Books by Mark Olshaker

DEADLIEST ENEMY by Michael T. Osterholm
Released: March 14, 2017

"A well-rendered work of popular science. If you don't emerge from it as the neighborhood expert on the flu, you skipped a chapter or two. If you emerge unworried, you missed the point."
Think the Zika virus and Ebola are bad? As a renowned epidemiologist suggests, those are just previews of coming attractions. Read full book review >
LAW AND DISORDER by John Douglas
Released: March 1, 2013

"The prose is mostly workmanlike, but in a culture besotted with serial killers, Douglas can claim a rare authenticity regarding the evil that men do."
From a pioneer of behavioral analysis, a look at notorious murder investigations marred by controversy. Read full book review >
BROKEN WINGS by John Douglas
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

Douglas, the FBI's famous Mindhunter of Thomas Harris's novels, has collaborated with Olshaker on four previous nonfiction books about profiling serial killers and other baddies (The Anatomy of a Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals, p. 770, etc.). But the competition they offer isn—t quite serious enough to make Harris fear that one of his characters has returned to a previous life, split into co-authors, and now written his, or their, first Mindhunter novel. Here, Douglas morphs into Jake Donovan, an FBI profiler who is on hand for an Agency attack on right-wingers besieged in a country shack in Wyoming. As with Waco and Ruby Ridge, things go horribly wrong, and Jake is retired from active service by FBI Director Thomas Jefferson Boyd, supposedly for having undermined the organization with an earlier memo he wrote showing how the tragedy could be avoided. It's clear Jake was right, but he's sent off to Quantico to teach. Jake's big dream is to have a specially equipped plane and fly-in team of Mindhunters to track murderers and others when they first strike. But his idea has always been quashed. When Director Boyd is found a suicide, service pistol in hand, Jake's team goes into action. Harris would never write such dusty stuff as "he always prided himself on his survival skills" or "he . . . removed the business end of the gun from my face." Even so, Douglas and Olshaker keep the pages burning. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1999

"Indeed, Douglas's advocacy of awareness and observation, combined with his chilling accounts of criminal motivation, offer a valuable lesson to all in staying abreast of the unlikely but most lethal dangers of our society."
Renowned G-man Douglas, originator of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, offers his fourth collaboration with co-author Olshaker (Obsession, 1998, etc.), a dense admixture of profiling theory, grim criminal history and cautionary admonishment that, though at times unwieldy, adds up to an informative, provocative page-turner. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

A look at rape-and-murder and its perpetrators by one of the men who invented the forensic art of psychological profiling. Douglas (Mindhunter, also with Olshaker, not reviewed, etc.) was the founder and longtime head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit and over his career saw many cases that went unsolved, including the Green River Killer, a case so frustrating that it nearly killed Douglas himself. Douglas's readers will be familiar with this assortment of famously grisly scenes combined with profiles of the murderers. This book focuses mainly on stalkers and their victims, so Douglas necessarily revisits the scenes of Rebecca Schaffer, Dominique Dunne, and Teresa Saldana. He also gives an overview of rapists/murderers such as Ted Bundy and Gary Heidnik, the City of Brotherly Love's answer to Jeffrey Dahmer. Unfortunately, much of the information here is already so familiar to crime buffs that there isn't much to be gleaned from these sections. Douglas is much better at the beginning, when he discusses a little-known killer who seems to have been the basis for Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon (Thomas Harris fans, take note). Douglas's profile of this stalker and killer is illuminating, unlike too much of this book, which is merely titillating. The promise of the subtitle goes unfulfilled—the ``fighting back'' seems limited to victim's families joining support groups, rather than any real advice to those seeking protection from a stalker. In fact, most of these victims had restraining orders against their stalkers, which were of little use in the face of a knife or a gun. Not much more than a collection of truly horrifying stories, which is a shame for both the reader, who justifiably expects more, and for Douglas, who has more to offer. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1997

A virologist's breezy account of a career spent battling deadly diseases in the lab and in the field. Peters, now the chief of special pathogens at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and novelist Olshaker (Blood Race, 1989, etc.) have the knack of writing about T-cells and antibodies with clarity and vigor. Peters's colorful account of his field work in Central America, where as a brand-new doctor he studied tropical viruses with the US Public Health Service, evokes images of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Later he joined the US Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, and it was as chief of its infectious diseases division that he played a major role in containing the 1989 Reston (Va.) Ebola outbreak that was the subject of Richard Preston's bestseller The Hot Zone. Peters, no shrinking violet, offers a different perspective on that terrifying episode—one more sympathetic to the army—than the one presented by Preston. And in the immediacy of his narrative, lab work takes on a high level of excitement. In his present position with the CDC, he has major concerns about the threat of lethal new viruses. He warns that if another incident like the outbreak at Reston were to occur today we would not be much better prepared. He worries, too, about biological terrorism, for his years with the army have made him aware of its potential horrors. Peters offers some concrete suggestions for how to prepare for these eventualities, such as global surveillance and the establishment of hospital procedures for large-scale emergencies. He also urges that scientists get a better handle on viruses and work out the basics of a vaccine or drug therapy for each viral family. As entertaining as an adventure novel, but with a deadly serious message, this is a valuable addition to the growing body of literature on emerging viruses. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE EDGE by Mark Olshaker
Released: Aug. 31, 1994

Medical technology turns a standard whodunit into a grisly and satisfying thriller. Olshaker (Blood Race, 1989, etc.) tells of the pursuit of a serial killer who chooses an ancient, bloody sacrifice ritual for each of his victims. The narrator, Detective Sandy Mansfield, determines from scant clues that the suspect is a large, right-handed, surgically skilled male—and a copycat of Neville Ramsey, the notorious artist and serial killer who recently committed suicide in prison. His brother, Dr. Nicholas Ramsey, is a successful D.C. neurosurgeon and the prime suspect, but Sandy's legs ``prickle'' whenever she is near him, making her unsure. She closely follows Nicholas's movements; one night, expecting to prevent another murder, she breaks into the house where his car is parked, interrupting a liaison between Ashby Collier, a powerful attorney and...not Nicholas, but his colleague, Dr. Robert Fusillo. This blunder causes Sandy's cronies at the precinct to lose faith in her. Meanwhile the killer draws near: He makes a third victim of her friend, a journalist; he sends her threatening letters; he breaks into her apartment. Sandy dismisses the usual lunatics who eagerly confess to the murders, including Christopher Taylor, a young actor who has had dreams of committing them, until she steals Nicholas's appointment book and finds that Christopher was his patient, as were Ashby and the first victim. All evidence points to Nicholas. Is he carrying on the legacy of his brother? Could Sandy be falling in love with this madman? Sandy mentions her sexy appearance too much, and her scattered menstruation puns (while a killer is climbing through her bedroom window) make it clear that the author is too tickled by his newfound muliebrity to create a convincing female detective, but he is more successful at using the unlikely gimmick of organ transplants and morphic resonance for a credible and stunning solution. A gritty cop story distinguished by its original and brain-teasing ending. Read full book review >