Talking with Psychopaths and Savages

Well. Love the subject and always interested in reading about psychopaths and murderers but this was a bizarre book. The author is supposedly a chap who has a lot of experience in talking to homicidal psychopaths but I’m afraid he is not a writer. Further, one does wonder to what extent his personality mirrors those he is talking to. He might be a lovely chap, but the way he writes (inserting completely unnecessary details, often irrelevant and pertaining to his other works and his own positive qualities) remind me of the grandiose ideas he tries to identify in others. 

There is seemingly no structure to the book. The writing is disjointed and rambling and has all the hallmarks of something rushed, perhaps thrown together in a hurry. If you’re interested in this topic, you’re much better off reading The Psychopath test by Jon Ronson – a book mentioned several times by the author and written I am afraid to say by a far more accomplished author. 

Shadow of the Wind

This seemed to be highly rated so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s  not exactly a page turner and the story moves quite slowly. However, it is only as it wraps up towards the end that it goes from being just another rehash of a Shakespearan tragedy that I will forget quite quickly to something that genuinely moved me a little. Not the best novel I’ve ever read but not the worst either. 

The Outsider

This was a bit of an impulse read. I needed something light and this one didn’t disappoint in that aspect. It begins with an intriguing conundrum and plays out like a traditional detective novel. The first half is therefore really good. Then it gets chilling, and after that, it just gets silly. I should have realised from the author that there would be a supernatural element, but setting it up in such detail had me thinking he had changed tack and tried his hand at something new – that there would be some clever explanation at the end of it. There wasn’t, it was just lazy supernatural humdrum. It was also a follow-up to one of his previous books which I hadn’t read. It was alright, but I’ve read far better. 

How Democracies Die

This is a well written and concise look into the development of US politics over the past century. It has implications for other nations as well, including the UK. It’s quite terrifying. It shows just how things are changing right under our noses. Such gradual change is only ever visible it seems in retrospect. If the people with the power to change things were as informed as those writing this book, perhaps things might turn out better!