Semi-autobiographical discourse and miscellaneous ramblings by convicted serial killer Ian Brady. One of the notorious Moors Murderer pair who, along with his accomplice Myra Hindley (now deceased), sadistically tortured and murdered five young children and buried their bodies on Saddleworth Moor.
Tried and sentenced to life imprisonment under a mental section, Brady has ever since been on hunger strike and will without doubt die in prison. All petitions to let him die have been refuted by all subsequent Home Secretaries.
In the book Brady discusses his thoughts on potential motivations for serial killing and some of the ritualistic and sadistic factors involved with it. The book however is not an apologia and neither is it a true account of the killings. It for example fails to describe where some of the victims are buried, despite promises it would. Naturally its writing angered greatly those most affected by the crimes.
Attempts at publishing the book caused great controversy in British law for a second time (the first being after Brady's trial, finishing shortly after the abolishment of the death penalty - severely testing the resolve to uphold the new law). Censorship attempts where made by the British government, which is in itself a rarity. These would seem to have failed since the book is published in limited form on Amazon with additional content by Peter Sotos and Alan Keightley.
The title is ambiguous, but probably refers to the Roman God of Janus, whose two heads looked simultaneously to the past and present and whose deitic responsibility was maintenance of the Passage of Janus, which opened and closed according to times of war and peace.
Publishing of the book raises important questions as to how far free speech should be defended. British law does ban publishing of material deemed highly likely to cause extreme offense, yet these laws have rarely (never?) been used to prevent publication of a book.
Contents and tone
Having only read excerpts, I cannot pass complete judgement on the book. The tone however is remorseless and detached and proposes the horrifying idea that emotionless killing for pleasure is capable by most people. This I find too chilling to truly consider. Brady apparently briefly discusses potential treatment of serial killers, but I cannot confirm this. I would expect Brady uses this part of the book to reinforce his petition to die. This request will almost certainly never be granted since Britain maintains vehement opposition to the Death Penalty, and prison suicides through hunger strike are rarely sucessful (exceptions being the IRA suicides).
Whilst in my opinion freedom of speech is sacrosanct, I cannot help but feel biased agianst this view in these circumstances, given the potential wounds this book could, and almost certainly will, open.
I feel the jury is still out on whether I will read this book in its entirety, or merely pass it off as the insane ramblings of a condemned individual.