I love researching new books. I love learning details I wasn’t even looking for when I started. And when I had the opportunity to visit the FBI Academy at Quantico, I learned that I shouldn’t have worn a skirt and heels. Why? Because they let me shoot on their firing range. It turns out I can hit a target just fine wearing heels, but it’s probably easier to brace yourself against the kick of a shotgun in flats!

The trip to Quantico provided great hands-on research, and had the bonus of being the site where the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) is located. In The Profiler series, HRT agents play key roles in the stories, and they are a fascinating, unique group – they are the FBI’s counterpart to military special operations groups. Their motto is servare vitas (to save lives) and they are trained to operate in extreme situations. HRT operators practice helicopter rappelling, SCUBA diving, and close quarters battle (CQB) as part of their regular routine. When HUNTED, the first book in The Profiler series, hit shelves in 2014, HRT was in its thirty-first year of operations.

In The Profiler series, HRT agent Kyle “Mac” McKenzie and his partner Gabe “Fonz” Fontaine were an interesting pair to create. Kyle is charming and confident on the outside, but getting into his head reveals a different, more complex side. His partner Gabe is a jokester, the kind of guy who can’t help but come into a room filled with serious profilers and tack a computer-generated picture of their boss with the heading “Predator Still at Large” on their community board.

In that room full of profilers is Evelyn Baine, the protagonist of The Profiler series. She’s a member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), and she spends her days getting into the heads of terrorists, serial killers, arsonists, and child abductors. Her job is to use their own thought processes to track them down and bring them to justice.

Once upon a time, the job Evelyn did was handled by the Behavioral Science Unit, which was located in a windowless room sixty feet below ground at the National Academy at Quantico. What a place to analyze killers! Now, the BAU has moved to nearby Aquia and the agents see daylight during their working hours!

Learning about Evelyn’s job meant understanding the seemingly incomprehensible motives of the criminals she tracks. It meant learning about how to analyze a crime scene for the behavioral evidence, and then use that to construct a criminal personality profile that would lead investigators to the perpetrator.

What kind of person can do that job? In The Profiler series, Evelyn is a highly-driven agent who always knew she wanted a spot on the BAU’s elite team. She’s haunted by the unsolved disappearance of her best friend when she was twelve years old and she’s searching for a way to fit in, both at BAU and in the world around her. Since she’s joined BAU, she’s always been the one tracking down the killers, so it was interesting to turn the tables on her.

You can learn more about my Profiler series over on my Books page!