Helen's Reviews > The Jigsaw Man

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton
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's review
Jun 18, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: biography, non-fiction, science-psychology

I am interested in Forensic Psychology, and wanted to make it my career, hence I bought the book and have seen Mr Britton speak. I was later surprised when working with other Forensic Psychologists to learn that his input into the cases he cites was not as involved as he claims and his breakthroughs were not soley his own, nor were his ideas. Forensic Psychology is not something that can stand alone like in an Agatha Christie or Jessica Fletcher TV show detective. Evidence analysis is still crutial and there were many other people working on these cases. He didn't solve them!

I also find it difficult to read details of the cases in a "pop-psychology" book, which really should not be available to the public in a self serving manner as this book - case in point that of dear Jamie Bulger. The details in the book are graphic, disturbing, and an author should not be making money off them. These are not fictional characters he writes about but real high profile cases about people who deserve some dignity.

Those things aside, it was an interesting read... if you "like" that sort of thing, which as it was to be my career I did at the time. I was surprised at other Forensic Psychologists being so vehement in their disrespect of their "colleague" when speaking of Paul Britton's professionalism and self-confessed prowess. It seems his selling out and writing this book was not highly regarded nor were his high claims, which were apparently false. This book is quite egostistical on his part and this self centred style of writing is tiring.

He does not have mythic status in his field but was one of the first "Forensic Psychologists" who employed profiling and happened to work on some notable high coverage cases that were solved. It is Psychologists like him that spread that myth that Psychology is hoodoo rather than science. I have often been asked (worryingly not tongue in cheek) when people find out I have a Psychology degree "can you read minds?" and the idea that Forensic Psychologists can get inside criminal's minds and predict all of their moves and that they always follow a pattern (Criminal Minds the TV show is guilty of this too) that is "textbook" is possibly as a result of books like this. Twaddle.

If you take what you read at face value and don't know anything about Psychology this book will blow your mind. Ignore the fact it's claims are exaggerated, and it's an interesting book.

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