His epic masterwork Speaks the Nightbird, a tour de force of witch hunt terror in a colonial town, was hailed by Sandra Brown as "deeply satisfying...told with matchless insight into the human soul."
Now, Robert McCammon brings the hero of that spellbinding novel, Matthew Corbett, to 18th-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity - and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.
The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...and when the Masker claims a new victim, hardworking young law clerk Matthew Corbett is lured into a maze of forensic clues and heart-pounding investigation that will both test his natural penchant for detection and inflame his hunger for justice.
In the strangest twist of all, the key to unmasking the Masker may await in an asylum where the Queen of Bedlam reigns - and only a man of Matthew's reason and empathy can unlock her secrets. From the seaport to Wall Street, from society mansions to gutters glimmering with blood spilled by a deviant, Matthew's quest will tauntingly reveal the answers he seeks - and the chilling truths he cannot escape.
©2007 Robert McCammon (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I love the whole premise of this series, and one thing that I really respected about "Speaks the Nightbird" was the discipline it takes to write from the perspective of a character in 1699 but still make the writing sound like it was written by someone experiencing that period IN THE PRESENT. Also, the clues that Matthew Corbett put together to solve the mystery are right in the story, but it took some keen insight and creativity to figure the whole story out. That makes for a fun read.
This one . . . hmm, it's hard to say where it doesn't measure up. I mean, all of the same elements are present. Matthew's got a particularly devious killer to confront, clues everywhere to pick up and ponder and foes determined to block his progress. But the whole effort just ends up being a little less than its parts. And instead of exercising discipline in his writing perspective, it's more like the author has decided to let his characters run wild with living in the past but somehow knowing what's going to happen in the future. For example, Matthew Corbett "invents" the term "detective" as a name for his new-found profession and then, later in the book, receives a magnifying glass as a symbolic gift to mark his success at the end of the book?! Ok, I get it -- the author is having fun showing how his character created the very cliches and standard symbols for the things that we all take for granted in our present. I suppose Matthew Corbett could also invent Wall Street greed and Upper East Side snobs while he's at it, but I find these kinds of "foreshadow" insights in historical novels to be amateurish and distracting.
I'm not saying that you should skip the book. No way -- it's still four out of five stars, and if I had read this book without reading the first one, I would have been very, very happy with what I had read. It's just that this one is a shade less magical and a shade more mechanical than the first book. I'm hoping the third book gets back to the standards of the first!
I felt like I was reading a re-peat of a combination of his other books.
when he was learning to sword fight, again, was just one of many repeats.
He did a great job telling the story.
I loved his first book, then read Mr. Slaughter(?) by mistake as the second and knew I'd missed something. Then, when I read the Queen of Bedlam, it was a repeat of a combination of the first and third stories. Clearly, this must have been Mr. McCammon's first attempt at a series.I didn't believe my wife when she kept telling me we'd listened to the book already, when I knew I'd dowlnoaded them out of sequence, but we'd not listened to it yet. I'm just so disappointed because it could have been so great if not done so poorly. It was a disappointment High expectations were not met.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
I should have written my review as soon as I finished the book. In retrospect, I believe this is the least violent and most cerebral book of the four. I enjoyed hearing about Matthew's life in New York, and I loved the description of the beautiful old woman in the upscale mental hospital, surrounded by her familiar things, waiting for news from the King! Matthew eventually discovers this woman's story and manages to help her and her family. I would welcome more books of this type with people helping one another to work out their lives instead of enjoying trashing one another and enjoying taking lives. Well written, well narrated, unique in literature. I hope this gifted author will produce more stories like this one.
This is a very complicated review. The start was grueling. The story picked up. the characters were good. The good and interesting characters should have been developed more. There were some great characters to develop. The summation was so quick and unsatisfying. There was so much potential!!!! I love period pieces! could have been phenomenal with some input from a third party or fourth, editor! A non infested person.
He was good, not as good as others, but his performance did not deter.
Yes and no. I finished it but there were times I just did not want to finish it. The summation should have been a surprise but strings should have eluded. I felt like the whole motive was to guide you to the next book.
I have never had such mixed feelings.
Just finished Queen of Bedlam, the second Matthew Corbett book, and I loved it. We begin with Matthew, 3 years after the events in Speaks the Nightbird, working as a legal clerk in New York. Soon though, a murder, then another...both with similar markings cut into their faces. A serial killer in the days before there was a word to describe them. And that's just one of the mysteries Matthew is drawn into. But what is no mystery, is why I like these books. Robert McCammon has a writing style I've been a fan of for more than 20 years. That, along with the historical setting of New York in 1702, the believable characters you meet along the way and their relationships with one another, and just the true mystery of it all. I love a good mystery, and Matthew Corbett is as enjoyable a "Detective", as any I've ever read. I'm a big fan of BBC dramas and Masterpiece Mystery, and I could see these books on the small screen in that regard. Good stuff. I plan to start the next one soon!
The turn of words, old-fashioned ideas and ways of speech combined with the observations and deductive thinking of Mathew to solve mysteries makes for a very interesting story and good read.
This was difficult for me to get through. The first part is horribly boring and I get that it's exposition, but really unentertaining. The book then drones on and on and on. Seemingly unrelated things all end up relating, even though they are a huge stretch. There are too many characters to keep track of unless you keep a chart or binge listen. I did neither, so by the end, I had no idea who half the characters were.
With all the words, by the time you get to the final 5 chapters, details are skipped over while other events never seem to end.
The foreshadowing of times to come (fingerprints in the eighteenth century?) is too smug and happens a number of times. A rape of a drugged male by a female is given almost no attention and the character basically carried on like it was nothing but a bad dream.
Great bedtime listening for me since I couldn't seem to listen for more than 20 minutes.
I cruised through all four books in the Matthew Corbett series in record time and enjoyed every one. I did read them in order so it was easier to follow references to past episodes of Matthew Corbett's career. That said, each can stand on its own individually and be completely entertaining without having read any previous novel.
Mr Ballerini does an outstanding job reading and brings all the characters to life. Each character is uniquely voiced so that you instantly know who is speaking. (Very helpful in keeping the characters strait in your head.) I particularly like his ability to make young people sound young and those with more maturity, voiced in keeping with their age.
It was this series which prompted me to change to two credits a month. It's easy to spend them when one has such entertaining characters and exciting, hair raising adventures to look forward to. I definitely recommend all the books in this series.
Matthew's character grows and new players are added. They make him a better man. Add to that the great island of Manhattan and some new puzzles to solve. I enjoyed the many layers McCammon added with this book.
I listened to this right after 'Speaks the Nightbird", which was an excellent book. 'Queen" is the continuation of the Hero from the first book. This story falls short, though. It starts out with possibilities of being a good story, but then slows down in the middle of the book. I didn't like the characters telling us how everything ties together. I wanted our hero to figure it out with his cunning, or to have the action uncover the plot. It is fine to listen to, but I would listen to some books in between the two. The performance is excellent. I would listen to it for that, but be prepared for lots of little plots varying from the main one.
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