As mentioned in my previous review, I am one of those people who is somewhat ashamedly addicted to true crime – not just podcasts but also tv series, documentaries and books. Which is why I picked up Inside Broadmoor: Up close and personal with Britain’s most dangerous criminals.
Disappointingly, there wasn’t really anything ‘up close and personal’ about this book; it’s more of a broad overview of Broadmoor’s history, location, staff, patients and scandals. ‘For over 150 years, it has contained the UK’s most violent, dangerous and criminally insane mental patients, including paedophiles, killers and cannibals. In 2019, it is also where just under 200 highly vulnerable men call home.’
Opening with a horrific description of a 1977 attack on a patient by two peers, the book seemingly aims to demonstrate how people can be at the same time criminals and victims. Strangely though it sometimes takes quite a judge-y tone.
The writing is mostly boring and repetitive. It sits as a reminder that when writing is adequately entertaining it’s kind of invisible, but when it’s not it really stands out. I felt like I was reading an extra long assignment by a high school student.
There were a couple of fairly interesting moments, like the baffling and disturbing infiltration of Broadmoor’s operations by a creepy tv star, and the lengths staff need to go to for security. These stories reveal why the hospital needs to scrutinise who is entering the premises as carefully as it must restrict who can leave.
I really wish I could give this book a better rating; I had hoped for a lot more detail of the actual day-to-day life of Broadmoor’s patients and staff and some insight into how they got there and where they are headed.