'I wonder what you'd think of me if you found out that I've done something really serious ...' So begin the confessions of Thomas Quick - Scandinavia's most notorious serial killer. In 1992, behind the barbed wire fence of a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, Thomas Quick confessed to the murder of an eleven-year-old boy who had been missing for twelve years. Over the next nine years, Quick confessed to more than thirty unsolved murders, revealing he had maimed, raped and eaten the remains of his victims. In the years that followed, a fearless investigative journalist called Hannes Rastam became obsessed with Quick's case. He studied the investigations in forensic detail. He scrutinised every interrogation, read and re-read the verdicts, watched the police re-enactments and tracked down the medical records and personal police logs - until finally he was faced with a horrifying uncertainty. In the spring of 2008, Rastam travelled to where Thomas Quick was serving a life sentence. He had one question for Sweden's most abominable serial killer. And the answer turned out to be far more terrifying than the man himself...
I'd be remiss not to start this review by saying that I was completely hooked after just reading the preface. The whole concept absolutely blew my mind. And, without question, it scored major "look up more information after reading" points.
I still can't wrap my head around the fact that this story is true. Forget just true, recent! In fact, Sture Bergwell (aka Thomas Quick) was only acquitted for the last of the 8 murders he was convicted of with his false confessions in July. This. Year.
I would definitely recommend this book, although it does get a little tedious and repetitive in the middle (only because there was just so much detail and so many cases and convictions to work thru). It continuously amazed me how the lawyers and detectives and therapists engineered the convictions. I still can't actually comprehend how it happened, were they so motivated by the accolades that they were blinded to the truth?
Frightening that this could actually happen.
Just last week I saw an article about how, for the first time, a prosecutor is being sent to jail for wrongfully convicting someone. Wait, remind me which is the prosecutor? Oh right, he's the guy trying to prove the defendant did it.
The world needs more people like Hannes Rastam, with such tenacity, and I was sad to read he'd died (in Jan 2012) before his book was published.
* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.
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