Success Corruption and Lies must have been a dream book to make. Sadly it is not a dream book to read. The text consists largely of press cuttings gummed together with Clarke's flat prose, a cheap "technique" which offers a little amount of analysis (albeit on the back of others' work), but there's no depth to Clarke's research, and his choice of material is erratic and uneven.
If the writer actually has any opinions about The Cure, he keeps them to himself, leaving arguments to the critics. This scrapbook account of The Cure's career offers very little by way of enlightenment that fans won't already have assimilated.
As for the pictures: the large, glossy, magazine-style format and full-page color photographs create a slick first impression, but more careful perusal shows that little or no thought or care has been taken in the selection of images, which appear in a completely random order, mixing up different periods in the band's career for no apparent reason.
As if to scramble the reader's mind even further, ticket stubs, concert posters, handwritten lyrics and advertisements for gigs are scattered throughout the text like so much confetti, and this crisis is aggravated by the fact that some photos have been carelessly flipped (pages 200 & 201), giving the impression that Bob is a left-handed guitarist.
If you're only a fair-weather Cure fan, it's unlikely you'll enjoy gazing at pictures of the increasingly tubby and tousled Robert. Diehard fans, meanwhile, will probably have bought the book already, only to find it's amateurish and irritating. One is left with a sneaking suspicion that Success Corruption & Lies is little more than a cynical cash-in on the success of the bands' most recent Wish album.