Casual acquaintances may baulk at the unparagraphed, unpunctuated, stream of consciousness opening and put this book back where they found it.
That would be a mistake.
I'm Jack is a brilliant, innovative novel, if indeed 'novel' is the way to describe it. Made up of letters, police transcripts, scientific and psychoanalytic reports, graphology, redacted statements and various other forms, (real or imagined, it's impossible to tell) Mark Blacklock has weaved a complex portrayal of the individual responsible for the 'Wearside Jack' forged letters and tapes who became synonymous with the search for the Yorskhire Ripper and indeed the Ripper's legacy.
It is a fascinating character study, darkly beautiful in its evocation of both Sunderland and working class life during the 70s and early 80s. The subject is, in turns, an elaborate game player, a liar, a goader, an obsessive, an innocent victim of society's ills, delusional, full of self-denial and occasional self-loathing…and yet for all that, also curiously sympathetic and it is this, I think, that makes Blacklock's creation so incredible.
I'm Jack is the sort of book you don't have the pleasure of reading very often, the sort of book that stays with you long after reading is done, the sort of book you wish you'd written yourself!