Ian Brady is one of the most notorious and reviled serial killers in Britain. With his co-conspirator, Myra Hindley, he perpetrated the Moors Murders in which five children were abducted, assaulted, and murdered. Dr. Chris Cowley is a forensic psychologist who is in the unique position of having exclusive access to Brady. For six years, he has been conducting groundbreaking research by corresponding with and visiting him in prison. By gaining his trust, Cowley has been able to take an unrivalled look inside the mind of a serial killer. In this in-depth and revealing book, Dr. Cowley reproduces letters and transcripts of conversations with Brady that have never been published before. Using this fresh perspective and original material, he is able to shed new light on what went wrong in Brady’s formative years to set him on a path of crime, how Hindley became the lethal factor that started Brady’s murder cycle, as well as revealing Brady’s unflinching account of being caught and convicted of serial murder and his thoughts and emotions concerning Hindley as he moves into his eighth year on hunger strike. This important study provides information that will prove essential in our understanding of the psychology of serial killers. By broadening our knowledge of these complex issues, we can increase the likelihood of catching murderers and perhaps even prevent their terrible crimes from taking place.
Edinburgh Insp. John Rebus is far and away the greatest creation of best-selling author Ian Rankin, but neither the brooding, dogged detective nor his creator is well-served by this amateurish book. Cabell begins with an interesting premise: "I'm simply interested in the man and his creation here and the parallels between them." There are parallels, and Cabell strives mightily to unearth how Rankin developed his popular character (Rebus was "retired" in the 2007 novel Exit Music) through a combination of close reading of the books and interviews. But the results are rarely satisfactory. The writing is sloppy, and the insight isn't insightful enough to really "explain" the riddle that is John Rebus. Some of the best observations come from Rankin himself ("I think Rebus joined the Police Force because it allowed him to be a voyeur it allowed him to look into other people's lives rather than look into his own."). Cabell is better when he explores Rankin's other main character, Scotland, and, in particular, Edinburgh and the stark contrast between its public, tourist-friendly face and its background of crime and corruption. (He also provides some literary insight, pointing out the connections between Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the Rankin novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek.) The volume includes nice photos of Rankin and Rebus's Edinburgh haunts as well as summaries of Rankin TV shows and a Rankin bibliography.