Fred And Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors
Sounes' account of the lives and crimes of the Wests is compelling, precise and dark - even if it ultimately, like all other studies of the case - fails to illuminate exactly why Fred and Rose West committed their crimes.
Written by a seasoned journalist, the book teems with detail: from the early life of Fred and the area in which he grew up to the crimes themselves and the eventual proceedings. The tortuously complicated lives of those entangled with the Wests isn't easy to parse, but Sounes deftly covers a lot of ground thanks to an obviously massive amount of research.
As such, it is not a particularly breezy read. For those looking for the worst, and most sensational, aspects of the case the long story of the West family and life in 1930s rural Herefordshire will prove frustrating. However, for those truly interested in the psychology of this almost uniquely murderous couple such details will provide fertile ground.
Sounes is unafraid to shine a light into the darkest corners of 25 Cromwell Street and the book is thus not for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, impeccably researched and presented it is essential reading for anyone interested in the machinations of murder and the character of murderers.
Of course, with so much detail the book might be hard-going for the casual reader but it repays the effort in spades.
Paul Carpenter: 2014-09-08