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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The death of 'Cracker'!
Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1This isn't your average serial-killer book. Not only does it concern itself with the actions and mind of serial rapist and multiple murder, Robert Napper, but also with the highly flawed police investigation that failed to bring him to justice for the Wimbledon Common killing in the 1990s. For anyone who wants...
Published on 7 Mar 2009 by J. A. Short

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too technical !
From looking at the front cover and the title of the book, I assumed that the book would go in depth into the life and crimes of Robert Napper but how wrong can you be! I was so disappointed and quite bored with it that I didnt finish reading it - an absolute first in the annals of my reading which is 99% true crime. The book skims over his early life making much of the...
Published on 25 Sep 2010 by anastasia


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The death of 'Cracker'!, 7 Mar 2009
By 
J. A. Short - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1This isn't your average serial-killer book. Not only does it concern itself with the actions and mind of serial rapist and multiple murder, Robert Napper, but also with the highly flawed police investigation that failed to bring him to justice for the Wimbledon Common killing in the 1990s. For anyone who wants answers as to why the police single-mindedly pursued the innocent Colin Stagg, leaving Napper free to commit at least two further murders, this book is essential reading. Co-author, Laurence Alison, was involved in Colin Stagg's defence at his aborted trial and this clearly allows the book to talk with a greater authority than is normally so with this type of book. Of particular interest is the detailed analysis of the ridiculous `psychological profile' evidence put forward by the police's pet expert and self-styled `real-life Cracker', Paul Britton and the sham entrapment operation that spent three million pounds of the publics money. This is the book that killed `Cracker'. Recommended for all police officers thinking of calling in `profiler'.
John A. Short
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of this horrendous case, 2 April 2009
By 
Stracs "Stracs" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
In December 2008 justice was finally served for the infamous and brutal murder in July 1992 of Rachel Nickell, killed in broad daylight in front of her young son on Wimbledon Common by Robert Napper. Napper has been confined in Broadmoor hospital for the criminally insane for the murders of Samantha and Jazmine Bissett for a number of years, and finally DNA evidence instigated him admitting to killing Rachel - a crime for which he had watched an innocent man spend time in prison and become a national pariah.

This is an excellent book which not only tells the story of the crime and long fight for justice, but also looks at the psychology of the killer in some depth. As another reviewer says, this means the book works on many levels and is accessible to both the general reader and the true crime "buff" like myself, with the balance between detail and a readable writing style spot on.

The style of the authors is highly readable and so the account holds the attention from the start. The book also includes some more "interactive" parts where the reader can get involved and is challenged to assess their own attitudes to crime and investigative skills. This was an element of the book which I have never seen elsewhere before and which I really enjoyed, and it certainly made me think in depth about the issues raised as a result.

The account presented is very balanced, not the type of sensationalist "journalistic" style of writing which fills some true crime books and which one might have expected from an account of such an infamous case. Even the discussion of other crimes which may have been committed by Napper is very reasonable, balanced and takes into account the evidence, or lack of, which connects him to the crimes. The do not speculate on how many crimes Napper may have committed, only linking him to a case where they feel there is evidence to do so, and also making clear which aspects of those cases point away from Napper being involved.

The writers are both academic psychlogists, and the psychology of Napper and to some extent the police involved in the case, is examined in depth. However, the book does not at any point feel like an academic textbook and is very accessible to all readers. Readers of a sensitive nature should be aware that there is some gruesome detail in this book, but this is written in as sensitive a way as possible and is not at all sensationalist - it is purely used where necessary to illustrate points about the psychology of the killer. It is an emotionally powerful book to read because of the nature of the murders involved, but this makes the book all the more worthwhile in my opinion.

This is one of the best true crime books I have read and well worth picking up.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 2 Jun 2009
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
This book will give you an insight into the mind of a killer; an insight into the Police and their procedures and the justice system. The authors show how the investigation of a crime can quickly head down the wrong avenue and how the over reliance of one particular opinion can ruin the lives of others. This book is sensitively written and shows disturbingly just how some people can degrade into killers. `Killer in the Shadows' isn't your average crime book, and is not a literary sideshow of horrors to indulge certain readers grim fascination with murder. This is a very good read indeed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent examination of a notorious case, 18 Jun 2009
By 
Scaramouche (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
Firstly, I think there should be some distinction between this book and others in the 'true crime' genre; this one isn't written by journalists, it is written by two experts in the field of forensic psychology research, and it shows.

The thing that most impressed me about the book is probably the last chapter; so many crime books focus on the 'gory' details, but this one ends with a sensitive examination of what happens after the crime, after the trial and after the media spotlight, and explores how those left behind try to pick up the pieces. I think this demonstrates most clearly the sense of humanity that runs through the book; it is so easy from newspaper reports in the mass media to forget that every victim was a real person who was loved and is missed.

The book, understandably given the authors, approaches the topic from an academic standpoint, but this doesn't put non-psychologists at a disadvantage, as the explanations are clear and well thought-out, even when examining some complex issues around the development of offending behaviour. Not only does the book explore issues relating to Robert Napper, but also provides some insight into sexual offenders and murderers in general, which is again accessible to academics and the general public alike.

One small point to make to Amazon, however; I'm not sure, given Professor Alison's defence of Colin Stagg against the heavily criticised sting operation which was led by discredited psychologist Paul Britten, it's such a great idea to be advertising Britten's 'Picking Up the Pieces' book on the same page! For further deconstructions of why this is such a bad idea on Amazon's part, there are a couple of excellent chapters on the Stagg case in Professor Alison's book 'The Forensic Psychologist's Casebook'; this is far more academic in tone to 'Killing in the Shadows', but still written in an accessible way and highly recommended for anyone wishing to broaden their understanding of the case, and of the subject of forensic psychology in general. In particular, the chapter featuring Canter and Alison's deconstruction of Britten's involvement and the way this shaped the police investigation into Stagg manages to be both eloquent and well-argued, without losing the entirely appropriate sense of anger at the way Britten's involvement damaged the profession.

In short, 'Killing in the Shadows' should appeal to anybody with an interest in offender behaviour and police investigations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, 31 Aug 2010
By 
James Smith (GLASGOW, LANARKSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have read a few books on serial killers and their ilk but this takes a bit of beating.Having said that the story had to be told and it is told extremly well

Its such a tragic story as the killer should have been caught long before he killed again but various circumstances which the authour explores tells you the reason he wasn't

I read this book in a single night and then made sure my doors were locked
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is a gem; treat yourself and read it., 7 July 2009
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This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
It is refreshing to find a book that shows real insight into its subject matter. Too many true crime books written by policemen, psychologists and pathologists simply end up as a chronological story of what happened, which sheds no new light at all. Alison and Eyre, as behavioural investigative advisers, get as far under the skin of serial killer Robert Napper as most of us would care to go. His horrific murders of Rachel Nickell and Samantha Bissett, not to mention Samantha's four year old daughter, rocked a nation hardened to media distorted violence.

Patiently and with a great deal of understanding, the authors unravel the case against Napper and the 'honeytrap' police operation that put Colin Stagg in the frame. They use their professional expertise not only to explain not only what makes serial killers like Napper tick, but how such killings affect everyone involved, from eyewitnesses to policemen, journalists and bereaved family members.

What is truly inspirational about Killer in the Shadows is the way it systematically demolishes our preconceptions and assumptions, urging us to test ourselves with statistical puzzles that are simply fascinating. It was a sobering experience for me, as a true-crime writer, to discover that I only got 10% of the answers right!

The book is a gem; treat yourself and read it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, 3 Mar 2009
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book that works on so many levels and which both the general and more 'expert' reader will enjoy. It teaches us much about people, from the almost demonic to the truly heroic, containing compelling, quietly, sensitively told stories of human fraility, resilience and compassion in the face of the utmost, awful adversity. It completely avoids the sentimental, salacious or sensational, favouring instead carefully balanced observations on the terrible crimes of Robert Napper and on the people whose lives he changed forever. Their humbling stories are interwoven with plentiful, learned insights into decision making. It might serve as a handbook for anyone who has to make decisions in complex, perhaps politically charged situations, like police officers (in this case), magistrates and other professionals or indeed for journalists who report them. This book is brimming with facts, ideas and insights, yet is an easy read. It will draw you in and may even move you to tears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good balance between Crime, Criminal, Victim, Families, and Judiciary, 10 Nov 2010
For readers seeking the "thrill" of the gory details that often accompany "true life crime" publications, then they may be disappointed with this book. However, if you are not just seeking the thrill of the blood and gore, but more interested in the mindset of the offender and the different impact that media can have on police investigations then this book is one you should read.
It is not an in depth autopsy of the crimes committed by Robert Napper, and others he is suspected of. In parts, yes some graphic details are provided to the reader of the actions of Napper at several of his crime scenes, and provided so that the reader may begin to comprehend the psychological complexities that accompany psychopathic criminals, (of which there are thankfully, very few)
Laurence Alison is an eminent and leading Professor in the field of Criminal Psychology. He is able to take the reader through some of the basic principles within psychology, particularly the concept of "bias" providing examples from not only Nappers offending case history but also other convicted criminals who have committed similar crime types.
On occasions these references to several other criminals and their crimes, can become a little confusing if you chose to read this book believing that it will focus solely on Nappers offending. However, their purpose for inclusion becomes relevant in leading the reader through the many concepts of criminal behaviour. Most of the graphs and charts are difficult to decipher, and their points may have been made easier if provided in text form, or, bigger charts.
As a Criminal Psychology student with an interest in the eternal question of, "what kind of person can commit that type of crime, which is apparently so detached from the social norm, and well established emotional etiquette and accepted behaviour within society, that most of us I expect, give little thought to, until we see the daily news and during the headlines of some new horrendous crime that has been committed then think of "how could someone......" then this book is an interesting read, as not only does it attempt to provide a balanced view of the controversial investigation in the death of Rachel Nickell on Wilmbledon Common in 1992. It also focuses on the wider impact that violent unexpected death can have others, starting with the families of the victims left behind to rebuild what most of us can not even comprehend. Overall I found this book interesting and informative into the behaviour of those people who live amongst us, who keep a hidden secret that is hard to acknowledge or identify early enough to possibly prevent another waste of life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Public Psychology, 30 Mar 2009
This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
This is an excellent book which pushes and refines the true crime genre by combining popular but academic psychology and a real life case. It is filled with insight and observation, but written in such a way as to allow the non specialist to gain just as much as a student of criminology or psychology.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant informative book, 24 Jan 2010
By 
K. Burton (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Killer in The Shadows: The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper: 1 (Paperback)
I read this book so quickly i couldn't put it down, it is so informative and my main reason for enjoying this book so much is that the writers write so compasionately when referring to all the victims of these terrible crimes and how the ripple effect of just one murder let alone more can be unbearably devasting for everyone involved. great read, even though it is extremely sad as well. but worth every penny.
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