They’re everywhere—Criminal Minds, The Blacklist, Hannibal, Law and Order, to name a few. Those meaty-faced FBI agents populate the TV dial, their hands on coffee cups and ties loosened, earnestly picking over forensics and conjuring suspects out of thin air. We all used to watch Friends. Now, the TV switcher leads us to humanity’s darkest reaches.

Our collective fixation with profiling is on the upswing with the success of Mindhunter, a much-discussed new Netflix series based on a 1996 memoir by FBI Profiler John Douglas. Set in the 1970s, Mindhunter loosely recalls the real-life story of two special agents—eventually joined by a behavioral psychologist—who plumb criminal pathology by interviewing incarcerated serial killers. Working from a windowless room several floors beneath the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, they categorize the personality types prone to serial crimes. “How do we get ahead of crazy,” one agent says, “if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”

[Read more about the pioneer of criminal profiling...]

Tue
May 9 2017 1:00pm
Excerpt

Incendiary: Audio Excerpt

Michael Cannell

Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling by Michael Cannell details the search for a serial bomber who stalked the streets of 1950s New York. The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling.

Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall—for almost two decades, no place was safe from the man who signed his anonymous letters “FP” and left his lethal devices in phone booths, storage lockers, even tucked into the plush seats of movie theaters. His victims were left cruelly maimed. Tabloids called him “the greatest individual menace New York City ever faced.”

In desperation, Police Captain Howard Finney sought the help of a little known psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, whose expertise was the criminal mind. Examining crime scene evidence and the strange wording in the bomber’s letters, he compiled a portrait of the suspect down to the cut of his jacket. But how to put a name to the description? Seymour Berkson—a handsome New York socialite, protégé of William Randolph Hearst, and publisher of the tabloid The Journal-American—joined in pursuit of the Mad Bomber. The three men hatched a brilliant scheme to catch him at his own game. Together, they would capture a monster and change the face of American law enforcement.

[Listen to an audio excerpt from Incendiary...]

Thu
Apr 27 2017 9:00am
Excerpt

Incendiary: New Excerpt

Michael Cannell

Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling by Michael Cannell details the search for a serial bomber who stalked the streets of 1950s New York. The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling (available April 25, 2017).

Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall—for almost two decades, no place was safe from the man who signed his anonymous letters “FP” and left his lethal devices in phone booths, storage lockers, even tucked into the plush seats of movie theaters. His victims were left cruelly maimed. Tabloids called him “the greatest individual menace New York City ever faced.”

In desperation, Police Captain Howard Finney sought the help of a little known psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, whose expertise was the criminal mind. Examining crime scene evidence and the strange wording in the bomber’s letters, he compiled a portrait of the suspect down to the cut of his jacket. But how to put a name to the description? Seymour Berkson—a handsome New York socialite, protégé of William Randolph Hearst, and publisher of the tabloid The Journal-American—joined in pursuit of the Mad Bomber. The three men hatched a brilliant scheme to catch him at his own game. Together, they would capture a monster and change the face of American law enforcement.

[Read an excerpt from Incendiary...]

Thu
Apr 13 2017 3:00pm

A Pioneering Profiler and His Fictional Forerunners

Read this exclusive guest post from Michael Cannell, author of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling, and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

New York convulsed with anxiety in 1956 as police searched in vain for a serial bomber known as the “Mad Bomber of New York.” The mystery bomber had planted 32 homemade explosives in the city’s most crowded public spaces. He had yet to kill, but it was only a matter of time. The New York Journal-American—an afternoon newspaper of scrappy disposition—called him “the greatest individual menace New York City ever faced.”

In desperation, bomb squad detectives contacted James A. Brussel, a psychiatrist with a particular interest in the workings of the criminal mind. He theorized that he could help describe the bomber by applying “common psychiatric principles in reverse.” Instead of starting with a known personality and anticipating their behavior, as psychiatrists normally do, he hoped to let the mystery bomber’s behavior define his identity—his sexuality, race, appearance, work history and personality type.

[Read more about the first profiler and his fictional predecessors...]