There really isn't another book like this. Oakley has written on a subject that few, if any, have touched on before, at least not in this level of detail: the pathological manipulator as 'victim'. As she tells in the book, the original intent was to write about 'pathological altruism', a degree of caring that goes overboard, with negative consequences to the giver. But while researching the case of Carole Alden, things started to go in the opposite direction. Alden made headlines as an 'abused wife' who fought back, killing her abuser (with a gunshots through the back and point-blank through the head, mind you). But after analyzing the facts of the case, the police and court records, and interviewing dozens of people connected with Alden and her victim, Oakley saw another picture emerge. Alden turned out to be an expert manipulator, garnering sympathy from others and fostering an image as an empathic person with a deep love for animals, art, and the weak. But behind the facade, a stunning lack of irresponsibility, pathological degree of lying and 'impression management', and possible history of murder made themselves known. Oh, and then there's the S&M angle (just read the book).
If you've read Oakley's previous book, Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend, you'll know what to expect: engaging narrative interspersed with the latest in cognitive research and neuroscience, with quotes from many of the leading authorities on all the topics involved. So you don't just get a true-crime story, but insights into animal hoarding, brain hemisphere functions, personality disorders, parent/child role reversal, altruism, and more. While there were several portions of Evil Genes I thought were seriously flawed, Oakley has more focus in this volume, and it makes for a more cogent presentation. And I think the study of fake 'victims' has a lot of potential to expand to the macrosocial level (just as she extended psychopathy to that level in EG). We have no shortage of nations 'playing the victim', all the while engaging in deceit, impression management, oppression, and violence of unimaginable depths. The dynamic between Carole and Marty can be seen globally. Just think about the War on Terror, with Martha Stout's excellent book, The Paranoia Switch: How Terror Rewires Our Brains and Reshapes Our Behavior--and How We Can Reclaim Our Courage, in mind.
Unfortunately, as Oakley points out in the final chapter of her book in reference to her own subject matter, this may be just 'too far' for many people to go. Victimhood, like altruism, is sanctified in our minds, and to imagine the depth of evil required for a person or nation to exploit it is a bitter pill to swallow. That's where the very brain mechanisms Oakley discusses come into play, and, like a "stroke patient's left hemisphere deliberately hiding his hand, the better to insist it isn't there", we refuse to acknowledge what is staring us right in the face. In this sense, I think Cold-Blooded Kindness is an important book, because it puts events in our everyday lives, both socially and interpersonally, in perspective. It provides a new way of looking at things that we didn't have before. So, check it out.