Contrary to the sensationalist title, this is actually a very interesting book. “When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence“, by Jonathan Paul, is well researched and even reveals some points I had not heard before. It includes a great introduction in which he speaks to Dr Susan Baily, a prominent child forensic psychologist and president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Some of the cases included Mary Bell, the murder of Damilola Taylor, the really interesting case Lisa Healey and Sarah Davey and of course both Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.
This book also asks what makes Children suddenly turn homicidal and talks in-depth about social events and home life which may have contributed to the child’s behaviour. While the author does a good job at pointing out the flaws in demonising child killers, he does sound rather preachy at some point. He effectively points out that what the majority of the killers in these cases have in common is an abusive and unsecure start in life.
One negative thing I have to say is that I cannot shake the feeling that a lot of what is in the book has been borrowed from other authors. This could explain the different styles and levels of details between the cases. Another down side is that it seems to have been a long time since this book was last updated (2002-ish) and a lot of the information is now out of date.
Over all it is a good captivating read and at approximately 250 pages it is relatively short. Overall, I will give it 4 out of 5.