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. There are too many to list, but just a couple of examples: Page 65: "... and on one occasion attacked five women in one night, three of them ending up dead.", Two, actually, Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy. Page 161: "He was convicted of 30 murders, ...". He was convicted of just three murders: Bowman, Levy and Diane Leach. And so on. Though these errors do not affect the thrust of the arguments, they are incredibly sloppy and have no place in a serious work like this. They set my teeth on edge and made me doubt every fact presented on every topic.
I tried to find the good in this book. It has some good, but it's not good enough.