John Maytham's Book Reviews

John Books: Stories of serial killers, tricky DNA and a woman ahead of her time

Take a listen to John's book picks for the week...

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother's daughter...

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born.

From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge.

Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

Dr James Barry - A Woman Ahead of Her Time by by Michael du Preez, Jeremy Dronfield Dr James Barry: Inspector General of Hospitals, army surgeon, duellist, reformer, lady killer, eccentric.

He performed the first Caesarean in Africa, was deported from St Helena and gave Florence Nightingale a dressing down in the Crimea. At home, he was surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including a cat, a goat, a parrot and half a dozen small terriers. Long ago, in Cork, Ireland, he had also been a mother.

This is the amazing true story of Margaret Ann Bulkley, the young woman who broke the rules of Georgian society to become one of the most respected surgeons of the century.

Her life became one long, audacious act of deception that saw her rise to positions no woman had ever reached before, but it also left her isolated, even costing her the chance to be with the man she loved.


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Read More
John Maytham's Book Reviews: Serial killers, slavery and sieges

John Maytham's Book Reviews: Serial killers, slavery and sieges

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John Maytham's Book Reviews: Murderers, weed dealers, social justice activists

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