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Into the Darklands and Beyond by Nigel Latta
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Into the Darklands and Beyond (2007)

by Nigel Latta

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NZ clinical psychologist and, more recently, media personality Nigel Latta works within the justice system with some of our worst criminals - sex offenders and killers. In Darklands, Latta gives us an insight into his professional life and those he works with day in, day out. It's a difficult subject matter, but Latta's off beat perspective and humour shine through and makes this a highly readable and compelling book.

Latta's methods are unconventional, he has little patience with many established psychological practices. He always works with the end goal to stop reoffending, and as such finds ways to build relationships with his clients.

Latta is passionate about what he does, and he certainly makes readers stop and consider whether the harsher penalties many of us instinctively call for would really be effective - although he freely admits that some criminals should be locked up and the key thrown away. But generally, this is an overly simplistic solution. In his characteristic way Latta is forthright, unapologetically un-PC and, in the words of another reviewer, unflinching.

This is a hard book to review, and I was left feeling conflicted. The offenders have done unconscionable things yet Latta is able to humanise them. I certainly did not want to pity any of Latta's clients, the past is no excuse for your actions, but it's a fact many of them have backgrounds that were deeply troubled. If you could separate out their crime(s), they themselves had childhoods that no child should have to experience.

I really enjoyed Latta's writing style, there's so much personality on the page, and I think that despite the subject, this is what made this such fascinating read. ( )
  SouthernKiwi | Oct 8, 2013 |
This is a call a spade what it really is, a shit shovel, type of book. Nigel Latta, a forensic psychologist, specialising in the treatment of the most disgusting criminals imaginable - fathers who rape their daughters, teenagers who kill other children, rapists, murderers and pederats, he despises the technical and evasive language of other professionals in his field. His only aim is to try and stop these criminals from reoffending and to that end he seeks to form a relationship with them that is between people, not a psychologist in an authorative position treating a patient. He seeks to get the perpetrator to confront the appalling consequences for the victims of his crimes by exposing the reasons they commit them at all and to replace the criminal activity with one, or a lifestyle, that would more acceptedly and satisfyingly fill the needs of the perpetrator. This is tremendously interesting to read, the book is quite unique in this respect.

The in-your-face style might work well for a psychologist, but for a reader, it gets a bit annoying. But for a couple of chapters of this annoying lecturing, I would have given the book 5 stars.


( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Forensic psychologist Nigel Latta explains why he chooses to do this work, sets out his approach and the reasons behind it, and offers his views on why terrible crimes continue to happen, and what we can all do to make a difference. He also sets out strategies to help you avoid sex offenders targeting your family: what to watch out for, and what to do if you suspect something is wrong.… (more)

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