PREDATORS: WHO THEY ARE AND HOW TO STOP THEM, by Gregory Cooper, Mike King and Thomas McHoes, Prometheus, 323 pages, $26

PROVO — The authors of this book take readers through the mindset of predatory criminals, and potential victims are taught to create self-awareness to avoid falling into a trap.

Cooper is a former Provo police chief. King worked in Utah criminal intelligence. McHoes is a freelance journalist and former crime reporter for the Provo Daily Herald.

They include examples of a number of infamous Utah County crimes — such as the Lafferty murders — and explore what the victims could have done to prevent them, or at least to have made them less likely to happen.

Written much like a novel with gripping detail and as an instructional primer, the book cites cases, explains how the crimes happened and shows what could have been done to stop them.

It also details 16 tactics that predators routinely use to gain access to children.

"Predators" includes a chapter on terrorism, using the investigation behind the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building as a prime example.

Ron and Dan Lafferty are classified as terrorists because of the religious fervor that they claimed led them to commit the murders of a sister-in-law and her baby daughter.

The authors say individuals can help prevent crime by acting as the eyes and ears of law enforcement and reporting anything suspicious immediately.

If senior citizens cut off access to their personal information from people other than family, they will become a low risk to predators, they say.

In the chapter on sexual assaults, the authors use the example of a female real estate agent who was assaulted while showing homes to a man who was a serial rapist. She gave police enough information that led to the man's capture. Now she does business differently, by carefully screening potential clients and taking her husband with her when she holds open houses.

The main idea is that human predators are no different from predators in the wild. Both prey on the weak and the unsuspecting. Human predators, however, consciously select vulnerable members of their species.

Other chapters cover crimes against children, domestic violence, kidnapping and homicidal predators.

The authors used a combination of interviews and case files, including interviews with several unnamed convicted criminals who are in prison.

The tales from the experts — the criminals themselves — help the readers learn techniques that will may let them avoid becoming victims. It's chilling to consider, even briefly, the process going on inside the minds of these disturbed men.

E-mail: [email protected]