VILIFIED by the tabloids, adored by his band of followers, monitored by the security services and finally jailed by the courts.

With his prosthetic limb, metal-hooked hand and lazy eye, Abu Hamza reached almost pantomime villain status last summer when "Hook" was a front-page regular.

This book is a forensic examination of his history, beliefs and religious links.

It aims to go beyond his larger-than-life image and show how the hate-filled preacher maintained links to international terrorists and indoctrinated impressionable young Muslims.

Written by two senior journalists at The Times, the book starts with an account of how Abu Hamza who once worked as a doorman in sleazy Soho became radicalised after meeting a jihadist scholar in Mecca.

It ends with his incarceration for seven years after being convicted of inciting murder, race hate, and a terrorism offence.

Despite its forensic detail, the book is written like a thriller and is, in parts, fascinating.

But it does not explain how young Muslims attending the Finsbury Park mosque came to be in thrall to his brand of hatred.

Nor is the case for Abu Hamza the arch-villain convincing; many of the alleged connections to al-Qaeda style terrorists are tenuous at best.

It leaves one main question: is this low-grade hate-monger worth such a lengthy study?