Book Review: Hunting Evil

Hunting Evil- Paul Harrison and David Wilson
Review of Hunting Evil: Inside the Ipswich Serial Murders
Two of my colleagues- We'll call them Sarah and Dean- are also interested in true crime. We've had a few conversations in the staff room about various cases and Dean mentioned that he'd read this book recently. He lent it to Sarah, and when she'd finished with it, she handed it on to me. 

The book details the crimes of Steve Wright, also known as The Suffolk Strangler, who murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich at the end of 2006. Profesor of criminology David Wilson and Sky News reporter Paul Harrison tell the story of the crimes in chronological order, beginning with the disappearance of Gemma Adams and ending with Wright's sentencing. Along the way, chapters explore the sociological issues that allowed the murders to take place and ask what we can do to prevent more happening in the future. 
Extract of Hunting Evil
I've previously read a book by David Wilson and, like that one, I did sometimes find elements of this book unneccessary. For example, when discussing Tom Stephens, the initial suspect in the case, the authors explained that on his Myspace page, Stephens had "admitted that he loved kids but they were 'not for me'". As anyone who was on Myspace will know, this was one of the mandatory questions on the profile with five options to choose from. The fact he chose this option is of no importance. 

I was also irritated by the way they sometimes told the lead-up to the murders almost from the victims' viewpoints. Phrases such as "As she...made her way to the railway station, she wondered if she'd make a mistake in not telling her family" are presumptious and sensational. I feel that books that deal with true crime should be based in fact and avoid speculation. Nobody knows what Wright or the young girls he targeted were thinking so it's pointless to speculate. 
Review of Hunting Evil by Paul Harrison and David Wilson
Despite this, it did give a very thorough exploration of the murders and the court case that followed. Harrison and Wilson do have a unique position in relation to the case as they were key figures in the reporting of the murders. It was an interesting read but, unfortunately, the speculation let it down. 

Buy Hunting Evil here


  1. I love crime books, both fiction and real! I do agree about the whole speculation thing. I bought a book about the Black Dahlia case and also book about one of the suspects in the Jack-the-Ripper case but most of them were just assumptions, speculations and some "evidences". You bought the book for some true crime, not "true" crime.

    1. This is exactly it! If I wanted fiction based on the crime, I'd buy a novel!


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