Sigh. I’d been interested in this book because I’d been wondering whether McDermid, with her background in journalism and crime fiction — but not science — had really, actually written a science book. The answer is, she hasn’t. This is journalism, somewhere between National Geographic and the Notable British Trials book series, with other true crime writing thrown in occasionally — and a clear agenda, in the pursuit of which objective writing is jettisoned entirely and replaced by manipulation in more than one instance.
Mind you, for what it is, it’s a compelling read. But to use one of the images McDermid seems to like so much (well, she would; she’s a fiction writer after all), anybody taking McDermid at her word alone on significant parts of the contents of this book is doing the same as trusting McDonalds when they’re suggesting that a Happy Meal contains all the nutrition you’ll ever need.
I doubt I’ll post any more status updates — I expect to be done with this soonish and will save the rest of my more detailed comments for my review.
I’m reading this as the November group read of the Flat Book Society and for the Newtonmas square (square 15) of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season.