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.
This author was new to me (even though he has been writing for years) and I found this series addicting. After I listened to the first one, I had to hear the rest.
The characters are well developed, the dialogue is wonderful and the humor is so funny and comes out of the blue that I had many REAL laugh-out-loud moments – and a couple of almost-drive-off-the-road moments.
Absolutely delightful series with wonderful narration.
Yes. Clever dialogue, great characters, good plot. Just a great read.
When the hero and heroine are trapped and about to be killed, the villain notes "she's not doing very well" and our hero responds "it's her first time being murdered."
His reading is transparent - by that I mean that I can see/experience each character clearly as he creates each unique voice and personality. He manages to voice an array of extremely well-crafted characters without overacting, not once, not ever, so that the listener is never aware of his presence. He's a gem. One of the best readers I've heard.
Moving right on to the next book. I hope McCammon and Ballerini have another one in the hopper, because I'm going to be lonely for Matthew when I finish #4.
Addicted to Audible!
I am so happy to have discovered this series. I love historical novels especially when they are full of mystery, murder and mayhem! Edoardo Ballerini is an amazingly talented actor who is the perfect narrator for a book of this length. I was never bored- he kept me engaged the entire time. The book is funny, sad, interesting and full of great characters. I highly recommend spending time in Matthew Corbett's world!
I've now listened to all four Matthew Corbett books by Robert McCammon, along with Swan Song, an earlier book. I find the Corbett stories and characters fascinating. Although mostly set in and around eighteenth century New York, don't let the historical nature of the books deter you. McCammon's writing style is full of invention, style and wicked humour.You'll find yourself chuckling one minute, the next wriggling uncomfortably as the young problem solver finds himself in yet another terrifying situation. I've lost count of how many sayings, phrases and concepts I've jotted down in my little notebook. Edoardo Ballerini narrated all four of the Corbett series, and I now rate him as possibly the best reader I've heard - sorry, Scott. The guy has to be heard to be believed. Although it's not totally necessary to read the books in order, I strongly recommend doing just that, starting with Speaks the Nightbird, then working through books 2, 3 and 4. I understand McCammon intends to write 10 books all up in the series, so I guess it won't be long before I'm back in Matthew's wonderful world once again. Do yourself a favour and start listening now.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
The best way I can think of to describe these "Matthew Corbett" books is: "Harry Potter for adults, minus the magic,with sprinkles of intense darkness". At times you'll get caught up thinking that you're reading a young adult book, and then McCammon will throw in something like a guy that has sex with animals, just to liven things up a bit. I was torn when reading this because part of me can't stand how "young adult" much of the book is, but the other part of me understands that with the ages of most of the characters (including Corbett), it's necessary to have a bit of childishness included in the story. To McCammon's credit, I don't know of another author that can so expertly balance "young adult" subject matter with "dark S&M" so well.
The story takes place in the early 1700's of New York City. Just as a period piece alone, the book succeeds in spades. The story itself does drag at times, but Corbett's lines are witty enough to keep you listening. Ideally, I'd rather see more action, but McCammon's real gift is being able to get inside these characters' heads, and mill about for a while, and that's exactly what he does.
It's not necessary to read the first book, in order to enjoy this one. However, as far as story and action goes, the first book has a slight edge over this one, so you might as well read them in order.
Narrator is great.
So, how do you feel about twenty-three hour, four-hundred year old colonial costume dramas? This is exactly the sort of thing for people who like this sort of thing. Me, I like Edoardo Ballerini. He is virtually the only narrator whom I will listen to and thoroughly enjoy for such a lengthy book. With the exception of Shantaram, I just find these epics way overblown in every way. Now, you may say that I knew what I was getting when I bought it, but I will say back to you that my admiration for Mr. Ballerini and his skills is so great that I can sometimes ignore the overdone work he is narrating. I also have to admit to you that I am going to listen to Sings the Nightbird, which is not twenty-three but THIRTY hours long, and I will do it for the same reason, that being Mr. Ballerini's astonishing skills.
To attempt to sum up the plot of a work this large is foolhardy. Moby Dick is about a whale, and Crime and Punishment is about Russia (both of those gags are Woody Allen's; the results of taking an Evelyn Wood speed-reading course). Just as a taste, I will say that the book is situated in the late 1600's, when New York was just beginning to become a shadow of what it now is. Our hero is Matthew Corbett, who the author claims invented the word "detective." Who are we to argue? There is a cast of thousands, almost literally. There is drama and tragedy, and, regrettably, not much comedy at all. I could have used some. Believe it or not, in an epic this size, there are actually a few characters who are under-drawn, and whom we would like to have heard more about. The women tend not to be drawn all that well, which is common in male-written epic dramas. Many of the period details are interesting. Much of the gore may be essential to the work, but I still could have lived without a lot of it, which I will kindly spare you. You can learn quite a bit of history from this thing, although the historical point of view here is idiosyncratic at best. I'm sure it took billions of hours to research these books, and the results are everywhere, particularly in tiny details.
So, can I recommend this book to you? I am deeply ambivalent. If you love and admire Mr. Ballerini's skills as much as I do, maybe you will be able to get through the thing. If you are a true history freak, that might do as well. Otherwise, you might use these twenty-three hours doing something completely different. Like taking an extremely long baaath.
A terrific story set in early 18th century New York. Edoardo Ballerini once again does a wonderful job on the narration. And the evil that Matthew Corbett encounters and unravels will make you shudder as you listen.
Say something about yourself!
It's hard to know which book I liked better--Speaks the Nightbird was the first in the series, and is one of the top 20 favorites in my library. The Queen of Bedlam will be added to that group.
I like it when an author doesn't feel the need to point you directly at the circumstances, or the joke, for you to "get it"- this author doesn't insult the reader's intelligence. It is a smart and witty novel about the hunt for a serial killer called "The Masker" in New York City. Our hero, Matthew Corbett, teams up with a detective agency just being established in the city. As was his style in the first book, Matthew goes about his business in a quiet, determined manner as he puts together the clues which ultimately lead to the truth. There are several sub-plots to keep things interesting, and a possible love interest as well. It is a slow build for the first 1/3, but after that, I didn't want to stop listening.
Set in the period around 1700, the author does a wonderful job of giving us a look at life during that time (NYC had a population of about 5,000) which is so rich in detail, it is like being there.
Bottom line--it you liked Speaks the Nightbird- you will like this one too. If you have not read the fist book- this one will stand alone, but I would highly recommend reading the first one to get the full story and rich background.
As always, Mr. Ballerini brings this book to life. His ability to provide unique voices to each character really adds depth to the reading of the story. This series has been an enjoyable way to spend my daily commutes.
I didn't think anything could top "Speaks the Nightbird." I was pleased to be so wrong.
HUDSON GREATHOUSE. If you finished McCammon's first book in the series and lamented all the companions that Matthew lost along the way, HAVE NO FEAR. He picks up some great new friends (and enemies) here.
Edoardo Ballerini is a magnificent audiobook narrator. He could breathe life into a shopping list. He brings even more living, breathing believability to these well-written characters.
"Beautifully written, beautifully narrated."
I loved the first Matthew Corbett novel and wondered if there was any way to match the quality of that stunning book. I was so pleased to find that this is every bit as good. I love the characters, the way the author immerses the reader (listener) into the life of New York in the early 18thC, the twists and turns and red herrings of the plot. The icing on the cake is Edoardo Ballerini. His characterisations are spot-on and he brings Matthew totally to life. I read somewhere that there will be 10 in the Matthew Corbett series. I shall be downloading every one of them.
"An Audio Delight to satisfy all your senses!"
I loved this book! The book is beautifully written, and so well read that I could saviour the craftsmanship of the words, whilst enjoying the intriguing plot and the sheer delight of the characters as portrayed by the narrator. At points I laughed out loud at the delight of the language used to portray the character Matthew in his speech and thought.
The plot weaved along with subsidiary stories woven in, that made me listen for hours on end, and I was sad it came to an end. I loved the setting of New York in the late 1700's and the pompous class attitudes some of the characters were riddled with. Have recommended this to book to all my friends. Exciting finale will not leave you disappointed - read this book!
I felt that this was not quite as good as 'Speaks the Nightbird', but it is still exciting and fun, and the character of Matthew is developed well - although he is maybe a bit too perfect! It is a long book, but did not get boring or seem too long to me. I shall certainly look out for more of this series. Edoardo Ballerini narrates well.
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