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on 2 October 2003
This book would make a particularly good read for anyone who is starting to take an interest in true crime stories. The book is clear, to the point and easy to read. The authors account of Fred and Rose West focuses on not just the case itself, but the surrounding issues that led to the unision of this depraved, murderous couple. I was impressed with this book, because it is well researched and carefully planned, which certainly makes a whole world of difference for the reader. The author follows his work through thoroughly, starting with Fred and Rose's childhood, their relationship, their bizarre and perverted existence at 25 Cromwell Street and finally, their discovery and the notorious court case that followed. A very good read.
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on 5 November 1998
Howard Sounes did a wonderful and thorough job in writing this book on Fred and Rose West. I was extremely impressed with the manner in which Sounes gave such a tremendous amount of detail about their early lives, prior to their meeting and becoming one of Britain's most villainous couples (next to Brady and Hindley), without losing the reader. His account of their years together is very well written and thought out. I highly recommend this book to any fan of true crime accounts. It's an easy read on a complex situation.
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on 20 April 2001
Althought this book is extremely harrowing the way the book has been written is superb.I dont often read,but this book was hard to put down.I would recommend anybody to read this book.Although it is very disturbing it shows that who knows what goes on behind close doors ,the wests got away with it for 25 years thank god they where caught and justice was finally done.
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on 6 November 2011
Monstrous, evil, brutal killers - there are no adjectives adequate enough to describe the horror of the Wests' crimes. I knew only the bare facts about what they had done and I wanted to know more after seeing ITV's "Appropriate Adult" drama. This book is very comprehensive and very well written and researched, giving the background to both Fred and Rose from birth to the present day. Their families were utterly dysfunctinal with childhoods punctuated by abuse, mental health disorders and violence. This book never tries to excuse their behaviour or even reason why they did what they did, it merely charts their lives and their crimes. It is a bit like hearing evidence in court while being spared the legal argument. At times it is tabloid in style and it's obvious it's written with a journalist's eye for truth and detail. My only criticism is that Sounes often uses the lazy phrase "it was the last time she was seen alive". It peppers the text with each victim and could easily be edited out. What I learnt is that both Fred and Rose were borderline retarded, fuelled by perverted desire and a voracious sexual appetite. Rose worked as a prostitute from her own home with Fred encouraging it and watching her with clients. Together they preyed on the vulnerable, even their own children weren't spared. Their crimes were despicable and knew no bounds - incest, torture, rape, underage sex, kidnap, murder and mutilation - crimes they committed on a massive scale. We may never know how many girls they actually killed behind the facade of loving married couple, but it is certain to be more than the victims they buried under the backyard and their cellar. Shocking too was the number of times they slipped through the net with the police, social services and the school system missing many opportunities to stop them in their tracks.
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on 27 May 2004
I am absolutely astonished, disgusted and truly fascinated after reading this account of Fred and Rose Wests murderous 25 years at large. The crimes commited are described in graphic detail which only adds to the mental picture you develop while reading this account. Their lives before meeting each other are documented and well researched, giving a fantastic insight into the pshychological aspects of their feelings about 'family relationships' and sex (all in relationship to their crimes) considering the most extreme forms to be 'normal'. I would reccommend this book to anyone with a vague interest in the terrible goings on at 25 Cromwell Street, you wont be dissapointed...
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on 20 February 2000
I am stunned. Two very purverse people like this can actually succeed for twenty-five years in killing and sexually assualing around nine women? I am not usually shocked by what I read but here I am. Fred and Rose West were two genuinly psychotics who had a sick desire for sado-masichist sex. This book is good because it delivers an excellent account of the lives these two people led. They did have reasons for their activities. They were both psychologically damaged at a youngish age, which is, in a way, reasuring. Reasuring in the sense that they were not normal people, and such actions arose out of boredom. The fact that both Fred and Rose were mentally unstable does explain for their actions. Sounes does give an excellent account of their lives and atrocities. If you are interested in the Fred and Rose case, then buy this book. It is well worth it and easy to read.
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on 12 July 2005
This book is incredibly informative and well written by author Howard Sounes.

I am a seasoned reader of murder cases, especially ones involving serial killers, but nothing prepared me for the profound effect this book had on me.

It left me feeling emotionally drained and exhausted.

I had several sleepless nights as I tried to comprehend the enormity of what actually went on at 25 Cromwell Street.

Fred and Rose did not fit into any accepted profiles of serial killers.

What made this book the more daunting for me was the revelation of the scale of Rose's involvement and she is more often than not portrayed as the most vile, vicious and dominant one of the two.

In fact, it seems from this account , that it was Rose's sadistic lust for violent and bizarre sex, that was the motivation for most of these murders.

As shocking as it is, this book makes compelling reading.

But don't read it last thing at night as I did. Seriously, you will not sleep.

No wonder this house of horrors was eventually demolished.
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on 3 February 2006
Sounes provides insight into Rose and Fred's incestuous and violent childhoods. He examines their lives from childhood to the eventual discovery of their crimes and subsequent trial. This is a great book for a non-bias account of what happened. It stays clear of emotive language because the content is poignant enough. This book is a thorough detailed account of the West's lives and is a compelling read.
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on 23 September 2012
The reader must suspend their disbelief and try to remember that this is true life. The author has spared no known detail, but it is not sensationalist, just factual - no need for embellishment. It is written almost in the form of a story, with some occasional literary licence; however, this style makes it highly readable and does not detract from the harsh reality beneath. This book has been meticulously researched, using every available source of information pertaining to the case; it leads you from both perpetrators childhood experiences, through their appalling crimes, and finally to the trial of Rose. It is a catalogue of abuse and depravity, so if you are easily shocked, then you should steer well clear. It is also a catalogue of unbelievable ineptitude and culpability on the part of the authorities and, it must be said, some of the victims themselves, which leaves the reader aghast. Ultimately, if you are curious to delve into the depths of their crimes and attempt to comprehend their deviant mentality, this book offers a compelling journey. It cannot be described as enjoyable, but it is perversely fascinating, though equally unsettling. The only reassurance is that, despite any spurious superficial appearances, these are not ordinary people; they are the epitome of what is known as 'low life' and it is wise to know how to recognise them.
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on 8 June 2004
This book is a must have for any true crime reader.It starts by telling you about the lives of Fred and Rosemary before they came together. Then goes on to tell the story of their lives together. This may make you understand but not justfy what they did. It does not favour either Fred or Rose throughout the book and makes neither out to be guilty or not guilty. The writer tells it from both sides. The book is very graphic in parts, making you very aware of the horrors that took place behind closed doors at 25 cromwell street. This book kept my attention from start to finish, I just couldn't put it down.
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