Dinner was an over-the-top event with more than a dozen people. As the festivities began to wind down, the three of us retired to an enormous and elaborately furnished suite in a five-star hotel. Though it was one of the largest and most imposing rooms we'd been in, nothing else in the first few moments of our postprandial visit indicated the strange and fascinating experiences to come.

Our host has always been an enigma; despite moving in the same business circles for at least six years, we knew almost nothing about him. A senior partner at an intentionally small and exceptionally successful private equity firm, he's perfected professional courtesy while remaining coolly distant. In retrospect, he'd been guarded, even noticeably secretive, with personal information. The following hours marked a sea change in our relationship. By morning we'd reached a new level of trust and he allowed us a rare glimpse of the man behind the carefully constructed fa├žade, filling in the sizeable gaps in our understanding of his professional background and its immutable influence on his current role (and successes) at the private equity fund.
Much of what he revealed during our intense and lengthy conversation had never been discussed outside a very exclusive group of law enforcement professionals with the highest levels of security clearance-understandable once we were privy to the terrifying, brutal and oddly fascinating details.

There Are Monsters Among Us!
"I hunted monsters," he explained. "I was great at it and I'm proud of my victories... and I've been devastated by my failures."
He described some of his most difficult cases and how he and his fellow law enforcement professionals ran the monsters to the ground. He told his stories from the heart, including how each case tore at him. How he obsessed and often privately cried over the victims and their families. How, in time, he saw through the eyes of the deranged killers and understood how they ordered their worlds, no matter how convoluted, erratic and disjointed their thinking was.

There was the embezzler who murdered his wife and four children, ages five to 14, as well as both family dogs, because authorities uncovered his financial manipulations and were closing in. He was going to make a run for it and psychologically couldn't justify the hardship his family would face without him. So, applying wonderfully warped logic, killing each and every one of them was the only solution. This way he was ensuring they wouldn't suffer when he vanished. He found the experience of murder so pleasurable that he stayed around, in the shadows, "helping out" other executives by stalking and killing some of their family members. He believed these executives would then be liberated by his largess-no longer encumbered by a loving family whom they also loved.

Twin boys were studying philosophy at a university. After deep contemplation, they concluded that some people were selfishly draining the world's resources-a very bad thing. In their minds, these people were stealing from them and other upstanding, concerned citizens. Their answer was to eliminate these "societal parasites." The biggest problem the twins faced was deciding which one of them deserved the right to "do the deed." They solved this problem by flipping a coin for each parasite. They started by slowly poisoning their closest and not-so-closest friends. They knew these people well and concluded that they would never make significant contributions to society. Expanding past their quickly shrinking circle of friends, strangulation became the preferred curative.

One of his scariest cases, extending over nearly a decade, made Dr. Hannibal Lecter look like a choirboy. What's so horrifying is that this devious, conniving sociopath is real and not a fictional creation. He would meticulously detail the life of a person who "faulted him" by doing something as trivial as cutting him off in traffic or interrupting him at a meeting. He would then stalk them with the intent of eating the offending parts of the victim in front of them before bleeding them out.
He discussed the cases and how he eventually shifted from being a top-flight criminal profiler to a highly successful private equity investor. As a criminal profiler he never earned very much but he found it fulfilling to lock up psychotically dangerous people. His career was so intense that his wife left him, taking their two young sons with her. He doesn't blame her because of the emotional strain she experienced due to his career.

The Move Into the "Line of Money"
After more then 20 years hunting monsters, he was badly burned out and had little material where-with-all to show for it. He left his law enforcement position with nothing more then a relatively small civil service pension. "You just don't get rich saving the world," he joked.

After retiring and drinking heavily for about a year, he ran into one of the "financial types" he sometimes crossed paths with during his law enforcement career. He wanted him to profile the owners of a company his corporate client was interested in acquiring. He declined at first. But, badly in need of money, he soon agreed to the assignment.

"Psychologically dissecting corporate chieftains is straight-up child's play compared to looking into the obsidian blackness that's a criminally vicious sadist," he explained. The investment banker put more faith in his profiling of the business owners then in all the financial analyses his firm concocted. The result was the development and execution of a brilliant negotiation strategy and a transaction that was much more profitable then initially projected. This led to more of the same work.

A couple of years later, he gravitated to private equity, where his "gift for seeing" made him extremely rich. Today, he runs a team of profilers and researchers he recruited from his previous life. He explains he's not doing anything different from his crime fighting days, but admits it's much easier now that his subjects happily agree to interviews rather than hide in the shadows.

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