On a warm Florida evening, Karen Gregory saw a familiar face at her door. What the beautiful young woman could not know was that she was staring into the eyes of her killer....
In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. Scotland Yard sent its best man to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher....
Kate Summerscale brilliantly recreates the Victorian world, chronicling in exquisite detail the life of Isabella Robinson, wherein the longings of a frustrated wife collided with a society clinging to rigid ideas....
gripping account of the mysterious disappearance of a young nun in a northern Michigan town and the national controversy that followed when she turned up dead and buried....
Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history....
In the summer of 1985, in his exclusive Upper East Side Manhattan apartment, Robert Bierenbaum, a prominent surgeon and certified genius, strangled his wife Gail to death....
The author of Predator traces the story of George Russell, Jr., a bright, young, popular black man whose thirty-year psychological unraveling led to a shocking killing spree....
The son of a Civil War general, Roland Molineux enjoyed good looks, status, and fortune - hardly the qualities of a prime suspect in a series of cyanide killings....
A sweeping narrative history of a terrifying serial killer - America's first - who stalked Austin, Texas, in 1885....
Early on a May morning in 1988, Laurie Dann, a 30-year-old, profoundly unhappy product of the wealthy North Shore suburb of Chicago, loaded her father's car with a cache of handguns....
The incredible and inspiring true story of Paul Fronczak, a man who recently discovered via a DNA test that he was not who he thought he was - and set out to solve two 50-year-old mysteries at once
In April 1997, pretty, 22-year-old Jacine Gielinski stopped her car at a red light in Colorado Springs, Colorado....
On a bitterly cold afternoon in December 1986, a Michigan State trooper found the frozen body of Jerry Tobias in the bed of his pickup truck....
Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear....
It was a crime that shocked the nation: the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students....
In 1985, two friends left their suburban Detroit homes for a hunting trip in rural Michigan. When they did not return, their families and police suspected foul play....
More than 175 years of true crimes culled from the city's police blotter, told through startling, insightful text by two NYPD officers and a NYC crime reporter....
Early in the morning of Monday, 8 July 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his 12-year-old brother, Nattie, set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord's. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next 10 days, Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents' valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside.
But as the sun beat down on the Coombes' house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the penny dreadful novels that Robert loved to read.
In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality. It is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case but also a compelling account of its aftermath and of man's capacity to overcome the past.
Although this book might broadly be classified as 'true crime', it is so much more. It is the intriguing story of a life but it is also a social history. It is both tragic and inspirational, but to say more would necessarily include spoilers which would be particularly ruinous in this case because the outcome is so unexpected. The book is beautifully and sympathetically written, and I became more deeply fascinated as the story unfolded. The best is at the end, a very moving conclusion to a most unusual story. As for the narration, I was unsure of Jot Davies' style to start with, but very quickly became a fan - his timing is spot-on, he captures changing moods, and he is superb with accents and voices and foreign words - I'm keen to hear more from him.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I am astonished at the depth of information that the author was able to gather. The most interesting part, in my opinion, relates to history and lives of the people at that time and the details of the justice and mental health systems.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
The book starts with the facts of a relatively straightforward, notorious crime in which Robert Coomes, a disturbed 13 year old, murdered his mother in 1895. The same story is repeated with some extra material during the Coroner’s investigation, in the Magistrate’s and Crown Court cases, becoming somewhat tedious with reiteration.
The title of the book gives the impression that this would be an investigation into a crime, but this is far from what is presented. The story of the crime is too slight to merit a whole book, but the author has done an immense amount of research into the criminal justice system, education standards and the social, political and technological history of the era and incorporated a great deal of this into the narrative. I found most of this peripheral material interesting, but was irritated by the excessive amount of irrelevant stuff such as the addresses, martial status, number and ages of children, past employment, and attire of many people who only appear for a few sentences in the book.
There are also long passages of psychological speculation and descriptions of psychiatrists’ theories of the time without much evidence of the relevance to the case. After the judgement and Robert’s committal to Broadmoor the author, having got access to the contemporary files of the institution, incorporates details about other patients that had little to do with Robert's story. By the end of the book one is left still uncertain why Robert murdered his mother.
Robert’s life is followed into the 20th century and the last hours of the recording have long descriptions of conditions during the Boer and First World wars, and rural life in Australia, followed by a long epilogue by the author that repeats some of the details of the crime and describes her labours in getting all the extra material that fleshes out the novel.
I found the book interesting but felt that the author, having done so much research, could not resist incorporating too much of it into the narrative.
The narrator is excellent.
39 of 43 people found this review helpful
One of my all time favourite audio books. Great storytelling and great narration. Fantastic insight into the times around the turn of the century.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
historical facts cleverly woven together to make a very interesting insight into Victorian life and the remarkable life of one man
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I disagree with a previous reviewer that this was an overlong, less than thrilling book. I liked the development of what the French call "faits divers", into the story of a life of a child "of no importance", which would have been unmarked, but that he'd killed his mother, when he was only 13. Matricide is an extremely unusual crime in the UK; in my lifetime, psychiatrists regarded it as "the schizophrenic crime" par excellence: most psychotic folk don't murder anyone, BTW.
I appreciated the exploration of social conditions, police investigations, judicial proceedings of that time (1890s) forensic medicine and psychiatry/psychology, the descriptions of life in prison and particularly in Broadmoor (more enlightened than I feared, but SO class-conscious).
Robert remained in Broadmoor till he was 33, but somehow made a better fist of life outside that institution than could have been predicted, achieving an ultimate heroism.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Wicked Boy again? Why?
I've listened to it twice.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wicked Boy?
The absolute attention to detail and thorougher research on this darkest of tales, I'm not prepared to give anything away about the plot. Others have in their reviews.What I got from this book more than anything is that the author had an almost preternatural connection with the "villain" and to have followed his life from birth to death and all that happened in between.The circumstances of The Wicked Boy's crime sound true even today, over 115 years ago. Then they had Penny Dreadful's.. Today we have the internet.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Jot Davies?
The only downside is the Director. The narrator, Jot Davies sounded more like he was narrating a TV documentary.This is NOT a problem with the overall narration but with the direction...
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me think that not all people are born bad. and that even those who are guilty of the despicable act of matricide are capable of acts of true heroism
Any additional comments?
As the old saying goes. You have to go thru a whole lot of Shawshank before you get to the redemption. But as with the book, and the film, the ending is wonderful.Throw caution to the wind, buy this book. I promise. You wont be disappointed
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I just really didnt *get* this book at all.
it was interesting in respect if its historical recall however It got utterly lost in that aspect of it rather than tbe story of the boys which was dragged out relentlessly.
I found the narrator very hard to listen to at first, with every sentence sounding like it was almost ending on an exclamation mark. An odd listen to say the least. if you want an indepth knowledge about the mental institutions of the time, year on year, then it may be for you, but this dragged on for nearly 10 chapters.
It then goes on to give you a blow by blow of the Somme and not necessarily about either of the boys first introduced to you in the opening chapters. it merely touches on them from time to time.
It started with a promising storyline about the murder of a mother and ended up I am not quite sure where.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful
Umm! I am a little confused as to how I feel about the book. It's not quite what I expected, there were parts I liked and parts I felt were unrelated to the theme (or rather my expectation of the theme) of the book...and yet I also found it interesting on a social history point of view, particularly of Broadmoor). The epilogue really brought it together and helped me understand the journey the author went through to bring this story to us. Still confused with how I feel about it though 😁
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
The title of the book leads you expect maybe of an unsolved mystery from the past, or maybe fantastical recurrences in the past of horrific deeds performed by demonic children.
More akin to clickbait, the book ends up on a route of the history of a boy who once had committed the dreadful crime of matricide rather than focusing much on the crime itself.
The meticulous obsession the author has for the titular boy results in fact in a historical autobiography written in a narrative sense not too much different to that found in fictional novels.
I found myself enjoying the book more once I switched mindsets to that of enjoying a historical documentary from one of enjoying exposure media. It's what I'd recommend anyone who listens or reads this book take too.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
This book is fantastic and full of historical fact. The narrator is absolutely brilliant.
I'm disabled, can't use my arms to flick pages on the written book and so, I've listened/read many books on Audiobooks (Thank Audiobooks for letting me back into literature). Download and listen, brilliant and as beguiling as stories of that era in 1880's. Brilliant!!!!
16 of 23 people found this review helpful
An amazing story, inteligently and seamlessly pieced together from a lifetime of evidence, to reveal a breathtaking telling of a boy that lived an extraordinary life of mental and physical struggle.
I agree with other reviewers, the narrator is totally wrong for this kind of story.
The story itself is very interesting, and Kate sure does her research... but maybe a bit too much little detail... a few times I found myself wishing I had the actual book so I could flick past some of it. But over all a thorough and interesting history of the times and locations.
I'm fascinated by historical true crime and this story might not otherwise disappoint ....except the narrator doesn't match, combined as it is between a reading of a child's bedside story and commentating cricket. I couldn't sustain the story due to the strange and upbeat emphasis in reading.