Review by A.R Muir
“Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer” is the English translation of Hannes Rastam’s Swedish true crime book “Fallen Thomas Quick [The Case of Thomas Quick]”. It chronicles the author’s own investigation of an 8-time convicted serial killer called Thomas Quick. In 1992 while spending time for armed robbery in a mental asylum, Quick announced to his doctors that he wanted to confess to the sexually motivated killing of an eleven-year-old boy. Then he admitted the killing of another teenage boy, then an Israeli tourist, and a Dutch couple vacationing in Sweden.
But his litany of horror did not stop there. Under the careful guidance of his therapists and the police, Quick continued to remember having committed more than thirty rape-murders in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Eight of these murders were successfully brought to trial and Quick was sentenced to life in psychiatric confinement. He was thought to be Sweden’s most prolific serial killer.
There was only one problem as far as the journalist Hannes Rastam was concerned: Quick’s involvement in a number of these crimes seemed highly doubtful, even impossible. Throughout his exhaustive investigation, Rastam came to believe Quick has been wrongly convicted of ALL eight crimes. Rastam formed the opinion that Quick had in fact killed NOBODY, and his sentence was the largest miscarriage of justice in Swedish history. His book is a systematic and critical analyses of what went wrong in Quick’s psychiatric care and criminal trial. It contributed in a major part to every single conviction being overturned by the Swedish judicial system in 2012.
As a true crime book, Rastam’s work is above its game. But as a moral warning to the justice system (not just in Sweden) it is a standout triumph. Readers may be reminded of the recent release of the West Memphis Three, an American case that made headlines around the world for the deep questions raised about the justice system. There are a growing number of books on cases of injustice, and false confession, but Rastam’s book shoots straight to the top, and cannot be recommended highly enough.
This is one of the best true crime books of the year, and not to be missed. If readers can get passed the difficult Scandinavian spellings, it is well worth the effort. It goes without saying that readers are likely to find themselves more and more disgusted and outraged at the exploitation of this mentally disturbed patient, and the gleeful spree of opportunism exhibited by therapists, doctors and the police, not to mention Quick’s defence lawyer.
More true crime reviews by A.R. Muir can be read here at shelfari.com
Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer By: Hannes Rastam, Henning Koch (translator) and Elizabeth Day (introduction). Published in Sweden 2012 (English 2013)