Tucson Festival of Books

Jana Monroe


Jana Monroe had a distinguished 22-year career in the FBI, where she held a variety of field investigative and operational roles, including special agent in charge in Phoenix and Los Angeles, and she was the first assistant director of the FBI Cyber Division.

A memoir from one of the first female profilers in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. As a child, Monroe idolized Dirty Harry, and after majoring in criminology in college, she became a probation officer and then a police officer in Southern California. In 1985, her decision to apply to the FBI ended her first marriage, to a man who mistakenly thought that Monroe's "feminist determination to succeed in law enforcement would yield over time to a woman's natural desire to bear children and mother them above all else." When she began her training at Quantico, she met a fellow agent who would become her "second and permanent husband." While posted in Tampa, she went undercover as an aerobics instructor to investigate some "New York Mafia types," and one case, a triple homicide, affected her deeply. Consequently, she joined the Behavioral Science Unit, "one of the Bureau's truly elite units," focused on serial homicide. BSU, housed in a "dismal subterranean" office at Quantico, was immortalized in The Silence of the Lambs, and Monroe coached Jodie Foster for her role as Clarice Starling. "Hannibal Lecters were our daily diet (no pun intended)," writes Monroe. "We saw echoes of him constantly--through in-person interviews we conducted, by studying their victims' remains, and by poring over case studies of earlier serial killers to hone our understanding." 

Readers will see that Monroe did not allow any obstacle to stop her from reaching her goals. Her book, which flows from one story to the next, also documents the encounters she had with serial killers (Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and more), the impact that had on her career and life, and how justice was served. VERDICT A gripping and readable memoir that's an essential read for audiences who want to understand the history of the FBI and the BSU. True-crime fans will enjoy Monroe's tales about some of the most memorable cases she worked.--Leah Fitzgerald, Library Journal

After retiring from the Bureau, Monroe entered the private sector. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Her book is "Heart of Darkness."

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Scheduled events:
Real-Life Lady Detectives
Meet the women behind the stories - and hear how they do it.

Integrated Learning Center Room 120 (Seats 300, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
True Crime
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Integrated Learning Center (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Mandy Matney, Jana Monroe, Sarah Viren
Moderator: Anne Segal
Exploring the Criminal Mind
True crime experts discuss the workings of the criminal mind.

Integrated Learning Center Room 150 (Seats 155, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
True Crime
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Integrated Learning Center (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Michael Finkel, Jana Monroe, Harold Schechter
Moderator: Rick Unklesbay

Book:
Hearts of Darkness
My Life Breaking Barriers in the FBI and Fighting the Evil Among Us
True Crime
Abrams, Incorporated
October 2023
ISBN 9781419766114
320 pages