The Man in Black – Peter Moore: Wales’ Worst Serial Killer by Dylan Rhys Jones #BookReview

I have a guest reviewer on my blog today in the form of my husband! When Dylan contacted me to ask if I’d like to review his book, I knew that Neil would love it and so I offered his services. Thank you so much Dylan for sending us a gifted copy of your book. Here is Neil’s review …

The blurb …

The sensational true story of Peter Moore, mild-mannered businessman and Wales’ worst-ever serial killer. At his trial, the prosecution branded him “the man in black, with black thoughts and the blackest of deeds” and the judge called him “as dangerous a man as it is possible to find”.

25 years after her was found guilty of four murders and confessed to more than 20 brutal assaults over two decades, Moore’s defence lawyer Dylan Rhys Jones finally tells all. As his brief, they spent hours together, discussing Moore’s compulsion for violent sexual assaults, his overwhelming urge to kill, his involvement with a circle of gay men who gained sexual gratification from domination and torture, his plans for further murders, and how it feels to end someone’s life. An in-depth, first-hand account of full and frank dealings with a particularly vicious and sadistic individual who gained pleasure from killing.

Review …

I volunteered to review this book for my wife as she didn’t want to expose herself to the dark subject matter. I can only say that I am so grateful that I made that decision. I’m a similar age to Dylan and I knew something of the story of Peter Moore. I have a vague recollection of TV news footage of him being interviewed regarding his one-man mission to save the North Wales cinema industry. I knew that he had subsequently been convicted of a series of murders but I didn’t know anything of the detail.

I enjoy books based on reality and I believe what I got from this book was Dylan’s 100% realistic and faithful recollection of an almost indescribable series of events. I was captivated from the preface when Dylan explains his journey and motives for writing the book, so long after the event. I believe that the contemplation period offered by the pandemic will strike a chord with so many readers.

When looking back 25 years I did wonder what sort of lens the author would apply? Would he embellish certain aspects to amplify his role or justify his actions. With every page I turned I got a huge sense of the integrity with which Dylan wanted to relay the story. I genuinely believe that he succeeds in taking the reader behind the curtain of some of the worst murders committed in Wales without bringing any sense of his own ego to distort the re-telling. 

I really liked the pace and rhythm of the book. This is a story that deserves to be told and there are certain sections which are truly remarkable such as the night-time confession and the day when Dylan and Dewi visited the scenes of the horrific murders. 

I actually think there are many facets of the book my wife would have enjoyed. She has a real interest in the Law and trained as a Legal Executive. Dylan does a wonderful job of explaining the legal processes pertaining to the case but for me the most fascinating aspect is the sense of professionalism and diligence he applied in such difficult circumstances. I found myself asking why on earth would a defence lawyer put themselves through such an ordeal. Even though the events had a massive negative impact on Dylan I can see why he never really questioned whether to put himself through the act of representing Peter Moore. He offers a range of insights, lawyers needing to be isolated and viewing through frosted glass/ peers leaving University with a sense of wanting to do some good in the World/criminal lawyers being gatekeepers against the power of the State. I came away with the sense that if you have trained for so long to do something that it is then almost impossible not to take on such a challenge when fate presents it. This is what drives so many committed and professional people and there is a message here about the need for society to do more to support these people.

I approached the end of the book with some trepidation as I was enthralled by the prospect of Dylan meeting Peter Moore again after 25 years. I won’t cover this in any detail as I don’t want to spoil this culmination of the book for the readers.

Da iawn Dylan and thank you for sharing your journey.

About the author …

Former criminal defence lawyer Dylan Rhys Jones is now a criminology lecturer, exam moderator and Criminal Justice and Offender Management foundation degree course-designer. He is a regular contributor to TV and radio news programmes about politics and law.

Published by Y Lolfa Cyf

Thanks for reading!

Neil

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