Inside Job. Dr Rebecca Myers

One of the things that fascinates me is the way the mid works.

This book gives a great insight into the criminal mind, but also the mind of the person that has to deal with those people.

Dr Rebecca Myers is a Forensic Psychologist who has worked with some of the highest profile offenders in the country. This is her memoir of the first few years of her career.

From day one, when she walked into Graymoor Prison as a young, new graduate, to be told she was going to be the Psychologist leading group therapy for some serious sex offenders; to the end of this part of her life where she took part in a disturbing hostage crisis.

She takes us into the sessions and we hear about some disturbing crimes, but it also shows us the thought process of the criminals, and their lack of empathy to the victims.

The sessions are designed to introduce empathy, and start the prisoner on the road to rehabilitation. Frustrating in most cases, and depending on your point of view, either a waste of time, or a valid attempt to put right a deviant mind.

The offenders are only given first names in the book, but I have a feeling I identified at least one by the description of his crimes, and I suspect a bit of research would also identify some of the others.

The book lays out the hierarchy of offenders in the institutions they are locked up in. The contempt shown to offenders by people who have carried out similar crimes, which in their opinion is worse than the crime they carried out.

Most telling is the effect it has on the prison staff. When Myers first went into Graymoor it wasn’t just the inmates who looked at her as a “piece of meat” Even in the early 2000’s she fought sexism and crudity’s from the overwhelmingly male staff.

As she starts to deal with the inmates in the group sessions it has an effect on the way she thinks and acts.

She is honest in the fact that she entered into an adulterous relationship with a colleague, before recognising his controlling behaviour as being similar to that of the inmates they are trying to counsel.

But what I find most telling, is that from the start of the book, all the way up to the last event she covers, she doubts her own ability to be doing the job. Imposter Syndrome.

She is good at her job, but like a lot of people, she considers herself to have almost stumbled from one thing to another, university, to a job in a prison, to leading group sessions, and ultimately being recalled to duty to deal with a hostage situation.

You don’t end up doing the things she’s done by not being good, it’s no coincidence that she’s called in, yet even after a “successful” outcome she still doubts herself.

I really hope there’s a part two to these memoirs. I’ve looked her up and I think she has a lot more to tell.

Trigger warning. This book is a blunt look at sex offenders and their behaviour through group sessions. There are elements of every chapter that could act as a trigger to anybody who has been subject to any form of sexual abuse.

Pages: 313. Audio Book Length: 7.58. Narrator Emma Wilkes. Publisher: Harper Collins. Available now

Boots in the Ashes. Cynthia Beebe

Boots in the Ashes. Cynthia Beebe

A few weeks ago I saw a post on twitter announcing the publication date of a book, Boots in Ashes. Given my 30 years in the Fire Service this caught my attention straight away. When I dug around a bit and found that it was a memoir of an ATF Special Agent, who specialised in Fire and Explosion investigation, the discipline I specialised in for the last 12 of those 30 years, I knew it was a book I wanted to read.

Thankfully I managed to contact the author, Cynthia Beebe, and she helped me get my hands on a copy. That in itself must have been brave, after all she was going to let a subject matter expert review her book. Well I’m glad she did because this is a fantastic read.

Cynthia plots the course of her career by looking at some of the landmark cases she worked on, and some of the experiences she had whilst serving as a Special Agent in the ATF

The cases include the bombing of two Judges homes, targeted “Hits”, and her pursuit of Hells Angel type biker gangs. The book took me longer than usual to read because every time she mentioned a case I reached for Google and got lost in a worm hole of reports and witness accounts. This added a depth to the book, and in fairness each of these stories could have been a true crime book on its own. I hope that there will be another book where we get to hear about some more of her work.

It’s not just the cases though, it’s the way she describes the scenes. That first time she attended a Fire Scene and the confusion she felt at the destruction of the building which had been ravaged by fire. The determination she had to ensure that justice was done and that the culprit was found and taken to court.

The frustrations of working with, what a times were bigoted old men, makes Cynthia’s achievements even more impressive. When I teach University students one of the most often asked questions, by the young women in the class, is can women make good firefighters. My answer is always the same. Some of the best firefighters I ever served with were women. All of the worst firefighters I ever served with were men. Hopefully the question will stop one day but until then I’m going to point those who ask it in the direction of this book.

This book will be a great read for anybody who is into true crime, but I think there will be a lot of Fire Investigators and Crime Scene Investigators in the UK that will be looking for a copy, and they are going to love it

Published in the UK on 25the February 2020 and available on Amazon