Overview (book blurb)
The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality. The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality. The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children. The book contains content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.
This book is a harrowing tale of organized child abuse. The author set the story in the beginning 1990s, but except for the fact that parents are better informed nowadays, and have all the information they need at their fingertips (so they could have checked out how psychiatric sessions should be held, for instance), I’m afraid not a lot has changed.
Just look at how the Catholic church and some sects hush up child abuse in their ranks, or look up Marc Detroux, who sexually abused and killed several children in Belgium in the 1980s and ~90s. It’s a scandal never to be forgotten. Read the report and watch the video of a surviving victim of a pedophile ring.
I live in Germany, and child abuse, raping of women, and domestic violence are crimes that are still being punished lightly, if at all, and the clear signal to the perpetrators is, that they get away with it. And that seems to be a global attitude.
I read only today that a British judge ruled that a cricketer who had admittedly beaten his wife with a cricket bat and made her drink bleach does not need to go to prison.
So, nearly 30 years on, and nothing has changed. In light of all these true cases, John Nicholl’s fictional story really hits home. The trouble is, that it is absolutely believable.
It drew me in right from the start, and I couldn’t put it down, so I spent a sleepless night, rooting for Anthony,while being really afraid for him at the same time. This story is a nail-biter, and I’m very glad that I’m not in the habit of actually biting my nails, or none would be left.
Narrator Jake Urry was a perfect fit for the story. His gritty voice when speaking the character of Dr Galbraith made me shiver, and he managed perfectly, to make it clear, what was spoken, and which were the (unuttered) thoughts.
All the characters and accents were well done.
If you are of a sensitive nature, you might reconsider before buying this (audio) book, because somewhere in the world something similar to the goings-ons in the story is taking place at this exact moment, and honestly, it doesn’t bear thinking of — then again, it is crucial to raise awareness.
I got a free copy of this audio book via the audio bookworm.