Featuring a foreword by Michael Connelly, this relentlessly suspenseful thriller from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning author of the Inspector Banks novels marks the first time that Peter Robinson has set a novel in America.
Sarah Broughton has come a long way. She's the star of a hit cop show on TV. She lives in a beautiful California beach house. And–most importantly–she's put her dark past behind her… as well as her old name, Sally Bolton. No need for anyone to know about that.
When Sarah begins receiving letters mysteriously signed with the letter "M", she thinks they're from a harmless admirer… until her real name appears in the third letter. And then she finds that name inscribed in the sand near her home – next to a body.
The message is clear: Someone is watching Sarah's every move. Someone so obsessed with her that he won't stop at just one murder in order to prove his love.
Panicked, Sarah turns to Detective Arvo Hughes of the LAPD, a man who specializes in hunting down the most dangerous stalkers. But nothing in Hughes' experience has prepared him for the mastermind he's up against. For the killer, there's no cure for love. And for Sarah and Hughes, there's no way out.
©2016 Peter Robinson (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
This is not a new book by Peter Robinson. I am writing this review primarily to warn Audible customers and inform other readers this book is not indicative of Robinson’s current writing. It is not pleasant to give such a tepid rating to Robinson's work, which, had I rated them, would normally rate 4 to 5 stars.
It was an unexpected pleasure to see a new Peter Robinson book pop up so soon after his last. I was excited to pre-order it. (I believe my exact words were “Squeeeee!”)
Alas, I should have remembered the one about things that seem too good to be true.
As I began listening to this book, the first thing I noticed was the stilted prose and copious exposition. At first, I thought perhaps it was merely due to the jarring experience of hearing Robinson in “American” coupled with the odd narration. But, no. Surely it was more than that. Then it began to sink in when I mentally catalogued the seemingly anachronistic references: wall phone, pager, Mighty Ducks jacket, Married With Children, car phone, pay phone, renting a video ...
Wait. What? RENTING A VIDEO? Did the characters live in a time warp? Am I losing my marbles?
I looked up the Amazon reviews of the book, and lo! Answers. Evidently in the print version there is a forward by Michael Connelly which explains this is a 20 year old book.
Nowhere in Audible's description of the book did I see mention of this. Nor is the forward included in the audio version. Indeed, Audible’s description is arguably a tad misleading. Tsk, tsk, Audible.
I should say this early offering from Robinson is far better than some quite dreadful current selections I’ve tried to read from best-selling authors.
But, the odd narration on this one isn't helping matters. Thank the ear gods a different narrator was used for the Yorkshire segments in the book. While switching narrators back and forth seems bizarre for a story written in third person omniscient point of view, on balance I can only be thankful the narrator for the bulk of the book was not used for Yorkshire sections. To be fair to the main narrator, I gather mastering different accents is quite a tall order. In this respect, it may be regarded as fortunate there was so much exposition that the Yorkshire-turned-plummy-speaking Sarah/Sally, as well as the few other female characters, didn’t actually say much.
As a Peter Robinson fan, I was excited about this new stand-alone novel based in the States, but I found myself disappointed. The story was ok, the characters were likable and interesting enough for the most part, but some of the dialogue seemed hackneyed and I was not fond of the narrator (which is the main reason for this review.) His voice is nice but he has this way of drawing out certain words that almost sounds like a masculine version of "Val Speak." I know the story is based in LA but still, I found the uptick at the end of every third or fourth sentence annoying -- especially when I heard myself do it once or twice.
So many books give extended descriptions of lurid sadistic fantasies, and I was sad to find them here. The story seemed a hodge pudge of stock elements.And the narrator reminded me of Guy Noir from Prairie Home Companion. But I truly have loved the Banks books.
1. Jeff Harding has an unusual, repetitive vocal pattern. I am such a fan of Simon Prebble's reading of Robinson's work, that I wish he had taken this job...
2. Why, oh why did Robinson try for the hard-boiled L. A. cop genre?
3. And when exactly is the story set? Car phones in Cadillacs is not exactly 21st century Hollywood. I felt as if it should have taken place in the mid-1980s, but the dates of birth for some of the characters would make it the mid-to- late-90s @ the earliest.
4. More Yorkshire, please.
I was curious to listen to a Peter Robinson novel outside the Inspector Banks series. I have to admit that I only got a few chapters in, but I thought the characters were stereotypical and shallow (they might have developed if I'd stuck with it). There was some explicit description and dialogue of sexual activities too, which I typically don't like to hear, but that's just me. I wasn't a fan of the narration either .... it was delivered in a kind of flat "noir" style that just didn't appeal to me. I think that sometimes books just don't translate well into audio format .... they might make for a fun, quick read but the addition of the narrator's voice to the mix detracts. Maybe I'll try reading it sometime instead.
This is just another Hollywood detective, movie star plot. If the author had pulled this book outlinr from AMystrry a Day calendar. All he had to was fill in chsractrrs' namecand daily westher reportd. Save your money.
The story never seemed to hang together very well. Stalkers are always scary, but Sally's relationship with her family didn't have much relevance to either plot or character development...Robinson is good at the latter, but not in this book. Most of the characters were two dimensional and cliched. And I found the surprise ending contrived and abrupt.
I've never listened to another.
His regular reading voice was an annoying, almost sing-song, drawl. All his male characters sounded alike, like a bad imitation of Marlon Brando's Godfather, and his female characters, with the exception of Sally, who was expressionless, and Maria, who seemed normal, were either whiney or spacey or a combination of the two.
I read it all the way through, so obviously it held some small interest for me. Having finished it, I am a little annoyed that I wasted the time.
I have enjoyed all of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks books very much. And while I knew this was not going to be one of them, I'm always interested to see what a writer I enjoy does when they try something different. In this case, I wouldn't recommend it.
I am addicted to talking books, but only mystery/thrillers or some particular authors like Terry Pratchett.
I love Jeff Harding's narration
It was an interesting story with plenty of twists and turns.
I have really missed Jeff Harding. He seems to specialise these days in westerns, which I just can't come at. Jeff - please read more mysteries! Anything you read sounds good.
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