Book Review: Law & Disorder Inside the Dark Heart of Murder by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Law & Disorder: Inside the Dark Heart of Murder

Author: John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

My Review and Thoughts:

For starters, I am a huge fan of John Douglas. I have read all his books and followed his career. His book Journey into Darkness is one of my favorite books of all time equally his Mindhunter book is also. I was super happy to come across this book. Like always dealing with FBI profiler memoirs, or experiences I was super excited to dig into this book. Right off I was very pleased with the writing on the Lipstick Killer a.k.a. William Heirens. I have always been fascinated with this case. I have always felt that this case was flawed and that there was more to it than just Heirens.

The book brings forth many cases and outcomes to many questionable conclusions of certain cases. Something that always is very point on with John Douglas, (and Mark Olshaker) is his ability in making you understand and become a part of the investigation at hand.

I don’t agree with everything John Douglas talks about in this book. I have mixed feelings on certain people (Amanda Knox) that he thinks is innocent, but even with that reality, the book is a detailed and is an interesting reality digging deep into the long amazing career of John Douglas. This is a wonderful book of knowledge and first-hand experiences as a Profiler and a FBI Agent. I really love getting to know all aspects of John’s career. He had always fascinated me with his mind. I think this is his most personal book, his beliefs and thoughts come across very vividly, and to the point which I find fascinating.

I do feel the book is a little too long. Could have been chopped easily. With that said I still found myself turning each page after the other to further the journey with John in his fascinating mind and brilliant knowledge.

I think my favorite section is Matters of Life and Death Chapter 3-5 pages 49-89. I love the subjects chosen and the in-depth approach to a touchy subject like the death penalty. I think John covers the subject flawlessly and from the point of view from both sides, for it or against it. I like how John describes and forms the basis for his personal beliefs and describing the cause for it and against it as the fight rages on, on what is right and what is wrong in dealing with the death penalty. I personally believe that the death penalty should be used in certain realities. Mass murderers, Serial Killers, Spree Killers. Those who kill more than one, in the murder in the first degree setting. Those who rape first and then murder a child. I believe all of those warrant the Death Penalty. I don’t believe that any person convicted on circumstantial evidence should ever be given the death penalty. I believe the death penalty should only be given to those that 100 percent evidence proves guilt.

This is a wonderful book to read in a Book Club setting or a discussion group setting. Many great conversations can be had from this book. John always can approach touchy subjects and allows the reader an inside scoop on the case. He displays the evidence in grand detail. He showcases the start, middle and finish of the subject at hand. 

Would I Return to Again: No, once was enough? As I have mentioned, many of the cases are basic knowledge or have been written about or showcased in countless media presentations. That does not make the book bad, it just makes it a repetitive reality for fans of True Crime. I do think this is John Douglas’ weakest book, but still worth the read for fans specifically certain sections.

Would I Recommend: For Diehard fans of John Douglas. Those who would love to dig deeper into the reality of certain cases, specifically those mentioned in this book. I really enjoyed the section on the West Memphis Three, even though I have been following it my whole life from the start when Paradise Lost first premiered on HBO (when I said to myself along with my mother, these boys are innocent), where I joined the Free the West Memphis Three club, (T-shirt, bumper sticker and all, even created a board in 1998 and set up in my college to bring awareness of the case). I also loved the talk and education on William George Heirens and the very sad and horrible case of Suzanne Collins I thought I had heard or read the worst cases in criminal history but this one blew me away and made me cry on the reality of this poor woman. This is a prime example of a case that merits the death penalty.  

Length: 576 pages

Year Published: 2014

My Rating: 7 out of 10



Four Words: Informative. Knowledgeable experience. Brilliant.