Friday 11 December 2020

Making A Psychopath by Dr Mark Freestone @DrFreestone @EburyPublishing @Anneliese_S28 #MakingAPsychopath #7DangerousMinds


Find out what truly makes a psychopath, from the leading expert who helped to create Killing Eve's Villanelle. Dr Mark Freestone has worked on some of the most disturbing psychopath cases of recent times - this is his extraordinary journey with the people society would rather forget.

Danny 'the Borderline' killed his defenceless friend without explanation. Tony 'the Conman' once tried to dupe someone into buying the Eiffel Tower. Jason 'the Liar' had a fantasy life that led to vicious murders around Europe.

With its page-turning true crime storytelling and searing first-hand experience that will leave you reeling, this book opens up a window onto the unseen world of those who operate in a void of human emotion ... and asks how we will stop them.

Making A Psychopath by Dr Mark Freestone was published on 15 October 2020 by Ebury Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I'm a huge fan of crime fiction, I also worked in one of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospitals that the author worked in, for almost ten years (although this was before he was there, I've never met him). This combination of interests / experiences will always draw me to non-fiction that looks at psychopathy.

Like the author, I am often frustrated by the stereotypical characterisation of fictional psychopaths. Be that in print, or on screen. All too often, we are presented with characters with wild staring eyes, doing the most terrible things, who look strange and act strange. I even read a novel that featured a self-diagnosed psychopath!  In all of my years of working with patients diagnosed with psychopathy, I have never come across one who freely admits it, and is proud of it, and the character in that particular book had NO psychopathic traits at all. He was a serial killer, so the author told the reader he was a psychopath.  Poor research, that book was thrown across the room!

I digress, sorry.  Back to the book in hand. Making A Psychopath is written by a man who has worked alongside some of the most high-profile cases in some of the most secure settings and it's an accessible and easily understood book. 

The author concentrates on seven individual cases, some whose names have been changed. Before looking at each case, he writes a great introduction about psychopathy, it's enlightening and dispels many of the myths. 

I was especially interested in his chapters about the female psychopath and how some psychopathy is diagnosed. It's interesting to contemplate the differences in the male and the female and how some of the indicators don't always work when applied to the female. There's much to consider when reading this. 

Freestone looks at issues of upbringing and background, and also how treatments have altered over the years. It's a refreshing and interesting look at an age-old subject, written with compassion and authority.

Mark Freestone PhD is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London. 
He has worked in prisons and forensic mental health services for over 15 years as a researcher and clinician, including in the High Secure Category A prison estate, which houses some of the UK’s most notorious and high-risk criminals. 
He has also worked at Rampton and Broadmoor Special Hospitals - institutions which have housed the likes of the Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Moors Murderer Ian Brady, Levi Bellfield and Charles Bronson - as part of the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) Programme. He is a consultant to BBC America’s Killing Eve, an editor of the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology and currently an advisor to NHS England on services for men and women with a diagnosis of severe personality disorder. 
He has published several academic articles on personality disorder, psychopathy and violence risk, but this is his first book.

Twitter @DrFreestone

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