There are approximately thirty reviews on Amazon. Many of those below were submitted on Authonomy, a site for writers run by HarperCollins, and by book club readers.
Helen Holt, journalist and author, writes about Paying for the Past
Here’s a biography heading for the top. Before you all run off screaming ‘Arghhhhh-a biography’ – please don’t. This is a crime adventure, mystery, thriller - sure to make you think you’re reading fiction. In 1975 Jim Miller and John Bellord disappeared without a trace. Wanted by the police they avoid detection for a year. This is the story of the man who knew them for many years, who helped them escape and who finally handed them to the police. It’s the story of how he became involved and why he did what he did. Fast moving and well written – you’ll forget you’re reading a true story.
Barry Winbolt, psychotherapist and author writes: A rattling good yarn with deeper connections.
A real page turner and a story of loyalty, compassion, learning, humility and self awareness that most of us can only aspire to. The effects of reading it will stay with me and continue to develop. I found it moving but it also made me reflect in ways I would not have thought possible... It is now some months since I read the book. I gave copies to friends and family at Christmas – partly because the events took place where we live and many of the settings and people were familiar to me – this prompted me to revisit the book and notes I kept when I read it last year, soon after it was published. My impressions have not faded and I still think it’s an enthralling read. It can be read on two levels, like anything else I suppose. At first it is a rattling good yarn, and can be read with no mental effort. But then, at least for me anyway, deeper questions unfolded about the character of the man who wrote it. It is not a spoiler to say that he was led astray and aided and abetted a monstrous fraud, albeit unknowingly at the time. What got me thinking and touched me was his sincerity and his ability to examine himself so critically and with such honesty. Most people can’t do that and we can all learn from it.
What Kenneth E. Lim, author of The North Korean says about Paying for the Past:
What a fascinating narrative, the focus as much on the narrator as on the subject of his narration, two fugitives named Jim and John. Your straightforward style is easy to follow, conversational language, suits the plot well, as the mysterious lives of the two gentlemen who hide out on Priest Island, unfolds. The characterisation is brilliant, supported gamely by believable dialogue. Everyone involved, including the miscreants, is veiwed in a sympathetic light. Thank you so much for the intriguing read.
Award winning Portuguese author and translator writes:
I can’t believe it’s not fiction! It reads like the most engrossing adventure story I’ve read in a long time. But the honesty of a first person account shines through. Compulsory reading.
Andy Batkin, first reader to review Paying for the Past:
So rare to find a page-turner written by the guy at the heart of it all. No implausible thriller nonsense. Just a true story of how an ordinary guy found himself way over his head with a pair of fraudsters; how it wrecked his life and family and how he ducked prison and found a way out The dingy-trip to the rock off Scotland reads like some Bond-fiction...amazing that it was for real. A real cracker.
Best selling author, Rosanna Ley wrote:
A fascinating true life crime story – dramatic and fast paced. Geoff Green captures the charisma of Jim Miller as he describes how the man and his philosophy influenced and changed his life and how the human need to trust and believe can take us into – literally – dangerous waters. Meanwhile the plot thickens, the mystery deepens and gradually more intriguing secrets are revealed.
Clive Radford, author of Doghouse Blues writes:
Intrigue, allied to suspense and mystery, invariably makes a winning combination. These attributes can be found in abundance in Paying for the Past. Well written and architected story.
Charles Knightly, author of The Secret of Netley Abbey writes:
A great story. Made more incredible by being non-fiction. You’ve written it in just the right way, starting with the courtroom, some of the past and then, in chater four, telling ud why you’ve written the story thirty-five years later.
Sean Connelly, author of British Army on the Rampage writes:
Geoff. A cool book. You tell a good tale that made it difficult for me to stop reading. I liked the pace of the book and for people with pea sized brains and can’t stay with a book for long this was heaven as I managed to read with no problem. Great pace followed up with brilliant narrative that allows this book to amble along like it’s been here for 200 years. So well done and I loved it.
Shirley Grace, author of The Devil’s Step Child (Harper True Life Group Review):
This book is well written and takes the reader in with much suspense. I liked the pace and excitement. I found it entertaining with a good flow and many things about it hooked me as I am sure it will others. I especially liked, ‘...naive or open minded. It’s not so much that I believe in anything in particular so much as I believe in a bit of everything...’. It’s a very good book and held my interest. I really liked the conversation between your MC and Eddie.
Grace Lyssett, author of SORRY (Harper True Life Group Review):
I’ve just started reading Paying for the Past and can’t stop. Your first chapter has all the hooks to get me in to the story. When I read in chapter two, how you were groomed, I identified with that. You describe your family in a no-nonsense honest way and I can understand how your need for someone who took an interest in you would make you vunerable. So far, a few chapters in, I can say that your writing is compelling, flows easily, is a sincere and sometimes raw account of your life. I will keep going until the very end.
Terry Davies, Rainbow Book Club, Steyning:
This book is an amazing combination of a fascinating biography and an exciting adventure story. The description of your first journey to the island reads like a thriller; your description of the second journey is emotional and truly moving. One wonders how scams such as Miller and Bellord’s get off the ground, suck others in and get such a grip on peoples’s lives. Your account was compelling and gave a credible insight into how a situation like this evolves and grows. I really enjoyed reading about the inevitable unravelling and the resulting court case. I hope to suggest this as my next book club read. It will be unlike any of the books we have read and will give us so many things to talk about: friendship, deception, science and religion, charisma, betrayal, loyalty...
Ruth Ward, Rainbow Book Club, Steyning:
This is a fascinating story which could be read as a slightly far fetched crime fiction, until you remind yourself that this is a true story, these characters are real and these events really happened. I cannot imagine how these unlikely two criminals cous possibly have survived the harsh environment on this uninhabited island for so long. Paying fo the Past is well worth reading to discover the incredibly complicated web of deceit woven by two modern day Robin Hoods who, I think, genuinely started out hoping to help other people.