Adshead’s warm intelligence, curiosity and nuanced understanding of her work inspire trust in what turns out to be an unmissable book ... it is precisely her gift for empathy that offsets the desolation of much of what she describes ... Sometimes, as one reads, the struggle to understand feels at odds with a reflex moral outrage ... But The Devil You Know is not a book of excuses. It persuades us that it is only through understanding why horrific crimes happen that mental health services and the judicial system can have any chance of being improved. This revelatory book encourages us to see that it is our responsibility to consider the worst of humanity—and of ourselves.
Each case is described with care and understanding, allowing the reader to get a sense of the human behind the crime ... A compassionate yet unflinching look into the psychology of people who perpetrate violent crimes, and the care afforded them in the UK, this book would be of interest to true crime fans and especially valuable to those studying psychology, medicine, or law.
... [a] heartfelt and nuanced memoir ... the author manages to humanize her subjects and make a case for devoting more resources to the treatment of all mentally ill in prisons ... For those interested in the inner workings of the criminal mind, this is must reading.
... a series of sometimes-discomfiting case studies ... dark passages abound ... Adshead’s interest is not lurid, though there are lurid episodes ... A welcome contribution to the literature of crime and rehabilitation.