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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious research, serious insight
Despite the gaudy title this is not a sensationalist work. On the contrary, the author has taken one of the most emotive subjects on earth, researched it thoroughly and written a work of real psychological insight without ever raising his authorial voice. A must-read for anyone with a serious interest in criminal psychology, this book helps us to understand that...
Published on 1 Feb. 2005 by Taylor

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2.0 out of 5 stars Could do with a complete re-edit
It's difficult to know how to review a book that has so clearly borrowed work from so many others. On one hand, the author has those people to thank for their own research and journalism in providing stories that will be new to the uninitiated true crime reader. However this also has the effect of making some chapters far more detailed and verbose than others. For...
Published on 26 Mar. 2013 by Ella Belakovska


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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious research, serious insight, 1 Feb. 2005
By 
Taylor (Orpington, Kent) - See all my reviews
This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
Despite the gaudy title this is not a sensationalist work. On the contrary, the author has taken one of the most emotive subjects on earth, researched it thoroughly and written a work of real psychological insight without ever raising his authorial voice. A must-read for anyone with a serious interest in criminal psychology, this book helps us to understand that demonizing children is not merely unethical but utterly unhelpful, and also raises the question of whether the adult should be punished for the crimes of the child. Excellent throughout.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Debate will Run and Run...Nature or Nurture?, 26 July 2011
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
A very interesting and well written book. Some of the cases are very sad, especially the Jamie Bulger and Mary Bell cases. If you work in this field, as I do, you come across this kind of behaviour regularly. Though not very often to the extent of murder. I find in my work with most children who offend that once you start to look into their homelife you will find neglect, cruelty, harshness and abuse, time and time again. It's a thread that runs through most of these cases, though not all. It will go on and on as there are thousands and thousands of children living a nightmare life and some of them will eventually snap!

If you have an interest in why some children kill others, read this book. It may help you understand why some children and young people offend.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, balanced account, 2 Feb. 2009
By 
Stracs "Stracs" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
In "When Kids Kill" Jonathan Paul has produced, despite the rather salacious sounding title, a fascinating, balanced and worthwile account of when children become killers. He has researched the issue thoroughly, including speaking to an emminent psychologist in the field, and introduces the book with a chapter on the psychology of child killers. He then goes through some of the more noted cases e.g. Mary Bell, Graham Young, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, plus the killing of Damilola Taylor, devoting a chapter to each case.

The account, whilst detailed, is not over-gratutious, but focuses on what motivates such children, particularly the background of these kids. Whilst some may see this account as being too liberal and sympathetic to such killers, I would argue that it is impeccably balanced. The author's view is that society needs to understand these young killers, not just brand them as born evil, if we are to prevent such cases. However, he also maintains due respect for the suffering of the victims and their families.

I would highly recommend this account to anyone with an interest in true crime and criminal psychology. It is particularly good as an introduction to these more famous cases, and further reading can be undertaken if the reader is interested in a more thorough account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Solid Book, 11 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
Contrary to the sensationalist title, this is actually a very interesting book. "When Kids Kill", by Jonathan Paul, is well researched and even reveals some points I had not heard before. It includes a great introduction in which he speaks to Dr Susan Baily, a prominent child forensic psychologist and president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Some of the cases included Mary Bell, the murder of Damilola Taylor, the really interesting case Lisa Healey and Sarah Davey and of course both Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.
This book also asks what makes Children suddenly turn homicidal and talks in-depth about social events and home life which may have contributed to the child's behaviour. While the author does a good job at pointing out the flaws in demonising child killers, he does sound rather preachy at some point. He effectively points out that what the majority of the killers in these cases have in common is an abusive and unsecure start in life.
One negative thing I have to say is that I cannot shake the feeling that a lot of what is in the book has been borrowed from other authors. This could explain the different styles and levels of details between the cases. Another down side is that it seems to have been a long time since this book was last updated (2002-ish) and a lot of the information is now out of date.
Over all it is a good captivating read and at approximately 250 pages it is relatively short. Overall, I will give it 4 out of 5.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edge of the seat stuff, 17 Jan. 2008
This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
Actually, having read quite a few of these types of books I was expecting a bit of exaggeration, however it was well written and chillingly disturbing in it's honesty. It leaves you questioning the so-called 'born evil' and wondering just how much we are responsbile for these 'child killers.' Definitly recommended.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener., 15 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you can get past the out of control crowds, all screaming for `them to be locked up and the key thrown away` - there is, in every case, a heart rending story to be told. Whether or not you`re prepared to take the time to listen to it is up to you - but i would highly recommend this book either way.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Could do with a complete re-edit, 26 Mar. 2013
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It's difficult to know how to review a book that has so clearly borrowed work from so many others. On one hand, the author has those people to thank for their own research and journalism in providing stories that will be new to the uninitiated true crime reader. However this also has the effect of making some chapters far more detailed and verbose than others. For example, the chapter `Murder on Hungerford Bridge' has a narrative of an almost fictional quality, whereas `The Boy who Loved Poisons' appears to be written for a younger audience and is much simpler in its language.

A major criticism of this book is the lack of editing. This is particularly grating when names change: on just one page, Denise Bulger's companion on the fateful day at Bootle Strand goes from Nicola to Vanessa and back to Nicola again. It smacks of `copy and paste' and makes the author look indifferent to the victims, e.g. `The Body in the Canal' primarily names the elderly victim as Mrs Lilley, but she becomes Lily for a few paragraphs!

Writing style aside, the book itself does not make many attempts to explore the background to either the murderers themselves, or the overall psychology of children who kill. The former can be understood by the nature of this being a catalogue of crimes rather than an investigation into one child's actions. However, the peppered thoughts on teenage cruelty throughout some chapters, and the `summing up' in the final pages of the book just seem a little simplified and almost appear to excuse the way some children turn out, based on their admittedly appalling upbringings, while labelling others with a flavour of Daily Mail vilification.

Unfortunately, these inconsistencies are the lasting impression I was left with, which detracts so much from substance of book as to render it pointless. The only recommendation I could make would be to those who have an interest in true crime but have not read much on the subject. If nothing else, the reader can identify cases of interest as a starting block and seek out further information on them elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when kids kill, 16 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
good book good read very informative very good purchase well written and enjoyable. although it is not a very nice topic it was very detailed and gave me a better understanding on this subject
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Author insists on adding his own opinions, 17 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
Very interesting subject, which is why I wanted the book, but the author seems obsessed with adding his own opinions throughout every case, and making excuses for the perpetrators behaviour, portraying them as victims themselves. I only want to read the facts, not a "bleeding heart" (his term, used in a derogatory manner when criticising the media) running commentary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed., 30 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) (Mass Market Paperback)
Although the information itself is horrid, the book is of good quality and the information is good. It arrived really quickly and the person I bought it for was surprised at how well written it was considering the content.
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When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime)
When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence (Virgin True Crime) by Jonathan Paul (Mass Market Paperback - 10 April 2003)
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