Feral House has added a truly unique edition to its already singular canon: the expanded paperback edition of Ian Brady’s The Gates of Janus.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’s crime spree in Britain in the 1960s shocked the nation. Torturing, sexually abusing, and murdering several children in what became known as the Moors Murders, the two were incarcerated for the remainder of their lives. Myra Hindley died in prison, and Ian Brady lives on, confined to an asylum for the criminally insane, where he remains to this day. It is from prison that Brady’s correspondence with Colin Wilson began, and the Gates of Janus were opened.
Written by the pedofile serial killer, The Gates of Janus provides the reader with Brady’s own psychological profile and analysis of eleven killers and cases, along with his own pseudo-manifesto of society’s shortcomings. It isn’t until reaching the afterward, by Peter Soto, that you are reminded of Brady’s own repugnance, as he is a convincing and manipulative writer.
Many of you, sitting out there in cosy easy chairs, with a drink at your elbow and the prospect of vicarious excitement ahead as you settle down to read have probably assured yourself in advance that there is no danger of you identifying with, or even empathizing with, anyone you are about to encounter in these pages.
Indeed, you already feel intellectually and morally superior because this is a book written by a criminal about other criminals, creature so the underworld, a distant subculture, whereas you have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, have you?
That inner glow of sanity feels almost as good as a large glass of double-malt whisky, but not quite as genuine or fully matured. The plain face it, heavens above, the criminals feel exactly the same way about you. In spades.
As Brady says in the above quote from the book, I did indeed feel I had a moral high ground while reading this. After all, I am a law-abiding citizen, not a child-raping murderer. So what about these faults of society do we find so deeply fascinating? Why could I not put down this book until I had made it half-way through the epilogue, when I finally needed to take a short break from it? Until that point, I had been slightly brainwashed, or at least forgotten entirely, who was the author behind this volume. Despite all of this, The Gates of Janus is a must-read for any true-crime aficionado, or anyone with a proclivity towards the disturbed.