London, 1968: The body of a teenage girl is found just steps away from the Beatles' Abbey Road recording studio.
The police are called to a residential street in St John's Wood where an unidentified young woman has been strangled. Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen believes she may be one of the many Beatles fans who regularly camp outside Abbey Road Studios. With his reputation tarnished by an inexplicable act of cowardice, this is Breen's last chance to prove he's up to the job.
Breen is of the generation for whom reaching adulthood meant turning into one's parents and accepting one's place in the world. But the world around him is changing beyond recognition. Nothing illustrates the shift more than Helen Tozer, a brazen and rambunctious young policewoman assisting him with the case. Together they navigate a world on edge, where conservative tradition gives way to frightening new freedoms - and troubling new crimes.
©2014 William Shaw (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"A first-rate police thriller set amidst the seamy underside of the swinging sixties; a young girl's murder on a bleak housing estate near the Beatles' recording studio leads an intrepid police duo into a world of inter-generational quarrels, racial tensions, and arms dealing. The totemic year of '68 will never seem the same again." - CJ Sansom, author of the nationally bestselling Matthew Shardlake series and Winter in Madrid
Narrative makes the world go round.
Not saccharine-cozy, certainly not hard-boiled, this includes a decent mystery with humour and nice late 60s period touch. What the author gets refreshingly right is that overused "younger eager investigator --- older senior officer" relationship. The Beatles background is just a small part of the period setting; more prominent are the changing gender roles, sexual mores (nothing explicit though), and race/ethnic group relations. And it was better written than most of its kind. The Whispersync price was a great bargain when I purchased. I hope there are more "Tozer and Breen" books on the way - I could have tried a series binge, based on this one.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
This is a tough one to review. The story was really good, smart and funny, but as they say about humor, timing is everything. I get the feeling Cameron Stewart's timing and voices, especially of women, were so off and over the top i found myself cringing whenever he used them. If id read it myself i have no doubt this would get better marks.
It has everything to be a great police procedural. A likable though flawed, and smart detective. Great synergy between the police team. Good contrast between good and sloppy police work. Sharp wit and humor.
In the end i dont think its a waste of time or money. Its very likely to be a 4-5 star listen for most people.
Can't say enough about the narrator who really made this book enjoyable.
Overall the story was pretty well done and the atmosphere is not something that's touched upon to much, i.e. London in the 60's-70's. Really enjoyed the characters and the mystery was a pretty good one as well. Looking forward to continuing the series.
** spoiler alert ** I wanted to like this story, but I have never read a more haplessly rendered detective character. Set In the 1960s in London, with the Beatles as background, there isn't a single person in this novel who doesn't bully and push around the main character. It becomes increasingly difficult to believe that he is a smart, capable policeman. I know the book is set in a time when racism and sexism was common, but the casual use of racist terms and sexist comments made me queasy. And then coupled with pretty much every bad thing that could happen, from the African Biafran civil war, to gay people getting murdered for being gay, to the casual violence against minorities, I found the whole thing incredibly depressing and devoid of any hope at all. (less)
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