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In Oxygen Book Club's February Pick, A Legendary Criminal Profiler Hunts For A Serial Killer

In "When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling, and Justice in a Small Town," John Douglas recalls the risky gambit he attempted to track down a serial killer.

John Douglas

Oxygen Book Club highlights books in the crime sphere each month and features exclusive interviews, guided discussions, and more.

Have you ever seen Netflix's series "Mindhunter"? The show, which is all about the rise of criminal profiling within the FBI, is inspired by the true crime read "Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit" by FBI agent John Douglas, who wrote about his experiences studying serial killers to identify patterns, behaviors, and other psychological insights.

But that book was just one of the many stories Douglas has to tell. In Oxygen Book Club's February pick, "When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling, and Justice in a Small Town," Douglas and co-author Mark Olshaker take readers into the shocking and twist-filled investigation into vicious serial killer Larry Gene Bell. 

In May 1985, a teenager named Shari Smith vanished from the driveway of her family's home in South Carolina. Taunting phone calls and a disturbing letter labeled "Last Will and Testament" soon followed. Then, a 9-year-old girl, Debra Helmick, also disappeared while outside her family's home. Douglas recounts the work he, the FBI, police, and the family did to capture a sadistic killer, including a desperate gambit: using Smith's lookalike sister to draw out the murderer.

"When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling, and Justice in a Small Town" is a true crime book you'll want to stay up late reading. Read along with Oxygen Book Club, and keep an eye out for our video interviews with the authors, as well as guided discussion questions. Happy reading!

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