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When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling & Justice in a Small Town

Author: John Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Started: Jan. 26, 2022

Finished: Jan. 29, 2022

Thank you to John Douglas, Mark Olshaker, Dey Street Books & Netgalley for the chance to read this advanced copy in return for an honest review. This book will be released on Feb. 1, 2022.

John Douglas, best known for his book Mindhunter, details another case where behavioral profiling helps lead local police to the man who kidnapped and murdered a young woman and a little girl. It is believed that without the profile offered by the FBI, this man may never have been caught.

Shari Smith is getting ready for the best summer of her life. She is two days from walking at graduation and then going on a cruise to the Bahamas with her friends. Upon returning to the home she shares with her parents, Shari stops at the end of the long driveway to check the mail. When her father looks out the window and sees her car is still at the end of the driveway with the door open he knows something is wrong. The local police are called and they automatically know that this isn't the case of a girl who has runaway - she has left everything behind including the medicine she needs to live.

Shortly after her abduction, her family begins receiving haunting calls from her kidnapper claiming that there will be a letter from Shari to her family mailed soon. That letter ended up being Shari's Last Will and Testament. As the UNSUB (unknown subject) continues to call and torture the family. One of his calls gives them directions to Shari's body. Despite the discovery of her body, the subject continues to call and hurt the family.

Two weeks after Shari Smith goes missing, nine-year-old Debra May Helmick is abducted from her front yard by a man matching the description of Shari's kidnapper. The subject continues to call the Smith family as he is now obsessed with Shari's older sister, Dawn, and feels the need to offer details on where Debra can be found. Her little body is recovered later that day.

Thanks to advances in technology a possible suspect becomes the only suspect and is quickly arrested for the crimes. While he attempts to do everything he can to make himself seem mentally ill - the truth comes out and justice is served.

I love a good true crime book and John Douglas' is some of the best. I had only previously heard of this case via podcast and an old episode of Unsolved Mysteries. It was very interesting to watch the case unfold and find out that it was successfully resolved made the book that much better.

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