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Book Review – On The Trail Of The Yorkshire Ripper – His Final Secrets Revealed.

Pen and Sword Books once again very kindly recently sent me a book that I had long known was being created, long since known was due for release soon – and one that I had long eagerly awaited, for it concerns the subject that I can pinpoint as the true genesis of my enthusiasm for true crime:

Author Richard Charles Cobb has spent countless time researching the case of Peter Sutcliffe – and I do mean countless time, to produce a book entitled “ON THE TRAIL OF THE YORKSHIRE RIPPER: HIS FINAL SECRETS REVEALED” I had seen snippets from the book shared over social media by the author for some time now – and I was already impressed with what I read. As I have said before in reviews, I will buy one, two, ten books concerning the same subject if one contains more detail, or a different spin on the case than the others – I don’t believe any library should, or even can be finite. The Ripper case was the proper one that gripped me and set me on the course to be the Enthusiast that I am today, so it was always a book I was getting. And this book is a prime example of that.

So as I do always with any review, I’m good and honest, and I shall point out my own personal pros and cons with On The Trail Of The Yorkshire Ripper. It must have been a daunting task to write about such a well-known case, I mean, Sutcliffe’s tale is almost folklore now, so kudos must go to Richard for his work – a real labour of love there. And he should be proud of his labours indeed. Perhaps I write this from a position that differs to many, as I myself have studied the Ripper case for years – I have all of the books there is to have, and whilst I’m certainly no expert on the subject, I like to think I’m knowledgeable enough about the case to hold a decent and informed conversation about it.

Well, I’d find myself listening to Richard.

The best that I can sum it up is thus – this book is a perfect text for someone who came along and had never heard of The Yorkshire Ripper. It’s obvious how Richard knows the case inside out, and has excellently and correctly absorbed the salient details that authors such as Gordon Burn, David Yallop and Michael Bilton have presented in their own accounts of the case, put together a comprehensive, easily readable account – and then added his own details for a superbly slick finish. It’s the details that have made the book for me, as – and I don’t mean this unfairly, but with any book on the Ripper case, I’m personally going over long covered ground – I found myself learning snippets about the case that I didn’t know – colours of victim’s clothing, names of public houses – that kind of thing.

Each chapter focuses upon Sutcliffe’s canonical victims in chronological order, and accounts each individual case in a very readable, comprehensive style, with excellent detailing. There is also a staggering 24 pages of photographs concerning the case within the book – always an attractive point – and many of these are unfamiliar photographs, including sketch plans and photographs of crime scenes, pictures of Sutcliffe following his arrest, and pictures of officers concerned with the case. The book is nicely rounded off with an epilogue that denotes an explanation – albeit in brief – behind all of the major headlines that the Ripper case has created since Sutcliffe’s incarceration 38 years ago, and contains a decent bibliography that would point any new student to the Ripper case in the right direction for further reading.

What I have personally loved about On The Trail Of The Yorkshire Ripper, aside from the fresh details about the case revealed that I didn’t know, are the obvious references that Richard has actually steeped himself in the research and visited the scenes involved, where it’s been available for him to, so you know what the places concerned are like today, if places have been demolished or damaged – how they look, to the exact point. I respect and commend that, it’s excellent.

I have very little I can criticise about On The Trail Of The Yorkshire Ripper – I haven’t written a book myself after all, so am writing as a reader here. If I had to say anything, and I shall, because it struck me and I believe an honest review is the only one you can give, I felt that the foreword to the book – some four pages – went on about the author of the said foreword far too much, and it was only the final line of the review where Richard’s work was endorsed – I didn’t find that necessary at all. Aside from this slight, it’s an extremely detailed, very comprehensive, and at just over 200 pages, not daunting to read, next important addition to any student of true crime’s library.


The Yorkshire Ripper.

Book Review – Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer:

I can often be found scouring bookshops both high street and online for the best true crime has to offer – a show such as the Enthusiast doesn’t write or research itself, you know – so of particular interest to me a short time ago was when I noted that Pen and Sword Books were preparing to release a book concerning a notorious British case that has long held my interest, the murders of Patrick Mackay. For the well-read true crime buff, Patrick Mackay surely needs no introduction – but to recap; he was imprisoned in 1975 for life after having confessed to a scourge of horrific murders; and has long been suspected of several more. Perhaps most notable to the casual enthusiast because of his frightening, memorable, passport photograph that is widespread, this has undoubtedly helped Mackay’s case become an addition to the prospective list of cases for several true crime podcasters, with for many years the single definitive source concerning Mackay’s crimes being the 1976 book “Psychopath: The Case Of Patrick Mackay”, by authors John Clarke and Tim Penycate.

Well, that definitive source has now changed.

Journalist John Lucas, the former chief crime correspondent for the region of Essex’s main newspaper The Echo, has studied and recounted the Mackay case and has as a result produced a book entitled “Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: The Terror Of The Axeman”, that Pen and Sword Books were kind enough to send me a copy of to read and review. At 220 pages, from the off it doesn’t appear daunting to the potential reader, and the cover art (which contains the notorious passport photograph I mentioned above) is striking enough to make it memorable. Also contained within are several photographs – always a plus point for a true crime book – and although many of these have been reproduced several times over the years in different formats, there are several that won’t have seen the light of day for many.

But it’s once you begin to turn the pages, even from the excellently and honestly set out foreword of the book, that you begin to think – wow. Intelligently written and argued throughout, and refreshingly unbiased, the 220 pages set out in a comprehensive, logical order Mackay’s life and crimes, from his birth and early life, through detailed accounts of his known crimes, right through to his confessions – it even, unlike many other accounts of the case, focuses upon Mackay AFTER his imprisonment. Written in an involving, informative style, it part reads almost like a novel – until you realise you are reading Mackay’s own accounts from his confessions. Also contained within are excellent, unbiased and detailed accounts of other crimes that Mackay both confessed to that were left to lie on file following his imprisonment, or unsolved crimes that Mackay has long been linked to, or suspected of.  

Now I am always impressed with depths of research and detail in books, and consequently I have been known to collect several different books about a specific case based on the amount of detail contained in each. I have to say that the depth of research John Lucas has undertaken for the entire book is nothing short of phenomenal and commendable, I really cannot commend the detail contained throughout the book enough. You’ll find all those obscure things that an author would have proper had to dig out – specific amounts of fines, times, dates for example – all contained within. But it doesn’t just read as a list of statistics to impress – they have been researched and put together to support the engaging context that make this an unmissable book, and an instant true crime classic. When I’d completely read Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer, I was placed in mind of the last time I read something so well written, detailed and engrossing – the late Gordon Burn’s books concerning The Yorkshire Ripper and The West Murders.

And if you have read those, then you will know what a compliment that is indeed.

I commend John Lucas for his time consuming, painstaking work, and for adding to my true crime shelves a permanent, welcomed addition – it’s easily become and will remain THE definitive book about the Mackay case. When I do review books, I am always honest and unbiased, and for as much praise as I can give, I will also criticise where I see fit to – I don’t see the point of a review if you don’t do that, give the good and the bad. But I have absolutely no criticisms here whatsoever, I thought it was an excellent, well researched and referenced, staggeringly detailed and gripping account on all fronts. An instant classic that belongs on the bookshelf of any true crime enthusiast – it certainly does on mine.

Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: The Terror Of The Axeman is out now, available from Pen and Sword Books.

Book Review “The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story Of Kieran Kelly”

I was kindly offered the chance by Pen and Sword Books Ltd to review a newly published book concerning a subject that has long held my interest, a series of crimes in London by an Irish born down and out, Kieran Patrick Kelly. For those unfamiliar with the case, Kelly was a homeless alcoholic who was convicted in the mid-1980’s of two brutal murders – one committed whilst he was in custody even – but is suspected of several more, including being acquitted of two, and numbers as high as 31 total murders that he may or may not have been responsible for have been bandied around. Kelly is known most familiarly as “The London Underground” killer, due to the crimes he was acquitted for involving people being pushed under trains on the London Underground. However, an exact number of crimes cannot be ascertained – as often there is little more than a claim by Kelly himself to go on. 

It is an unfamiliar case this one – unless you have a full-on library and produce a true crime podcast, that is – but it is an interesting case I came across many years ago, and indeed, read a separate book about a couple of years ago. However, I was left very much less than impressed with that particular book – so I looked forward to reading another, hoping for a better account of what I consider an interesting case, and was only too eager to get a copy of “The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story Of Kieran Kelly”, written by award-winning journalist Robert Mulhern, when I learned it was due for publication.

Now, I believe that any review should be completely honest, and by this, I mean the positives and negatives of any book are looked at and told to the reader – which of course, are my own opinions. It’s what I have done with every book I have reviewed, and shall continue to do so going forward. As it’s a vague, unfamiliar and almost undocumented case, it was always going to be a challenge to write about the crimes of Kieran Kelly, and author Robert Mulhern has clearly spent considerable time, expense and effort doing so – and has done it well. A disclaimer at the open of the book states that its aim is to present the truest version of events concerning the case as it can, and what there is within the book is very well researched and documented. It’s told from the point of view of the author and his researching of the book in a chronological order, and contains transcripts of his interviews with various ex police officers and legal counsel involved with the case, plus people who knew and remember Kelly, that comes across as a conversational narrative. There is a good, well written and presented account of the crimes that Kelly was sentenced to life imprisonment for, and the trial concerning this – there are even photographs contained within of official documents such as death certificates, location photographs and prison correspondence within that show the depth of research that Mr Mulhern has undertaken – I always commend details and real finds like this, and it always helps make a memorable book for me.

However, although each chapter is short – often just a page or two in length, so is easy to read, there is a lot of repetition within the book. This is unavoidable really, and this is no slight on the author here, because as I have said it is a difficult case to have researched due to the lack of concrete evidence or identifiable victims available – so quite often it may jump from alleged case to confirmed one and back several times over in just a short number of pages. Whilst the chronological narrative of the author helps here, it may leave the casual reader scratching their head somewhat to keep up. Sometimes as well, and again, this is a personal note, there were elements where it seemed almost like a fictional story really – for example, there is use of onomatopoeia to describe the sounds of cars driving past, or e-cigarettes being inhaled that I thought was pointless to include.

It is an interesting book overall I thought, with a level of impressive research that makes it THE definitive study of a case that is destined to forever remain one that tantalises and intrigues the student of true crime.

“The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story Of Kieran Kelly” is available now from Pen and Sword Books.

The True Crime Enthusiast

Questionaire Opportunity

I have been approached by a friend of TTCE who is working on an interesting dissertation for their degree, and has asked me to use the Blog as a portal to gain responses which will assist in this research: Please take a couple of minutes out of your time to complete the online survey that can be accessed at the link below:

Take The Survey

Your help would be much appreciated in this matter.

Many thanks

The True Crime Enthusiast

Book Review – “The Face OF Evil”

Original Cover of “The Face Of Evil”

I was delighted to be sent a copy of the debut book from author Robert Giles, who has collaborated with former Norfolk Police Intelligence officer (Ret’d) and true crime/cold case author Chris Clark, on the subject of a groundbreaking book concerning the life and crimes of the reviled, late British serial killer Robert Black. Black is often overlooked in the annals of British crime, despite the revulsion of his crimes, and makes for a fascinating study, so any text concerning the case will always be found on the reading list of TTCE. The Face Of Evil is just so.

Through conversations with both the authors, I know exactly the hard work and research that has gone into creating the book. I also know that, through events of years past, the Robert Black case has a personal connection to Chris. So I eagerly anticipated its publication and Chris was good enough to send me a copy for review (and of course, my library).  And I wasn’t disappointed.

At 314 pages, it is the perfect reading size really. The pagination shows the depth of coverage of the subject, and this size does not daunt the reader. Also contained within are 8 pages of colour/black and white photographs that will impress the reader for the variation and uniqueness of them. As I have said before, I am always impressed with detail and will search out a book concerning a subject that I already have blanket coverage of on my shelves if it contains even one or two previously unknown details to myself.

Structured into two parts (the authors have written a part each) the first part chronicles Robert Black’s life and crimes, up to his arrest, trial and imprisonment. This recounting of Black’s life and crimes is quite simply phenomenal. As I have stated in several of my other book reviews on TTCE, I am greatly impressed with detail. The detail contained here is staggering, and the reader will be left in no doubt of the dedication, time and effort that Robert has put into researching and writing this book. It is the latest in only a handful of books concerning Black, and I am in no doubt that it deservedly should become the canonical one. Covered expertly.

It would not be for me to recount in full here the horrific crimes that Robert Black was imprisoned for. Not only do the authors of The Face Of Evil do this comprehensively and engagingly, but another area where the book stands out for me is the work that has gone in to examining Black’s possible culpability in many other unsolved murders of children, not just in the United Kingdom but throughout Europe also. Reader’s of Chris’s other works will recognise here the approach taken to researching these cold cases, and will find within strong, well-founded arguments suggesting Black’s culpability in the cases that he is widely suspected of. Some of these unsolved cases will be familiar names to the true crime reader, whilst others will be widely unknown (several I was unaware of before reading).

The only critical points with The Face Of Evil I found, and I must say these are slight and should in no way should reflect upon the authors at all, is that due to the amount of information contained within, I believe that the book may have benefited with an index. This would have benefited the reader (like myself) who is interested in researching further names and cases mentioned. There are also slight typeface errors and changes in font scattered at a few points throughout the book and a discrepancy between the actual and advertised book covers – but I should stress these lie at the foot of the publishers, not the authors.

This is a book I found fascinating, well written and very informative. For Chris, it is yet another literary success and for Robert, deservedly his first. A very worthwhile addition to any true crime shelf, and highly recommended.


The True Crime Enthusiast

RedHanded Podcast – Review



It’s been some time since I reviewed a podcast for TTCE, and in the time since I last did, I’ve worked with a couple (you know who you are), chopped and changed a few that I listen to, got fed up of some, and become a fan of a few new that I have discovered. I’ll get around to them all in time, but the one I’m concentrating on at this moment is a UK-based true crime/paranormal one called RedHanded.

RedHanded is a relatively fledgling podcast, having only dropped episode 6 in its first series/season this week (01 Aug), and is run by two pleasant-sounding ladies named Hannah and Suruthi who deliver each episode naturally and confidently. It covers true crime – not just your grisly murders, but bizarre crimes also, as well as notable cases of the paranormal. And a bizarre case of the two of them trapped in a small cupboard (the mind boggles)………

I’ve come to RedHanded for several reasons really: Firstly, it’s a UK-based one covering (to date) solely UK cases. Regular readers of TTCE know that this is my forte also, so that’s a plus point to me. The UK has more than enough fascinating, recountable cases that stick in the mind if they are searched for, and I find that people are most interested with places they know can picture or identify with more so than somewhere the other side of the world from you. I certainly do. Secondly, and again this is impressive to me – is that the cases that are covered are not lazily chosen. A bit of work has gone into each episode here – this isn’t the West case told yet again, or Jack The Ripper version six million, where minimal effort has to go in. That’s boring and would be re-inventing the wheel – what new would they bring to the table? No, RedHanded’s cases mostly won’t be too familiar with the listener. Whilst I am no expert, I am very well read as a crime researcher and at least two of the cases, I was pleasantly surprised to be unfamiliar with. I found myself looking them up after listening – interest piqued, job done.

And the cases that are better known – for example, Bible John or the infamous 1985 White House Farm Massacre – are equally well researched and presented and are not just a rehashed recount of well documented facts, but with valid points of view and personal opinions thrown in also, ones that make the listener know that the hosts are interested. Nobody wants a robot reading off a sheet – a bit of feeling and an understanding and opinion goes a long way. I was also refreshed to see a paranormal angle in there as well – for it’s always been as equal a fascination and interest for me that (come on, who wouldn’t want to be Mulder or Scully?) – and it’s the very interesting case of the Enfield Poltergeist as well – hopefully, the first of many more.

It will also be apparent to the listener that the girls grow more confident with each episode – I know this is true of many podcast hosts (everybody starts somewhere and practice makes perfect). The episodes get longer, the content is delivered more clearly and relaxed, and it is also clear how much they enjoy what they do – which benefits everybody. Hannah and Suruthi are both very approachable and helpful, and are establishing themselves well in the true crime online community. I’m even pleased to say that RedHanded and TTCE have had discussions, and are searching for a suitable project to collaborate on together. Watch this space….

So, it may seem to the reader that I never seem to listen to a bad podcast, and I’m a bit of a sycophant. Well, I’ve listened to some shocking podcasts that I have consigned to the delete button, believe me. I won’t review any bad podcasts, that seems an unnecessary knock and even if i do think content is dull, I still respect the time it takes people to do these things. Instead, I focus on championing ones that are good. And I would have no qualms in raising any negative points I found – I am very fair as my other reviews will reflect, a good review has to have plus and minus points. But the simple fact is, I find no minus points with RedHanded. It’s become one of my must listens each week – and I invite the reader to see if they agree with me. Excellent work ladies, you should be very proud.

Find RedHanded at:

Player FM Link

itunes Link

Top Podcast Link

Twitter – @RedHandedthepod

Instagram – RedHanded the Podcast


The True Crime Enthusiast

Book Review – “Catching A Serial Killer”


TTCE was well aware of the existence of a book in the works written by former Wiltshire Police Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher following his work bringing to justice what must be one of the most evil, and more than likely, prolific serial killers that Britain has ever known, Christopher Halliwell. As the case is quite high profile and well-known (and sadly it should be added, arguably not for the correct reasons it should be), it was a book that was always on the list to read and review for TTCE, as it is a case that would pique the interest of any true crime reader. TTCE was well familiar with the case and the subsequent events of it, so was all too eager to read the book. Released last week, and read immediately upon its release, the review is as follows.

“Catching A Serial Killer” details the disappearance of and subsequent police investigation into the whereabouts of a missing 22 year old girl, Sian O’Callaghan, which made headline news within the UK in March 2011. Through determined efforts and a tireless, professional and dedicated enquiry, Sian’s killer, taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, was brought to justice. Halliwell is now serving a whole-life tariff for the murders of both Sian, and a second victim, Becky Godden-Edwards, whose murder Halliwell was convicted for in 2016.

There is much available online to read about Christopher Halliwell, the murder of Sian, and the discovery of Becky’s body. Yet equally, there is much available also to read about Steve Fulcher. It does not serve this review any to recount any of these details here, the book and the author does that well enough and covering the plot points here would ruin it for the reader.

TTCE found “Catching A Serial Killer” to be very chronologically written, very honest and personal, and to cover the enquiry start to finish. It was set at the pace of the enquiry, so the reader can place themselves there by the side of investigating officers – it helps appreciate the timeframe and the complexity of a fast paced missing person/suspected murder enquiry. Police jargon and acronyms are explained, and the author delves deep enough into the personal effects such an enquiry has upon those investigating that it really brings home what lies on the shoulders of investigating officers. Not many similar books off the top of the head have done this as well. It’s a fast read, and written so the reader feels the highs and lows of the investigation with Det Supt Fulcher and his team.

So, with successfully taking a multiple murderer off the streets, one would expect Steve Fulcher to be commended? Absolutely not – he was forced out of an unblemished police career by an IPCC as a result of his actions during the case. The most high-profile case of a career – and unfortunately, also the most costly. The events leading to this are all explained in a chronological order, and a very honest one for that matter – Steve is honest throughout, and explains thoroughly his actions and the reasons for doing so. Perhaps “enjoyed” is the wrong word to use for the reader to feel after reading a book such as this – after all, should any true crime text concerning the murder of young girls be enjoyed? – but TTCE thought it an overall fascinating and engaging book.

The two negative points TTCE found with “Catching A Serial Killer” are as follows: there is a complete lack of photographs contained within the book, which is always of interest to any reader in the opinion of TTCE and indeed, has often helped sales and interest. Not necessarily crime scene photos – it is understandable that due to sensitivity and of course evidential value that these are not included. But pictures of places mentioned, vehicles etc would be of interest for example. It is also a book that would have benefited from an appendix at the back bullet pointing the timeline of events, for the reader to refer to as an overview. However, these are personal observations and it has to be said do not or should not diminish what is, as already stated, an excellent book.

As mentioned earlier, there is much to be read about Christopher Halliwell online, the majority of which is the possibility that he is responsible for many other murders as yet undiscovered. TTCE is in no doubt convinced that Halliwell is responsible for many more murders – but he maintains a “no comment” stance. There are fellow true crime enthusiasts that have compiled a list of possible Halliwell victims – some of these quite high-profile cases and names that would be familiar to a reader (a number of which are mentioned in the book), and it is hopefully refreshing to Steve Fulcher to read reviews like this and reinforce that there are people who support his actions and see past any decisions made by the IPCC, and who continue to work tirelessly even if on an amateur level. This book does not cover Halliwell’s life in any great detail, that is perhaps for a future book to do once the full extent of Halliwell’s offending is known – if of course, it ever is. Researching Halliwell’s life may take time, but there is markedly much more for us to learn about the life and exploits of Christopher Halliwell, so much so that, it could potentially fill volumes. TTCE sincerely hopes that this is the first book to do so.

TTCE was going to begin this review by saying that, in a non patronising, non condescending way, he pitied Steve Fulcher for his treatment at the hands of the IPCC. Reading the book changed that. Now, there is nothing short of admiration for him. Read the book and make up your own minds.


The True Crime Enthusiast

UK True Crime Podcast – Meet the Host!

So a few weeks ago TTCE wrote a guest piece for the excellent podcast/blog site UK True Crime, which goes from strength to strength and currently sits in the top 5 across all categories in the UK Podcast Charts. As has been detailed on the review that can be found here , the host is a genial chap called Adam. I asked Adam to tell me the genesis of his podcast, and he was decent enough to share a guest piece back for TTCE, so it’s over to him…..

Hello, I’m Adam and I host the weekly UK True Crime Podcast.  The True Crime Enthusiast has produced some great content for me over the last few months so I was delighted to be asked to write a guest blog about producing a true crime podcast.  I hope you find this article of some interest.

This time last year I had never listened to a podcast.

Then in October 2016 I started a new job which involved a lot of travel.  One of my colleagues was into podcasts, showed me how they worked and straight away I loved them.  I have always enjoyed reading about true crime and so naturally checked out crime podcasts which gave me a chance to listen to lots of the great true crime podcasts from around the world.  The excellent ‘They Walk Among Us’ focussed on the UK but I wanted more.  As I searched for a weekly podcast about lesser known UK cases I guessed other people wanted the same so the obvious step was to start my own show.

When I talked in more detail with friends about how it would sound, it became clear to me that I wanted the listener experience to be like a conversation with a good friend.  Living in the UK, humour plays a big role in our daily lives and so I wanted to introduce some typical UK dry humour and sarcasm.  This is what I have tried to create with my podcast.

This podcast production lark is fine in theory, but where do you start?  Luckily, I stumbled upon some excellent US shows about podcasting which offer some fantastic free advice (if you are potentially interested in podcasting check out Daniel J.Lewis at and Dave Jackson at  With a basic understanding of what to do I bought a cheap microphone, realised there was free editing software available, slowly built and hosted a basic website on WordPress and paid £10 a month or so for audio hosting.  Then I was ready to conquer the world of podcasting, after all, just how difficult could it be?

This is where I should tell you that having released episode 31 of the podcast this week I am now a relaxed, podcasting expert with an easy manner and faultless delivery.  Of course, as those of you who listen to the show know only too well nothing could be further from the truth.  Every time I sit in front of the microphone it is like the first time as I feel nervous, worried that nobody will find the content interesting and wonder why I am putting myself through this.  Half a bottle of absinthe, a couple of deep breaths and I press record….

Although I have a prepared script in front of me, now I am a little more confident about my audience I am happy to deviate from it a lot of the time.  I add context with the music and news of the time, try to avoid sounding like a grumpy old man when I don’t know/like the music, talk about the Mighty Leeds United whenever possible and try to avoid giving my opinion, but often fail.  Instead, I try to ask questions and add a bit humour wherever possible, despite the seriousness of the content.  Based on some of the feedback there are plenty of people out there who would describe it as anything but humorous, well, not intentionally.  But the beauty of being an independent podcaster is that I am not a paid professional so I can just be me and over time more of my personality has come through in the show.  This is one of the reasons why poor reviews make me roll my eyes rather than feel peeved.  Constructive advice is, of course, always welcome.  But when I get the nasty, personal ones – and we all get them except for the really top shows such as ‘Casefile’ and ‘True Crime Garage’ which are beyond criticism, period – I can’t help wondering why people can’t just choose not to listen again and move on.  Life is too short to be unpleasant, right?  But then again, as listeners to true crime podcasts, we know there are some very strange people out there….

I almost always record cases new to me as I enjoy the discovery.   My favourite cases are when they have been recommended to me by listeners, or researched expertly by The True Crime Enthusiast (check out the two great podcast episodes he has written so far:  The Bogus Gasman and The Wedding Murders).  The starting point for research is usually google where I tend to begin by picking a random year and searching words such as “trial”, “court case” or similar.  I scroll through the results and if I see something of interest I will stick with it but usually I stumble upon another case which interests me more and I will go with that case instead.  I try to avoid being just a murder show and include a wide variety of crimes because, as one listener said to me just this morning, financial crime can ruin lives too.

Researching lesser known crimes can be tough as there is less information and I have had to give up a few times as I just can’t provide the background needed to offer any real insight.  However, this is rare and depending on the case there is almost always a whole selection of weird and wonderful sources of information from official court documents, newspaper reports, personal websites, sections of books, social media and a huge variety of blogs – some more speculative/gossipy with others being more factual.  Researching is certainly the most fun part for me and I can lose myself for hours in the information.  If I had unlimited time I would love to carry out more original research, but for an independent podcaster fitting this in around real life just isn’t practical at this time. 

Two final points:  Firstly, I love speaking with my listeners and always quickly reply to anyone who contacts me. After all, without such awesome, engaged listeners what is the point?   Secondly, and most importantly, the nature of true crime means it is a sensitive subject and this can never be forgotten.  At all times I try my best to show compassion for the victims, their friends and family and often the person committing the crimes and those close to them.

I would love to hear from you with any comments of my podcast or blog, which can be found at  You can contact me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by email at:

Thanks very much Adam for that, and TTCE wishes you all continuing success.


The True Crime Enthusiast

Book Review – “Injured Parties: Solving The Murder Of Dr Helen Davidson”


Recently I was in touch with crime author Monica Weller after reading an article about her in the national press about the project she had undertaken, writing a book about a 50 year old still unsolved murder. The case itself is not widely known in the annals of unsolved British crimes, it is not a cause celebre such as the Wallace case of the 1930’s, or the Hammersmith Nudes murders of the 1960’s. It is a brutal murder of a middle aged and widely respected general practitioner, Dr Helen Davidson, in woodland near her Buckinghamshire home in late 1966. The article caught my eye as Dr Davidson was battered to death and mutilated whilst out walking her dog, and it is a case that I was aware of and had given consideration to (and ultimately discounted) as being possibly connected with the series of Dog walker killings covered in the articles featured on TTCE a few months back. Nevertheless, it caught my interest and as any book about a relatively unknown UK murder will do this, I contacted Monica via Twitter and asked if I could have a copy for reading and review purposes. I found her very approachable and she readily agreed to this, with a copy being sent to me extremely promptly.

“Injured Parties: Solving The Murder Of Dr Helen Davidson” tells the story of the brutal murder of General Practitioner Dr Helen Davidson, on 09 November 1966 whilst she was out walking her dog in Hodgemoor Woods, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire. It was a very brutal and seemingly motiveless crime, and one that as mentioned above remains unsolved to date. As it is an obscure historical case, and not readily a crime that comes to the front of an enthusiasts mind, I found it refreshing to pick up a book the subject of which piques your interest, yet tells a story the reader will ultimately be unfamiliar with. It is never the intention of TTCE to give away the entire plot points and structure of a book within the review; nor is it the intention to give anything but a fair and unbiased review. The former will not occur here, whilst the latter will.

Monica has, at what must be great personal monetary and time consuming expense, thoroughly researched all angles of what is an obscure case, and it shows in the wealth of detail featured in the book. I have to admit that I was very impressed with the amount of research that has gone into writing “Injured Parties”, and to me, I can think of only a handful of books that are equalled in the amount of detail concerning the subject (true crime books written by Gordon Burn spring to mind). This extends to two things that always impress me with a true crime book (and ensure them a permanent place in my extensive library); a varied range of photographs concerning aspects, places, and people mentioned in the book; and an excellent and assorted Appendix containing reproductions of press cuttings concerning aspects mentioned within, letters to and from the author to persons mentioned within the text, and what impressed me most, a reproduced pathologists report in full. I cannot fault any of this at all, it is an excellent addition.

If I had to pick anything negative concerning the book, it is that in the opinion of TTCE that this is a book that may reach its widest audience with a reader who lives in the locality of the places mentioned within. I know for myself reading about a subject set in a place that I can visualise and know personally will always hold great appeal, and I can imagine this occurring with “Injured Parties”, because of the obscurity of the subject. It is hard to imagine a crime reader who lives in Los Angeles, for example, savouring detail upon detail of a historical murder in rural Buckinghamshire. I can also imagine some readers finding parts of the book repetitive and long winded (for example the chapter concerning Helen Davidson’s early life), but equally can imagine those who savour detail -such as myself – commending this. Yet this is only TTCE’s opinion, and one that I would hope to see proved wrong by “Hidden Parties” becoming as much as a success as the hard work that has clearly been put into writing it deserves.

It is for the reader themselves to make up their own mind as to the validity of the theories presented within “Injured Parties: Solving The Murder Of Dr Helen Davidson” – I enjoyed it and respect and commend the research, although perhaps the natural investigative nature within me would still need more convincing to agree with what the title denotes. Nevertheless, as with everything opinions differ from reader to reader, and TTCE recommends the best way is to reserve judgement before reading this well- researched book. It will stay on my shelf for sure.

For further info:

WordPress – Monica Weller

Facebook – Injured Parties


The True Crime Enthusiast

Podcast Review -UK True Crime

So for my second podcast review, the focus this time is UK True Crime. This was actually the first podcast I started listening to (I came late to the world of podcasts) but it’s fair to say I was pretty much impressed from the off. When I ventured into listening to podcasts, I started pretty much the only way you can: Choose what you enjoy, and search for that! Now, as readers to my blog will know, I am a true crime buff – and I focus solely on cases from the UK. So it stands to reason that you can guess what I would search for – and I found UK True Crime.

Quite a fledgling podcast (its been running since November 2016), UK True Crime is hosted every Tuesday by a very cheery sounding bloke called Adam. Each episode is of varying length and focuses on a single case a week, with cases covering not just grisly murder of the week, but also other topics such as fraud schemes and police corruption. This helps it stand out from a murder of the week podcast. Not that I have anything against those of course, but diversity is always good. Each episode is presented in a very personable, down to earth manner, and cases are very well researched and factually correct.

Where I’ve been impressed is in the choice of cases Adam chooses for each episode. I know myself that my interest lies predominantly in the more obscure, forgotten and unknown cases, and I class myself as very well read on British crime. So it was very refreshing to look back through the list of episodes and there be only one or two names I was familiar with (and again, these are not your Wests, your Sutcliffe’s etc). I listened, I enjoyed, and i have to commend Adam for his choices of cases to cover. Not only are they interesting, but the more obscure take that much more research (I know, believe me) and this to me shows a real dedication and enthusiasm for the subject. It also helps in his pleasant delivery, and I like the personal touch – I’d prefer to listen to someone a bit colourful and with opinion than a machine spewing facts and stats.

Not content with just a pretty awesome podcast, UK True Crime has an informative blog available too. The posts in this, although few, raise good talking points and invite discussion, such as “Can True Crime Ever Be Glamorous?”. There is also an interesting feature on the failings of the UK system concerning young offenders here too (the first part in a series i believe). Well worth a read, and definitely worth a sign up to the newsletter.

I’ve got nothing bad whatsoever to say about UK True Crime – as readers will know i am honest and unbiased in any reviews i give, and i am unabashed if i may be mistaken for being sycophantic here. I’m not – it just really is this good. In fact, i was so impressed with what i have listened to and read that i made contact with Adam. I find him very approachable and happy to work with others interested in the field, of which i have been more than happy to do so. Watch this space…..

The UK True Crime podcast is available on the usual platforms (itunes etc), but links to the Blog, the newsletter and all podcast episodes can be found by following the link below.

UK True Crime

It takes time, effort and dedication to make this work, and Adam clearly puts in an abundance here. The hard work here deserves to be successful. I sincerely hope that it is. Check it out – I’m sure you will agree.


The True Crime Enthusiast


Book Review -Dennis Nilsen: Conversations with Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killer


The crimes of Dennis Nilsen have always been a fascination to me, and many pages and several books have been written about them in the 33 years since Nilsen’s conviction and subsequent life imprisonment for the murders of 13 young men in London, from 1978 to 1983. Indeed, information about the details of Nilsen’s crimes is so widely available, almost public knowledge, that it would serve no purpose to recount them here. I am quite versed in the Nilsen case, having read many articles concerning it over the years. I also own what I considered for several years to be the two definitive books authored about the case, namely “Killing For Company” by Brian Masters, and “House Of Horrors” by John Lisners. Both are excellent reads – if somewhat sensationalised – and are highly recommended.

But, as any readers of my previous reviews will know, I am always impressed by a book upon a certain case if either I learn new details from it; or it is written from a different viewpoint, regardless if I have read one book upon the subject, or ten. I approached Dennis Nilsen: Conversations With Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killer with interest because this book is written with arguably more insight and from a more knowledgeable source than any other: Nilsen himself. What is often touched upon, but perhaps not in too great detail, is how prolific a writer Nilsen himself is. Over the course of his incarceration, Nilsen has completed countless volumes of self- reflective writing and has corresponded with numerous pen pals, academics, journalists and authors.

This book then, is written using the author’s first hand access to Nilsen’s own controversial (and subsequently Home Office banned) self penned autobiography, History Of A Drowning Boy. (Allegedly, the author, Russ Coffey, is one of only 4 people to have done so)The author, Russ Coffey, spent a decade corresponding with Nilsen, researching and writing this book and has developed what is arguably one of the best accounts a journalist has ever constructed with a subject.

Coffey has written a well-structured book, commencing with good accounts of Nilsen’s early life, and his careers serving both in the Army and Metropolitan Police. The author goes on to echo what has become the canonical Nilsen story, namely his bizarre (and morbid)sexual fantasies, his relationship with alcohol, his one night stands, and ultimately towards the end of the book, his crimes. This is followed by Nilsen’s arrest and trial. Nothing ground breakingly new here one might say, although these accounts have all been very well researched and written.  Impressive is the detail here contained in these accounts that stems from the author’s research – I read within the book several anecdotes about Nilsen’s life that were previously unknown to me, which I always find refreshing. Coffey has also painstakingly traced several people featured in the Nilsen story – these range from friends and acquaintances, to old colleagues, to members of the victim’s families – all of which their accounts and words add colour to the Nilsen story. Excellent plus points.

What impressed me most with Dennis Nilsen: Conversations With Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killer was how much of the book focuses (in good detail and as a flowing narrative) on a chronological account of Nilsen’s life in prison. Several chapters are devoted to this, and I found this refreshing, as the side of Nilsen’s incarceration over the past 33 years is often only skimmed over – with any writing on the subject instead focusing predominantly upon his murders. Where the accounts differ from other books about the Nilsen case is that these benefit from being written with the hindsight of Nilsen’s own years of self- reflection to provide a commentary upon them.  Again, this contains several anecdotes that have not been published in other writing about Nilsen.

Overall, it makes for chilling yet fascinating reading. The research and written accounts deserve much credit, the reproduction of Nilsen’s own words is fascinating and insightful, and the photographs contained inside are varied, with some that will not be familiar to students of the Nilsen case. With the benefit of having access to Nilsen’s own writing (and “autobiography”), Coffey skilfully invites the reader to attempt to understand Nilsen’s psyche. I found it a fascinating book, and one that I could highly recommend both to those familiar with the Nilsen case, and novice students of it. In my opinion, it has become THE recommended book about the crimes of Dennis Nilsen.



The True Crime Enthusiast

Book Review – Night Stalker


Not to be confused with the infamous Los Angeles serial killer Richard Ramirez (who was known by the same moniker), John Mcshane’s book Night Stalker details the hunt for hunt for one of Britain’s most prolific sex attackers, “Minstead Man”, or “The Night Stalker”. In a period spanning 17 years, Minstead Man, in the course of being an extremely active burglar, also raped, molested and indecently assaulted a large number of elderly women, and on two occasions men, over a reign of terror that spanned 17 years. The police hunt for the offender to put an end to his terrifying crime spree came to be the largest and longest running hunt for a serial rapist ever undertaken by the Metropolitan Police, and was codenamed “Operation Minstead”. It was 2009 before a suspect was arrested and charged, and eventually Delroy Grant, a 52 year old father of 8, was found guilty in a court of law and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 27 years set.

Because it was such a long running case, I was familiar with it and kept up an interest over the years that the Minstead Rapist was active. It was appealed widely in the national press and on television over the years, and I think the sensationalism of the press helped fuel an interest. Gerontophilia is an extremely undocumented and very taboo paraphilia, and conjures up such images of disgust and horror that a morbid fascination is easy in this case. Isn’t the interest in and fascination gleaned from reading about the facts of cases and pondering just what makes people commit the worst kinds of crimes known to humankind why any reader of true crime does so?  Personally, it certainly is with myself, so when I found a book about Delroy Grant available, I was eager and interested to read it.

As with any of my previous reviews, I try to be unbiased, fair and constructively critical in a book review. I find it easier to review using the simplistic system of positives with the book, and then negatives with the book. It is 289 pages in length and has been written by respected journalist John Mcshane, Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror.

Positively, the book is well written and describes in attentive detail several of the assaults and rapes committed by Grant. It gives due respect to the victims, it does not reprint in too graphic detail the assaults but gives enough colour and paints enough of a picture so that the reader can visualise and attempt to empathise with the scene and the fear that each victim must have faced. It covers the hunt for, the eventual arrest of Delroy Grant, and then moves on to his trial. Large parts of the transcript of Grant’s trial are featured throughout this section, which will be of interest to the reader. (Verbatim script is always something that appeals to me).

What I found much more negative was the fact that the book tends to be very repetitive. It does a good job of explaining some of Grant’s offences, but considering it was first published in 2011 (some 2 years after Grant had been convicted and imprisoned), it does not echo a substantial period of research in the writing. There are just 7 scant pages dedicated to Grant’s childhood, upbringing, family history and early adulthood. As I have said in countless reviews, I applaud detail and research, and the areas in which this book has that in abundance can be gleaned from any press reports about the case. The descriptions of the offences are fine, but any psychological profile of the offender is sketched over in favour of long winded writing about the trial.And throughout the section detailing the trial, large parts of the descriptions of the offences from the start of the book are repeated here. Although this may appeal to some readers of true crime, personally I would have preferred a lot more of the book covering Grant’s early life and other crimes, in an attempt to identify a possible trigger that created the Gerontophile in him. I would also rather have read a detailed account of both the geographical and psychological profiles of the Minstead Rapist, and although of course reading about any defence against such clear cut evidence professing Grant’s guilt would be fascinating, I felt that too much was devoted to the trial. It could have easily been halved and still left the reader as much in the know. Also especially disappointing was the lack of accompanying photographs concerning the case – it just seems lazy and to have been omitted in favour of getting the book out by a deadline in my opinion. A manhunt, the biggest of its kind, brings with it lots of images, photofits, public appeals, crime scene photographs etc – all of which would have been fascinating to see.

Overall, Night Stalker is a book I can recommend a true crime reader to read, but I feel they will agree with my sentiment that it will never become a classic. This is a shame, it seems that a unique and prime opportunity to research and document one of the most unique and prolific criminals in British criminal history has been squandered here. For those interested, the psychological profiling of the Minstead Rapist is much better covered in the book accompanying the Channel 4 TV Series “The Real Cracker”.


The True Crime Enthusiast

Book Review – Unsolved Murders In South Yorkshire


TTCE has just finished reading the second book in his collection by author Scott C Lomax, and has decided to review it for the latest TTCE blog book review. Firstly, some bio about Scott. The blurb on the back of the book describes 34 year old Scott as being a feature writer on the subject of true crime for the past 16 years. He is already a successful published author and activist, releasing books on the subjects of high profile murder cases such as the Jill Dando murder, and the infamous White House Farm murders of 1985. Concerning the Dando murder, he was a leading campaigner for the release of wrongfully convicted Barry George. Being a lifelong Derbyshire resident, Scott has authored two previous books concerning unsolved murders around that area, both of which TTCE has read, and which will be reviewed for The True Crime Enthusiast at a future date.

So, Unsolved Murders In South Yorkshire is a pretty self- explanatory title. Having previously read Scott’s books on unsolved murders, I had good expectations from this one. It did not disappoint. Scott has taken 10 cases of unsolved murder from around the county, the majority of which are unfamiliar cases, ranging from the mid nineteenth century to the latter years of the twentieth century. Although a relatively short book in pagination (146pp), the amount of detail more than makes up for this, and TTCE is sure that any reader would be left satisfied. Scott has discovered, analysed and chronicled some truly fascinating cases, and the amount of research that has gone into each individual case is remarkable. In the majority of these, the research must have been very time consuming and painstaking – but this just serves to highlight Scott’s passion for what he writes about.

The reader of Unsolved Murders In South Yorkshire will learn of obscure unsolved cases such as the Victorian shooting of George Firth in 1851, and the mysterious death of draper Florence Hargreaves in 1926. There are also presented two unsolved murders from the 1960’s; those of Lily Stephenson in 1962 and Anne Dunwell in 1964, and several cases from the mid 1970’s to early 1980’s. Each case is presented in a chronicological and logical order, with the amount of detail described in each case extremely impresive. In TTCE’s view, this was a massive selling point for me on this book. It is always enjoyable learning about a new case, especially unsolved ones where the possibility still exists of an offender being brought to justice many years after the event. It helps if a text is well written, informative and captivating, and personally it is the added detail that makes for this. There isn’t a chapter here that hasn’t been meticulously researched and doesn’t satisfy any of the above criteria. The way each chapter is written leaves the reader of the impression that Scott has gathered this research, down to the finest detail, and then added it into the narrative in its entirety. This impressed TTCE greatly, as i firmly believe you can never have too much detail. Indeed, it is what i strive to express in my own articles.

Another feature i was left impressed with are the photographs provided with each chapter. Where possible, press releases, original location photographs and identikit pictures relating to the case in question have been reproduced. If any have been unable to be added, perhaps unable to be obtained, then the author has added his own photographs of crime scenes. Whilst present day pictures may differ from years gone by, this again is interesting because it at least still gives the reader an image to match the mental picture that the reader gains of locations mentioned throughout the book. This again shows the dedication and passion Scott has to his writing.

TTCE thoroughly recommends Unsolved Murders In South Yorkshire, and recommends a visit to Scott’s own website here: Scott Lomax  He is very personable and will quite happily answer any correspondence, as TTCE can testify to. As always, the reader has to make up their own mind – however, I’m sure the reader will not be disappointed.


The True Crime Enthusiast

Blood In The Glens: True Crime From The Scottish Highlands – Book Review


Blood In The Glens: True Crime From The Scottish Highlands is an anthology of true crime cases taken from the Highlands of Scotland, in the United Kingdom. The author is a retired lawyer named Jean Mclennan who, apart from having an extensive background in civil law and a vested interest in criminal law, has also served as a Sheriff in the Highlands. This combined knowledge and experience is utilised and brought together to create this fascinating book.

Featured here are 11 cases of true crime and murder from the Scottish Highlands, the majority of which will not be common knowledge cases to any reader of true crime. TTCE as has mentioned before enjoys a well written and researched account of any case, especially if it is a case to peak the attention, and is a case that is not widely published. This book does just that.

Out of the 11 cases featured in the book, the majority will not be familiar to the reader – in fact (and TTCE modestly considers himself as very well read on the subject of British true crime) there was only one case that was very familiar, albeit one that TTCE would say was well documented. This case in question concerns the murders committed in the 1970’s for gain by the “Killer Butler” Archibald Hall/Roy Fontaine. The chapter in this book dedicated to this case would serve as a worthy introduction to those unfamiliar with the crimes of Fontaine, and this is not written lightly as Fontaine’s case is a fascinating study and well worthy of a reader’s attention.

The only other case that TTCE had heard of in this book concerns the disappearance/suspected murders of Renee Macrae and her son Andrew in 1976, and again TTCE was only aware of the bare facts. It is TTCE’s opinion that the account contained in this book is the definitive account of this case. The remaining nine cases TTCE would not say are ones that spring to the forefront of the enthusiast’s mind, so it was always appealing to read and learn about new cases.

Readers will learn of the crimes of Iain Simpson, and how his case (whilst deserving of a chapter solely devoted to itself) ties in with the escape from custody of killers Robert Mone and Thomas Mccullough, and the bloody rampage that followed. Amongst the cases also featured are the murders committed by the “Casanova Killer” Brian Newcombe; the murder of 5 year old Danielle Reid; and the unsolved murders of Alistair Wilson, Kevin Mcleod and Willie Macrae.

TTCE overall found Blood In The Glens: True Crime From The Scottish Highlands a very enjoyable book to read. The accounts of each case are clearly and painstakingly well researched and written in a logical and chronological method. There are also 8 pages of colour photos, not just pictures of victims and killers, but a mix of these, crime scene photos, appeal photos and press and appeal releases. TTCE was also refreshed and interested to read the introduction to this book, which details aspects of Scottish law and the aspects in which it can differ greatly from English law. For a book to hold one’s attention it has to flow well and hold interest, and this does so effortlessly. Perhaps the best testament to the faith shown in this book is by the foreword being written by celebrated and successful Scottish crime writer Val Mcdermid. If TTCE has only but one gripe, it is that this to date remains the only book written by Jean Mclennan. Hopefully, this will be the first of many.

The True Crime Enthusiast



Book Review – Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders


There have been several books written about the crimes of Peter Sutcliffe, and the Yorkshire Ripper murders over the years. Each is well written and a worthy addition to any true crime enthusiast’s bookshelf, and in the opinion of TTCE the canonical three are Michael Bilton’s “Wicked Beyond Belief”; Gordon Burn’s “Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son”; and David Yallop’s “Deliver Us From Evil”. A student of the case will enjoy and learn a great deal from each, as each seems to have a different focus. “Wicked Beyond Belief” offers the reader a factual in depth account of the case and is probably the best overall account of the case published to date. Gordon Burn offers the breathtakingly detailed account of Sutcliffe’s early life and makes for fascinating reading, while David Yallop paints a vivid picture of the areas at the times in which Sutcliffe rampaged for so many years. Any of these is a worthwhile and recommended read, but the focus of this review is a book that concentrates on another, often unmentioned aspect: Did Sutcliffe commit other murders?

Chris Clark is a retired former police Intelligence officer, and together with Tim Tate, himself a former award winning investigative journalist, have in tandem researched and written a quite remarkable book, Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders. Anyone familiar with the Yorkshire Ripper case will know the of the murders and attacks Sutcliffe committed; of the story of the flawed and exhausting manhunt for the “Ripper”, and the various failings that led to Sutcliffe evading capture for so many years – the overwhelming amount of information that detectives received, the lack of coordination and communication between the different police forces involved in the hunt, the absence of a workable and logical filing system ; and the Ripper Squad’s inability to process through it. This is covered here, along with an account of Sutcliffe’s canonical 13 murders.  The book also examines the findings of the Byford Report, the internal review of the entire investigation and its failings post Sutcliffe’s arrest, trial and conviction.

Where this book becomes unique and most interesting is that it suggests strongly that Sutcliffe is responsible for many other murders throughout the UK – the book goes so far as to list as many as twenty two. It suggests that Sutcliffe began his killing career a full nine years before his first known murder – the murder of Wilma Mccann in 1975 – and goes on to convincingly suggest that Sutcliffe’s crimes stretch the length and breadth of the UK. Many of the cases featured within this book are celebrated unsolved murders from the annals of British crime – enthusiasts will recognise unsolved cases such as the 1970’s murders of Barbara Mayo and Jackie Ansell-Lamb, and the murders of Eve Stratford and Lynne Wheedon.  Also recognisable to enthusiasts are two of the highest profile cases concerning miscarriages of justice of the late 20th century. The 1972 murder of Judith Roberts, which resulted in the wrongful imprisonment for 24 years of mentally subnormal Andrew Evans; and the 1973 “Bakewell Tart” case, in which Stephen Downing was convicted and spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The other crimes covered in this book will not be as familiar; they are not very well publicised and TTCE found this appealing: it is always rewarding to learn about new cold cases, those not familiar to the public often make for the most interesting research. It has long been suspected that Sutcliffe at least attacked many more women than he was convicted of attacking – indeed; Sutcliffe himself has begrudgingly admitted a number. This book accounts a list of several attacks on women that Sutcliffe is the most likely perpetrator of – and interestingly suggests that Sutcliffe also attacked men, in one case fatally. Perhaps most disturbing to read is the argument presented that the various police force areas of the cases examined here are well aware of Sutcliffe’s guilt, and are participants in a cover up orchestrated by West Yorkshire Police.

TTCE has had a lifelong fascination with the Yorkshire Ripper case, and owns every book written on the subject. So this was a book I was always going to buy anyway, and it did not disappoint. It was refreshing to read a book that instead of recycling the already celebrated accounts of the case in depth, instead presented convincing, well-structured and researched arguments to suggest other murders and assaults that Sutcliffe is suspected of, and his culpability in these. Also appealing are the 12 pages of reproduced photographs which document the victims, and crime scenes mentioned. I am sure I am not alone when I say that, in my opinion, the more photographs included always betters any true crime text. The photographs contained here are of great interest, and are not all readily available by online search.

My one criticism with the book, and it has to be said that it is a slight, is that in places I found the authors to be over critical about the failings of various police forces to communicate with each other. The Ripper investigation’s failings are already well documented, and it is easy in the age nowadays of technological advancement, databases and instant communication to say that the police could have or should have done this and looked at that etc, hindsight is a wonderful thing. It should be remembered that although it is universally accepted as being a seriously flawed investigation, it was the biggest investigation of its kind at the time and evidentially produced more of a paper trail than was realistically possible to process. But what else could police do at the time?

However, this is a small slight and as with TTCE’s other reviews, more of a personal opinion. Overall, any reader will not be disappointed with Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders. It is well written, fascinating, and would be a fitting tribute to the book if it does stir up any genuine interest in examining the possibility of bringing further criminal charges against Sutcliffe concerning the crimes detailed within. There are countless victims and their families who are still awaiting and deserve the justice. Have a read, and see what you think.


The True Crime Enthusiast.




I was sent a copy of this book to review after being in contact with Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Lieutenant (retired) Steve Spingola. Steve is a follower of my blog and put me onto this book, and in contact with the author, Michael Grogan. I was asked if I would like to write a review of the book and, upon agreeing, was very kindly – and promptly – sent one. As anybody who has read my other book reviews on The True Crime Enthusiast will know, I try to be unbiased, honest, fair and constructively critical.

You Gotta Be Dirty: The Outlaws Motorcycle Club In & Around Wisconsin, by Michael Grogan, focuses upon the Outlaws Motorcycle Club that embedded themselves in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from the mid 1960’s. While motorcycle gangs themselves are not a ready choice of topic I would study, I am however a firm believer that you should open new doors and break new ground constantly. Therefore, I approached the book with an open mind and a determination to write an honest review.

It begins by detailing in the first couple of chapters a chronological and explanatory account of the history and genesis of the motorcycle gang in general, before focusing upon the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (OMC) that appeared in Milwaukee from the mid 1960’s. It goes on to account how the OMC were formed, the various club rules that exist within the world of the motorcycle gang, and how the gang then moved into various antisocial and criminal activities, including gun running, auto theft and various other elements of organised crime. And ultimately, into murder.

Described in sometimes graphic detail in this book are various crimes and murders committed by the OMC in order to intimidate law enforcement officials, people marked as “enemies” and potential witnesses that could possibly help bring successful prosecution to their members. Detailed within the book are accounts the crimes committed by the OMC, including various murders of innocent civilians, murders of OMC member’s wives, various assaults, accounts of disturbances and fights, attacks on the homes of rival gang leaders, sexual assaults and firebombings. Perhaps the most disturbing reading within this book concerns the death in an explosion of 15 year old paperboy Larry Anstett, who was killed when he intercepted a bomb wrapped as a Christmas gift. The bomb had been aimed at the president of a rival gang known as the “Heaven’s Devils”.  The account of Anstett’s death makes harrowing reading, but as with all of the other examples that have been listed here, has been researched meticulously and will undoubtedly capture the reader’s attention.

The book also describes the awareness in which the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and other law enforcement agencies began to take of the OMC and the various aforementioned activities, and the efforts to bring various OMC members to justice. A full chronological timeline of all investigations, charges and sentencings are laid here before the reader, and will not disappoint.

I have only written a summary of what the book contains; it would defeat the purpose if any review was to give away the entire content. After reading the book, I was left very, very impressed. As mentioned at the start, the world of the motorcycle gang is not a subject I would readily choose as my genre of reading. But I always enjoy anything that has been well written and that effort has gone into. So once I started this book, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to read it and it kept my attention throughout a busy week at home. Thanks to this book I now have another avenue of true crime I would happily explore. This is a book that deserves to be read, and ultimately I have no doubt will become the canon for a study of its subject matter. Michael Grogan has taken 2 years painstakingly (my god, the detail!) researching the motorcycle gang history and culture (primarily as a graduate student for his thesis) and has expanded further research which has resulted in this book. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I appreciate detail greatly and this pays off here. It flows as an entertaining and fascinating read, is extraordinarily rich in detail, and is excellently referenced. If I had any criticisms at all, there is only one and it is that the book lacks any photographs. It seems a shame that such a well-researched book does not have any visual evidence to correlate with – for example I’m sure I am not alone by thinking it is always nice to put a face to a name! That aside, the book deserves to do well in publication due to the hard work and effort that has clearly gone into creating it. I sincerely hope it does, and I hope this to be the first of many books from Michael.

I would have to pass credit to Steve Spingola for being the conduit in which I had the opportunity to read such a fascinating book, without him it would have very unlikely came to my attention. Steve can be reached via Twitter @MilwSpinny or The Spingola Group – he is a fascinating man and is very approachable. The books author, Michael Grogan, is also very approachable and has been easy and gratifying to correspond with. He is prompt to respond to any correspondence and can be reached for any questions an interested party may have, via Twitter @PredicateActs.  I would like to pass my thanks to both for granting me such a unique and rewarding opportunity.


The True Crime Enthusiast