Best Criminal Psychology Books Which Written by Criminal Psychologist

best criminal psychology books

Criminal Psychology is the scientific study of criminals’ views, thoughts, objectives, and behavior. It is also known as Criminological Psychology. It is a sub-branch of criminal anthropology. This study reveals why a criminal commits a crime and the aftermath reactions. Today, this post will inform you about the famous and best criminal psychology books.

Criminal psychologists are often called to help judges understand a criminal’s mind and behavior. Criminal behavior is usually any antisocial behavior that the law can punish. Sometimes, they can be punished by the social norms the community laid out. As a result, it is pretty challenging to define criminal behavior as it can be considered in different ways by law and society.

Best Criminal Psychology Books for Beginners to Advanced

The following are some of the best criminal or forensic psychology books to help you understand criminals’ minds and behavior. Famous forensic psychologists write all of these books – 

1. Mindhunter, by John E. Douglas and Mark OlshakerJohn

Mindhunter: Inside the Fbi's Elite Serial Crime Unit Mindhunter: Inside the Fbi's Elite Serial Crime Unit No ratings yet $49.99 $33.24Amazon Prime

E. Douglas is an ex-special agent and unit chief for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was one of the famous criminal profilers and is also an author of criminal psychology. Douglas became a pioneer of modern criminal investigation analysis during his 25-year career.

Mark Olshaker is an American author. He has co-authored several criminal psychology books with John E. Douglas. He is also an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. He provided various psychological theories of crime.

Mindhunter is one of the best criminal psychology books. This book tells us how FBI agent Douglas used psychological profiling to dig deep into several serial killers’ and criminals’ minds. Because of this, Douglas became a legend in the history of law enforcement. He has interviewed and studied several serial killers and assassins in his career. These include Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Ed Gein, and many others.

The book describes his investigations, where he acts as both the killer and the victim. By examining the crime scene, he creates their profiles and describes their habits. This is one of the best forensic psychology books ever written.

2. Serial Killers, by Peter Vronsky

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Peter Vronsky is a Canadian author, film director, historian, and professor. He has worked with CNN, CTV, CBC, RAI, and other television networks in documentary production and news broadcasting.

In this book, Vronsky describes the psychological and cultural background of serial killers. The book contains the history of the first serial killing from ancient Rome until present-day notorious murderers. It details gruesome murderers like Ted Bundy, Ed Kemper, Henry Lee Lucas, Ralph Rissell, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, and many more. In addition, the book contains cases that are related to cannibalism and necrophilous.

Serial Killers, Vronsky explains the theories behind the reasons for someone being a serial killer. He also provides suggestions and strategies on how to survive such encounters. In addition, the book offers tips on recognizing verbal warning signs and resisting physical hostility. Vronsky wrote this book based on extensive research and interviews with several serial killers and their cases. So this book will help you to go inside a killer’s brain. 

3. Inside the Criminal Mind, by Stanton Samenow

Inside the Criminal Mind (Newly Revised Edition) Inside the Criminal Mind (Newly Revised Edition) No ratings yet $18.99 $11.99Amazon Prime

Stanton Samenow joined the Investigation of Criminal Behaviour Program as a clinical research psychologist at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. He is specialized in the areas of evaluation and treatment of juvenile and adult criminals. He has written some of the best criminal psychology books. 

From this book, you will learn two things effectively: the nature of criminal psychology and the history of criminal psychology.

Samenow elaborated on the criminal mind from extensive research in Inside the Criminal Mind. He also provides tips on new influences and valuable methods to deal with hard-edged criminals. This book explains how a criminal’s mind works and their thoughts pattern. He suggests that criminals who commit crimes, such as domestic violence, terrorism, and victimization, have individual thought patterns and might be different.

The book also explains how the internet, drugs, video games, films, television series, etc., can influence someone to participate in illicit activities. The book also explains the genetic and biological research on criminal brains to show if they were criminals at born.

4. Dangerous Personalities, by Joe Navarro and Toni Sciarra Poynter

Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to... Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to... No ratings yet $16.99 $15.57Amazon Prime

Joe Navarro is a Cuban-American author and public speaker. He is also a former FBI agent and supervisor of counterintelligence and counterterrorism. He is specialized in nonverbal communication and body language. 

Toni Sciarra Poynter is an independent editor and bestselling author. Her books have been published in so many foreign languages. She was the co-president of the Women’s Media Group from 2013-14 and a member of the Author’s Guild.

We hear news about shootings, rampages, domestic terrorism, etc., daily. However, it is difficult for ordinary people to understand the hidden intentions of any individual. We do not know if our neighbor or family is plotting something against us. We cannot identify the threats that our nearest people can cause.

In Dangerous Personalities, the authors explain how we can identify the four most dangerous personalities. These include the Predator, the Unstable Personality, The Paranoid, and the Narcissist. The book also shows us how to identify and scrutinize any threat. Finally, the author also provides strategies for protecting ourselves from this threat immediately and in the long run.

5. Without Conscience, by Robert D. Hare

Robert D. Hare is a Canadian psychologist. He is also a well-known author of some of the best criminal psychology books. His area of specialization includes psychopathology and psychophysiology. He is a developer of the Hare Psychotherapy Checklist used for psychopathy cases. 

The book discusses gruesome serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. They committed crimes in cold blood and were fully aware of the consequences. They could differentiate between right and wrong but still had no guilt.

The author sketches the background of dangerous men and women in this book. He explains their motives, lies, and how they manipulate others based on his 25-year extensive scientific research. He talks about psychopaths and their madness. Also, he provides us with methods to identify such people and protect ourselves against them. This book will give a complete description of psychopaths and their behaviors. 

6. The Big Book of Serial Killers, by Jack Rosewood

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Jack Rosewood has been a full-time author for more than fifteen years. His father was a crime journalist who used to write about some of the worst criminals in history. Rosewood got fascinated by his father’s writings and pursued his career as a criminal psychology writer.

Psychopaths like serial killers are very hard to identify. They act like ordinary people and live amongst us. Only at that exact time do they reveal their true self. This book is an almanac consisting of information related to 150 serial killers. It includes serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, and John Wayne Gacy, and some women serial killers, such as Aileen Wuornos and Martha Rendell.

The book contains information on when and how serial killers killed their victims. It also describes the background of the individual serial killer and their punishment. So, I suggest you read this book to learn about serial killer profiling and the criminal mind.

7. Spy The Lie, by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, et al. 

Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect... Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect... No ratings yet $18.99 $13.39Amazon Prime

Philip Houston served the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for twenty-five years. He developed a deception-detecting methodology. It is used throughout US intelligence and other law enforcement communities. He also wrote various criminal psychology textbooks.

Michael Floyd is a NY Times bestseller author and a founding partner of the QVerity. Floyd provides training services for local and state law enforcement communities, intelligence agencies, wealthy families, and others.

Spy The Lie is one of the best criminal psychology books. In this book, three former CIA officers share strategies for recognizing deceptive behavior. Life would be so different if it were possible to differentiate between truths and lies. Uncovering a lie can create so much impact on your life.

The book shows how Houston used his self-developed methodology to detect lies and deception in criminal investigations. Houston suggests that these techniques can also be used in our everyday life. From personal experiences, the authors demonstrate ways to identify deceptive behavior. And those behaviors can be both verbal and nonverbal.

8. Whoever Fights Monsters, by Robert K. Ressler

Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial... Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial... No ratings yet $9.99 $7.59Amazon Prime

Robert K. Ressler is a former FBI agent and author. In the 1970s, he contributed significantly to the psychological profiling of many violent criminals. He is also recognized for coining the term “serial killer.” He is also a lecturer in criminology. Also, he is most prevalent in writing criminal psychology novels.

In Whoever Fights Monsters, Ressler describes how he learned to recognize the unknown monsters amongst us. He then put those monsters behind bars. In this way, he traced down many serial millers and brutal criminals.

The book also explains how Ressler created a psychological profile of the killers from the crime scene’s evidence. Not only this, but he also speaks to some of the serial killers and goes deep into their minds. As a result, he understands that the killers show some violent behaviors. This book also demonstrates how and why the killers committed such heinous crimes.

9. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good people turn into Evail, by Philip G. Zimbardo

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Philip G. Zimbardo is an American psychologist and a retired Stanford University professor. He was famous for his Stanford prison experiment, which was critically acclaimed for several reasons. He has also authored several introductory psychology textbooks for students. 

In The Lucifer Effect, Zimbardo explains the mechanisms that make good people act immorally. It is one of the best criminal psychology books. The book shows the readers why we are so vulnerable to the dark side trap. Taking examples from his extensive research, he explains how the environment and other people impact the individual mind. Sometimes these reasons play a significant role in individuals growing up as monsters. He has made a substantial contribution to writing forensic psychology books for students.

Zimbardo also demonstrates the Stanford Prison Experiment in this book, where some college students volunteered as fake guards and inmates. Unfortunately, the experiment had to be canceled because the volunteers turned insane and brutal. He explains the psychological causes of this phenomenon. As a result, the readers get an idea of the inside of a criminal’s mind.

10. Dark Dreams, by Roy Hazelwood

Roy Hazelwood is a former FBI sex crime profiler. He is regarded as the initiator of profiling sexual marauders. He categorized rapists into six categories. Also, he offered the theory that pedophilia or sexual sadists have no cure. In addition, he wrote various forensic psychology books.

In Dark Dreams, Hazelwood takes the readers inside the mind of some of the most precarious sexual criminals. He also explains the warped motives and thoughts that plan such heinous crimes. Finally, he mentions some innovative techniques and interview methods that helped the Behavioural Science Unit at the FBI. This allowed the law enforcement communities to create psychological profiles of the criminals. By following his invented techniques, Hazelwood has tracked down many sexual offenders. Dark Dreams is one of the best criminal psychology books.

Criminal or forensic psychology is a fascinating field of study in psychology. It is challenging to understand psychopaths’ minds and behavior, like serial killers, necrophiles, and pedophiles. These books will take you deep inside the mind of those monsters. It will also give you an idea of how criminal psychologists deal with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the job of a criminal psychologist?

Criminal psychology degree jobs and salaries depend on expertise and experience. A Criminal psychologist mainly studies the reasons for people committing crimes. Sometimes they assess the criminals or offenders to know their potential risks.

They must make educated guesses about the criminal’s actions after committing the crime. The criminal psychologist does criminal profiling, which is very helpful for any law enforcement community. Sometimes criminal psychologists actively participate in solving a crime and analyze criminal behavior.

2. Who are the famous criminal psychologists?

Some of the famous criminal psychologists are:

  • William Stern
  • Hugo Munsterberg
  • Stanley Milgram
  • Thomas Bond
  • David Canter
  • William Marston
  • Elizabeth Loftus
  • Ronald Roesch
  • Ray Bull
  • Laurence Miller

3. What are criminal psychology courses?

There are various criminal psychology facts that you can know from multiple courses. If you have enough knowledge about criminal psychology degrees, you can easily make appropriate decisions to be a criminal psychology major. The branch of criminal psychology consists of the following courses:

Biological Criminal Psychology Course:

 Students learn about the various biological factors that initiate criminal behavior. These include genetics, social environment, and their effect on a person.

Criminal Behaviour Course:

 This course teaches students different psychological factors that unlock criminal behavior. These may include characteristics, patterns, and disorders related to criminal behavior. 

Forensic Psychology Course:

 This course aims to affirm criminal trials, create profiles, and predict criminals’ behaviors by applying psychological findings. 

Psychological Testing Course:

 Students learn how to administer psychological tests, check their validity, score the test, and make predictions based on the testing.

4. What are the requirements to be a criminal psychologist?

The following requirements are a must in order t become a criminal psychologist or forensic psychologist:

Degree Levels:

 Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Field of Education:

 A bachelor’s degree in psychology with minor concentrations in criminal, forensic, or law-related subjects. Significant criminal, forensic, or clinical psychology concentrations at graduation and up.


 A state license or certification is required to practice with the court and law enforcement. 

Important skills:

 Strong instinct, critical thinking, logical, impartial judgment, problem-solving, excellent communication skills, perseverance, empathy, and ability to recognize and deduce patterns.

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Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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