Praise for PRIMAL

(for criticism instead, click here )

More to come – check back in a week or so

From Professionals & Critics

Professor Todd K. Shackelford, Ph.D., Chair of Psychology, Oakland University, Michigan
(24 August 2013)

Remarkable novel informed by evolutionary science. PRIMAL is… simply sublime. This is a wonderful book … captivating… Modern evolutionary science (woven) into (a) modern-day whodunit…

Coffee Time Romance (21 July 2009)

Wow, double wow. PRIMAL is one of the best books I have read this year by far. Robin Baker sucks you into a world where you are ultimately amazed and perplexed by the story that unfolds. Told from many views at times, PRIMAL is neither confusing nor dull, but flows so smoothly as you race through to the end. Fully developed characters and an amazingly complex storyline about human nature are what are in the pages of PRIMAL. This is one book that will blow you away. You will want to read this book, I have no doubt.

News of the World (28 June 2009)

An interesting look into the way societies develop (no surprise that Dr Baker is a Zoologist by trade) …

Highlander (17 June 2009)

The author is trying to make a point about animal instincts throughout and largely succeeds … It’s a book that is designed to shock and on that level it succeeds. It also gives an interesting perspective on a psychological conundrum … … as a literary take on a psychological experiment it’s certainly clever …

British Fantasy Society (26 May 2009)

The first part of the novel (builds) up a superb portrait of the young students and their supervisors. Each character is distinctive, but not a cliché; all are excellently rounded out. … PRIMAL, then, is what the interminable TV series LOST should have been, but now never will: a fascinating examination of what human nature really is … More, by structuring the second half of the novel the way in which he has, the author is … able to explore the whole Big Brother/cult of the celebrity side of our society … The author himself even becomes – briefly – romantically involved with one of the survivors, which itself opens up a whole can of worms and makes the reader question just how much more ‘objective’ his exposé is as compared to that of the survivor group’s official PR line … Terrific stuff, and heads and shoulders above what most people come to expect from a publisher’s ‘horror line’, and as such a fitting addition to a very high quality line of literary, intelligent works of edgy fiction … Highly recommended.

From General Readers

F.R. Jameson (12 August 2012)

A sharp and intelligent read. The members of a university field-trip – both students and lecturers – find themselves stranded on a remote tropical island, and gradually their most base impulses emerge, So far its `The Lord of the Flies’ with a lot more sex … However we shouldn’t hold its debt to William Golding too much against it, as this is an intriguing and clever novel, even if – ultimately – it left me wanting more.

The first half is a vivid concoction of young attractive people, a beautiful exotic island and dramatic events. All mixed in with a narrator who may not be totally reliable. Most books would have just taken that scenario and just run with it right to the end, but `Primal’ does something quite interesting with its second half. The character of the author of the book starts to investigate the tale itself. Gradually he pulls apart what he and us have been told by the survivors so far (the survivors now being back in civilisation), to create a deeper and more disturbing version of events.

It’s a clever twist, as it looks hard at what makes a reliable witness and from there what makes a reliable narrator. It also allows the story to emerge in a different way and the secrets to have more impact. Unfortunately I found this second half – although enjoyable – a lot more bitty than what proceeded it. … While I thought that the big final secret which emerged was not that big a secret at all. The book always seemed to be heading in that direction.

But, even though it’s flawed, this is a sharp and intelligent read, which will disturb and provoke and will no doubt linger in the memory. (

Carla (10 July 2009)

I read this book in one sitting. The insight into our sexuality was fascinating and it’s the kind of book which raises lots of questions whilst you read it. I really enjoyed it and found the slightly detached scientific approach an effective way of narrating all the extremely intimate events which happened. Would recommend. (

Dave Adamson (9 July 2009)

A group of young students stuck on an island? It makes for a surprisingly good yarn… Robin Baker’s novel about a group of young students trapped on an idyllic island during a research expedition could easily have been a pedestrian THE BEACH meets LORD OF THE FLIES. It has elements of both of these books, along with many others thrown in (but) … manages to carve out its own corner in the world of literature … It’s all told with such verve … …Despite being a fictional account of fictional events told as if they’d actually happened, the book is mostly gripping and there are moments when you do forget that you are reading a novel. … Does it work? Yes, it does. It’s definitely worth a read. … treat it for what it is – a pseudo-psychological piece of metafiction that is mostly well crafted and … intriguing. (

TASHA (3 July 2009)

(PRIMAL) was a good read. Kept me turning the pages … It was also a bit disturbing, intentionally so, I would say. There’s a lot of sex in the book and most of it not the fruits of candlelight and dinner. And, as the blurb promises, there is definitely plenty of regression. … The structure of the book is interesting, being presented as a book compiled by someone not on the island … The book did make me think a fair bit – about society and civilisation and whether what happened in the book could or would happen in real life. These thoughts were somewhat unsettling, but interesting nonetheless. I have to say that I hope that it is not a true reflection of human nature … Would I recommend it? As long as you’re not easily offended/disturbed and are after a quick read that makes you think a bit, then, yes. (

NJFS (25 June 2009)

I could not put this book down. … It is edgy, tense and gives a picture of what the human psyche is all about beneath the trappings and norms and expectations of modern society. The book reveals how easily our carefully constructed society with all its cultural and sexual strata can so easily collapse like a pack of cards when there is no-one to judge, see or punish you for acting on one’s instincts and base urges rather than conforming to “accepted” and “civilised” behaviour. These students find themselves stranded outside civilisation and the book offers a chilling insight into what lies potentially within us all. A gripping read and highly recommended. (