©2006 Susan Hill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
After reading the first book in this series, I had a few reservations. This second entry pretty much resolved all that.
The main character, Simon Serrailler, is much more in evidence here. He turns out to be a complex and interesting personality - frustratingly reserved, uncommunicative and distant; but, at the same time, a caring boss, brother, uncle and son. He and the other characters keep you interested, and the plot is an involving one.
Some reviewers have noted that the resolutions of Susan Hill's plot lines are not very satisfying for many mystery fans. I'd say that her characters and the police actions in the books may rather reflect much of the true nature of police investigations and human motives.
Steven Pacey, like all the best narrators, isn't a distracting performer. Instead, he just quietly personifies all the characters and delivers a natural and comfortable reading. Hard to beat that!
..and Steven Pacey is certainly one of the best narrators I have ever encountered. The complex interactions between Simon Serrailler, his family, his colleagues at work and family members of crime victims show him to be a fascinating and flawed protagonist. This is a heartbreaking story and is, I think, realistic rather than adhering to the type of formulae we have come to expect in mystery novels. The "dropped" story lines referred to by another reviewer are most likely resolved in ensuing books, and some patience is needed. Fortunately, I discovered this series when five books had already been written, so I could consume them in order, and follow the characters' development.
This is not a conventional mystery novel and Susan Hill is much more than a conventional mystery writer. Read them all. Read them in order. Enjoy!
I don't try write a review as if it were the only review a potential reader will see. I write things that I noticed.
With a caveat...I found the ending very frustrating. I get what the author intends, but it defeats the purpose of written mysteries to me. And the first one was irritating in a different, but in some ways similar, way. I'm going to try one more in the series, but if I don't get more of a positive vibe, I'll leave it there. If you like modern, depressing-equals-real, mysteries/procedurals, these are well written and interesting. I look to written mysteries to in the end give me a sense of hope and order, so far these don't. Side note--if you want proof that the British system of socialized medicine solves the problems of modern medicine--don't look in theses books. Simon's sister and brother-in-law constantly complain about paperwork and government oversight and how no one else is willing to be a GP...
I'm going to try one more.
Just this series, as far as I know--he is great.
really enjoyed this audio. So many interesting characters and Steven Pacey is amazing as the narrator.
Hooked on Books
I love the Serraillier series; i have read all of them (even the new one that is only published in the UK) the plot lines are picked up, characters are not forgotten, and the richness of the stories, the length of time and depth spent with them is wonderful! Do Not Miss! Read them all! The narrator is great too!
I picked this series because I'm a huge fan of Steven Pacey. He's easily my favorite narrator and he doesn't disappoint here. I think Susan Hill's writing is very good but this book left me feeling like the last 1/3 of the book was missing. I'm fine with the main plot line ending as it did but none of the other 3 or 4 other sub-plots were resolved either. I literally went back checking to see if I had accidentally skipped a few chapters. But nope, that was everything.
The story kept me captivated throughout though and I'll probably give the next book a try especially since I enjoyed the first book so much. I have a small problem with the way Ms. Hill writes her male and female characters. The female characters are, almost without fail, sympathetic people who are put upon by their male counterparts. Even Simon Serrailler is somewhat of a cad.
Every once in a while I read or listen to a book I like very much and then find that the author has written several others. It's like finding gold - well silver or tin - something good. This was one of those books for me.
It was not "great" (5) which for an audiobook means it's so good that I can listen to it while doing nother else. If I could give this a B+ (or a 4+) I would, but it's not a 5 so 4 is good enough.
I hope I'll be able to report the same about the rest of Susan Hill's books.
[I have a friend named "Susan Hill" and she's the most competent person I've ever known. I wouldn't be surprised if she dashed off a few good books in her spare time without anyone knowing about it and that these are the books she wrote. If it is she I applaud and congradulate her and work on the envy it arouses in me before I see her again. (Aren't people who 'can do everything' annoying?]
I like to read police procedurals. that is not what this is. The story is very light on what is done to actually solve the case. The author tells us that this is a great detective but she doesn't do much to convince us.
Susan Hill's characters are subtle and believable; here, as in all her books, don't expect a Hollywood finish. This narrator is first-rate.
"Beautifully read and excellent characterisation."
Essential to read or listen to The Various Haunts of Men first to become familiar with the main cast of characters and to understand the references to things which have happened in the past. Although these stories are based around crime and police procedure I find that these aspects take second place to the exploration of the moral and social decisions that the characters are forced to make and what we learn about those characters as a result. A previous reviewer was disappointed that, in their opinion, the book seemed to come to a sudden end. Things are left unresolved and that may dissatisfy some listeners but I thought it added a realism to the story particularly poignant in the light of recent news.
I tend to choose audio books, not just on potential content, but on the voice of the reader. Stephen Pacey is very easy on the ear. I like to listen as I walk for fitness and found myself covering a few extra miles each day as the story unfolded just to hear more. So, very highly recommended. I have already flagged the third book in the series as my next listen.
"Great Characters and Narration, Difficult Subject!"
I have read Susan Hill's 'The Woman In Black' and have also downloaded 'The Various Haunts Of Men' as well as this book. Susan Hill is a master of writing great characters, and the narration really bring these people to life. It is the 2nd book featuring Detective Chief Inspector Serrailler, who is quite flawed but likeable. It can be a difficult subject matter and I found it quite difficult to listen to as I have a child the same age as the missing boy. If you can distance yourself from this, I highly recommend this book and other works by Susan Hill. I will certainly look out for her future titles.
"I'm rationing myself"
I am completely hooked on this series by Susan Hill, and I'm rationing myself because I know that so far there are only five books.
These aren't detective stories or thrillers, but carefully constructed character studies of real people. This second story leaves some loose ends which other listeners have found frustrating, but that's the point - real life often has loose ends, and Susan Hill uses this to describe her characters.
I'm also totally in love with Stephen Pacey, who must be the most talented voice actor in the country. I keep forgetting it's not a radio play.
Firstly I would like to thank Audible for allowing me to refund my credits for two Victoria Hislop books which I could not bear to listen to .... awful writing. Susan Hill is, in contrast, a wonderfully enthralling author and I can't stop listening to this "Serrailler" series. My dog is having her paws worn down with all the walks she is having while i listen. Thank you Audible and thank you Susan Hill !!!!
Narrator is first class too!!!
"A deep, engaging listen"
I became as deeply engaged with this Simon Serrailler book as with the first.
Susan Hill creates complex believable characters. There are no trite fixes to the storyline. Although this works as a stand alone book it is greater for being part of a series & I am planning to get the next one
The narration by Steven Pacey is clear & well differentiated.
A gripping listen
Beautifully written and wonderfully read - second in the series and the characters are starting to feel like old friends! Just off to download No 3!
"Compelling reading. Fantastic storyteller."
Had read lukewarm reviews about this 2nd book of the trilogy so read with an open mind. Just because the conclusion isn't what most people expect, it's very true to life. All the characters are so believable. Can't wait to start no. 3.
Really enjoying this series. Loved susan hill as an author for a while but stumbled across these books by accident on a long drive for work. Am smitten!
"Continues to be enthralling"
This ranks near the top of the Crime thrillers I have listened to.
Steven Pacey is very able to make female characters sound female with any distractions and Susan Hill's plot lines are second to none.
Cat, the wife of Chris and brother of Serrailler.
I download this to my phone and have bluetooth headphones. I just listened to this all day and evening in one sittting.
"Well presented story"
Although it may seem a little slow to start with, stick with it. I've discovered by listening to a few of Susan Hill's books that the build up & description of the characters involved in the story really do make a difference. The in depth tale of each character makes you feel as if you know them & feel for them in each situation. The pace picks up until you find yourself unable to switch it off, needing to know what comes next. The other refreshing thing about this series is the fact you don't always have a happy ending. Too many books seem to be predictable, you know that everything will be all right in the end. Not so here. You just don't know. Sometimes yes, sometimes not. It makes you keep listening. My advice would be to listen to the series in order
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