Very Bad People by Patrick Alley – Book Review

Very Bad People by Patrick Alley – Book Review

Very Bad People by Patrick Alley

Very Bad People

I received a free copy of this book.
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Arms trafficking, offshore accounts and luxury property deals. Super-yachts, private jets and super-car collections. Blood diamonds, suspect oil deals, deforestation and murder. This is the world of Global Witness, the award-winning organisation dedicated to rooting out worldwide corruption. And this is co-founder Patrick Alley’s revealing inside track on a breath-taking catalogue of modern super-crimes – and the ‘shadow network’ that enables them.

VERY BAD PEOPLE is about following the money, going undercover in the world’s most dangerous places, and bringing down the people behind the crimes. Case by case we see maverick investigators pitched against warlords, grifters and super-villains who bear every resemblance to The Night Manager’s Richard Roper. One dictator’s son spent $700 million in just four years on his luxury lifestyle.

As they unravel crooked deals of labyrinthine complexity, the team encounter well-known corporations whose operations are no less criminal than the Mafia. This network of lawyers, bankers and real estate agents help park dirty money in London, New York, or in offshore accounts, safe from prying eyes.

Patrick Alley’s book is a brilliant, authoritative and fearless investigation into the darkest workings of our world – and an inspiration to all of us who want to fight back.

Review by Stacey

Very Bad People by Patrick Alley is quite a harrowing book. It certainly opens your eyes to some of the bad things that are happening in the world right under your nose. It’s also not an easy read especially as I felt as the book progressed it became obvious that the same things were happening over and over again in different countries with slight variations.

I liked the way the book was set out and that each section told you exactly where the events were occurring and in what year. It is quite touching to know that there are people out there that are fighting for what’s right and exposing corruption even if that means they are putting themselves in danger.

The book opens with a foreword and then an introduction to how Global Witness came about. The first place the team travelled to was Cambodia to uncover how the Khmer Rouge were funding their activities by illegally downing and selling timber. When you think of illegal activities you think of diamond trades, etc – Which come later, but I personally hadn’t even thought of timber being sold illegally to fund criminal activities.

I did enjoy the book but like I said above I found it tough going, especially being set out like a fictional novel. When it comes to non-fiction and cases like these I would have preferred to have read it in a large book with maybe some photos to show the devastation that the team came across in each country to help give me some visual references.

Overall, if you are not familiar with some of the atrocities that are happening in this world, mainly in poor countries by wealthy people, then give this book a read.

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Patrick Alley


Patrick is one of the three founders of Global Witness.

Founded in 1993 Global Witness has become one of the world’s leading investigative organisations dedicated to rooting out corruption and environmental and human rights abuses around the world, with Patrick taking part in over fifty field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe. Taking the findings to lawmakers and into the boardrooms of multinational companies Patrick and his colleagues have challenged the assumption that you can’t change things. Global Witness now has major focus on tackling the climate crisis.

Patrick is the author of Very Bad People which charts some of Global Witness’ key investigations.

Alongside his two co-founders Patrick received the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Global Witness was nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for their work exposing the murderous trade in blood diamonds.

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