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The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling

Michael Cannell

Minotaur Books

Incendiary Download image

ISBN10: 125004894X
ISBN13: 9781250048943


304 Pages



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Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall—for almost two decades, no place was safe from the man who signed his anonymous letters “FP” and left his lethal devices in phone booths, storage lockers, even tucked into the plush seats of movie theaters. His victims were left cruelly maimed. Tabloids called him “the greatest individual menace New York City ever faced.”

In desperation, Police Captain Howard Finney sought the help of a little known psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, whose expertise was the criminal mind. Examining crime scene evidence and the strange wording in the bomber’s letters, he compiled a portrait of the suspect down to the cut of his jacket. But how to put a name to the description? Seymour Berkson—a handsome New York socialite, protégé of William Randolph Hearst, and publisher of the tabloid The Journal-American—joined in pursuit of the Mad Bomber. The three men hatched a brilliant scheme to catch him at his own game. Together, they would capture a monster and change the face of American law enforcement.


Praise for Incendiary

Incendiary describes some of the major accomplishments of psychiatrist and criminal profiling pioneer Dr. James Brussel. It is an excellent read.”—F. Lee Bailey

“Taut. . . the story holds its tension from start to finish through all those twists and turns. A fascinating study not just of a historical crime and its consequences, but also its unintended effects.”Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating . . . Cannell is at his best in making the impact of F.P.’s crimes palpable: he conveys in detail the dangers faced by the members of the NYPD Bomb Squad . . . and aptly captures the state of terror created by explosions in random places such as movie theaters and train station restrooms.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



October 1951

Five years earlier, on the afternoon of October 22, 1951, F.P. drove his Daimler sedan ninety miles down the Taconic Parkway, carefully minding the speed limits. If...

About the author

Michael Cannell

MICHAEL CANNELL is the author of The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit and I.M. Pei: Mandarin of Modernism. He was editor of the New York Times House & Home section for seven years and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and many other publications. He lives in New York City.

Michael Weschler

Michael Cannell

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