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Customer Review

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of this horrendous case, 2 April 2009
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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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