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The Unusual Suspect
By Ben Machell
Published By

Canongate Books

Non-Fiction Genre Other
Publication Date 01/21/2021
Price 16.99
Hardcopy Hyperlink https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-unusual-suspect/ben-machell/9781786897961


2007. A time of recession and impending climate crisis, and one young man decides to change the world.

Meet Stephen Jackley. Aged just twenty-one, obsessed with the idea of Robin Hood, he resolved to become a bank robber. He would steal from the rich and give to the poor.

Authors Biography

Ben Machell is a feature writer for The Times and The Times Magazine and a contributor to multiple publications including VICE. He has been shortlisted for Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards. Ben has full and exclusive access to Stephen Jackley and his surviving diaries.


One of the strengths of Ben Machell’s compelling book is its patient unearthing of the various motivations for his subject’s behaviour – Guardian

In Machell, [Jackley] has found the most sympathetic and intelligent of biographers . . . . . . a tremendously invigorating book, scrupulously researched – Mail on Sunday

Not only a gripping true-crime story, but also a sensitive and melancholy portrait of someone who has long struggled to fit in to society – New Statesman

An astonishing story which resonates at a time of staggering inequality, and one which asks salient questions about wealth redistribution – Esquire

Machell treats his subject . . . with tender fascination, disapproving of Jackley’s strategy but not his world view – New Yorker

Charting Jackley’s rise from obscurity to international criminal, the fascinating book is packed with brilliant twists. A brilliant read – The Sun

Leave a comment about this book:


  1. A must read.

  2. Highly recommended.

  3. A very good book.

  4. A gripping read!

  5. A captivating read whether you have ASD in your family or not – we do.

  6. The Unusual Suspect is an astonishing story told with heart and humor. I was enthralled by the tale of how a heroic young man with good intentions blundered into a life of crime. I felt as I read that I could understand what it would be like to experience these events.

  7. Tremendous, surprising tale, told with panache

  8. Wonderful book—an engaging balance of skillfully plotted true crime novel and compassionate, clear-eyed portrait of a young man worth knowing.

  9. Brilliant storytelling– intriguing, surprising, compelling.

  10. Sensitive, well researched and a page turner, all at the same time.

  11. Brilliant!

  12. So good!

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