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Face to Face with Evil: Conversations with Ian Brady [Kindle Edition]

Chris Cowley
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dr Chris Cowley has been corresponding with moors murderer Ian Brady for six years, and has interviewed him extensively on several visits to Ashworth maximum security hospital in Liverpool. With the removal of a high court gagging order this insightful book includes extracts from over 50 letters written by Ian Brady to Dr Cowley plus details from interview transcripts. Face to Face with Evil is an unflinchingly detailed and highly emotional account of what it was like to be caught, tried and convicted of serial murder. An in-depth look at Brady's relationships with other notorious murderers during his incarceration, including his thoughts and emotions concerning Myra Hindley at the time of their arrest, throughout their prison sentences and at her death. As Brady moves into his eighth year on hunger strike this book reveals his thoughts, emotions and actions in relation to his victims and their survivors.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 428 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 184454981X
  • Publisher: Metro (4 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079NQAGY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,415 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
After reading the reviews here I was determined to try to find as much of value in this book as I could.

The author is clearly writing from an anti-capital punishment/pro-penal reform/humanitarian viewpoint, and that's fine by me. It is also not the task of books like this to declare antipathy towards the killer and empathy towards the victims - present the facts and let the reader decide.

But after this it's downhill all the way.

Is the title misleading? Yes. "Face to Face With Evil" - too sensationalist and the author never states that Brady is evil - when the question is asked in the book the author leaves it to the reader to decide, as it should be. "Conversations With Ian Brady" - this gives me the impression that most of the book will be transcripts of conversations, and it isn't. Conversations are referenced and there are many quotes from Brady, but most of the book is about the psychology and profiling of serial killing and the penal system of the UK, and the author and publisher missed a trick (as well as antagonising the readers) by the bad title choice.

The book seemed to me to be poorly structured, with sections injected into chapters where they just didn't seem to belong, possibly because no other place for them could be found. The writing style varies too much too - from the glib to the academic - with a smattering of sloppy grammar and repetition thrown in for good measure.

But worse, so much worse, is the plethora of unforgivable factual errors. Just taking references to Ted Bundy, for example, about 80% of what is written about him in this book is wide of the mark - from unsubstantiated or discredited hypotheses presented as fact right through to complete factual missers.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to deliver 16 Dec. 2011
This book claims to be "in-depth and revealing" and the prominant picture of Brady on the cover suggests that he is indeed the main feature. I agree with other reviewers in that it doesn't live up to its promise. The book does discuss other serial killers at length with a few quotes from Brady thrown in. It is this, plus the disorganised structure which makes it disappointing. For an "important study" it lacks the academic rigour which would have made it a worthwhile addition to psychological studies of killers.
It is an uncomfortable read as the author's style indicates that he reveres Brady; on his first meeting he didn't want to ask about the murders as it would be "intrusive and rude." Cowley's writing is not good nor detached enough to appraise his subject and respect the memories of those youngsters that Brady - with Hindley - lured to their deaths. Cowley's intent may be to present Brady as a human being who is suffering as a result of his actions and to assess his thoughts and emotions. He discusses at some length the emotional reactions of other killers after their first murders.
I am only halfway through the book so it may become less littered with inconsistencies and contradictions. So far the most interesting aspect is the descriptions of a hospital for the criminally insane and the effect of such visits on those who are writing about criminals.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Though I found this book an interesting read, I have to agree with some of the previous comments. I should think most people bought this book because they wanted to know why the hell Brady killed those children and to understand what part Myra Hindley played in the crimes. We don't find that out in this book. Dr Cowley seems to have been won over by Brady. He champions his cause against the stringent conditions in Ashworth Hospital. Brady makes the most of this opportunity to rail against society and the conditions he finds himself in. He doesn't seem to understand that he wouldn't be in Ashworth if he hadn't brutally killed children. There is only one victim in his eyes and that is himself. I feel that Dr Cowley didn't really ask the questions that we want to know about such as 'When Myra drove 16 year old Pauline Reade (Brady's neighbour) on to the Moors on the pretext of finding a lost glove and she found you waiting there on the moor, what did you say to her? Did you grab her? Did you say hello and then push her to the floor? How did you face her grieving parents and how did you feel when you saw their tears? Brady will never answer these questions because he still wants to be in control and as long as he has information that we want to hear. There is nothing very new in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
FIRST THINGS FIRST: in my opinion this book would be much more suited to your needs if you are purchasing based on the title "conversations with Ian Brady":

Ted Bundy: conversations with a killer:

I own the book, linked to above, and i can say with certainty that it is the actual TRANSCRIPT from the researcher's interviews with TED BUNDY on death row (with a foreward and introductory chapter, of course), unlike this book (which really just uses odd Brady quotes to reinforce a vague point).

Now, Face to Face with Evil:
I will not go in-depth about the many problems in this book, as so many other reviewers have summed the majority of them up nicely: misleading title and blurb, factual errors, poor structure.

Despite Dr Cowley stating that he had to remind himself of who he was talking to and remain objective, i got the feeling that he was largely under the influence of Brady - a skilled manipulator who just enjoyed playing the system.

I'm sure Dr Cowley would justify his "friendship" with Brady as a way to keep him talking, however, when he comments on Ashworth mental hospital and the goings on of other patients he seems to deeply sympathise Brady to an alarming level, almost as if they were old school chums. This generally affects the validity of Cowley's "research" and his "findings".

Appears that Brady has manipulated Cowley, a doctor of forensic psychology, with the same ease as he manipulated Myra Hindley, a 19 year old girl when she met Brady.

Other than this, the other reviewers pretty much hit the nail on the head... It just goes to show how important user reviews can be on amazon!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars not so good!!
not what I expected so disappointed!
Published 13 days ago by charlie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Still reading this but quite interesting and revealing.
Published 2 months ago by QM1
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Very interesting insight to treatment in asylums. Definitely worth a read to anyone interested in the mind of a killer
Published 2 months ago by Mr. I. Antrobus
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great insight
Published 3 months ago by Twisted sister
4.0 out of 5 stars I can't give this 5 stars simply because it is ...
I can't give this 5 stars simply because it is not really possible to 'love' anything with Ian Brady at its centre. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jim B
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish !
Never read a book as "padded out" as this.
There is hardly anything in regards to the actual subject of interviewing Brady, instead, as a lot of people have reviewed... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cabbage n Ribs
3.0 out of 5 stars does somewhat seem like a vehicle for Crowley's ambitions and for...
I don't quite know what to make of this book. Having reviewed other books relating to the Moors Murderers, and being well acquainted with all the facts its a different perspective... Read more
Published 4 months ago by sheffield_butterfly
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
I can see why some people think the author is sucking up to Brady. I myself do not think so. I bought this as I am more interested in Ashworth Hospital than I amof Brady. Read more
Published 10 months ago by malcolm gennis
3.0 out of 5 stars Face to Face with Evil : Conversations with Ian Brady
I read this out of an awful morbid fascination because I can never get my head round psychopathy. Wasn't bad.
Published 10 months ago by Mrs B Corcoran
5.0 out of 5 stars He was evil
Ian Brady is an evil and twisted man but this book is such a great read it was hard to put down
Published 11 months ago by anna dodson
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