When Mark Hartmann is asked to perform a post-mortem on a lab assistant killed by cancer, everything looks straightforward. But his initial findings are surprising: Millicent Sweet appears to have died of several different, aggressive tumours. Before he can discuss this with colleagues, he's called to a conference in Scotland. A serious error of judgement gives a pharmaceutical company a handle on him, and they threaten to expose his excesses unless he falsifies his report on Sweet.
Meanwhile, Millicent's father is suspicious about her death and has contacted lawyer Helena Flemming. Her partner, former forensic pathologist John Eisenmenger, uncovers the original post-mortem and deception, and is determined to unearth the reasons behind the pharmaceutical company's actions.
©2004 Keith McCarthy; (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd
First, the British accent makes the book. I love all the British slang and colloquialisms, so much more descriptive than American writing of this genre. The author writes with wit and cynicism, the seedier side of life. It is more than just plot. The characters are interesting, troubled, and multidimensional. Not everything is right on the surface, in your face. Unfortunately, I started with this book so now must go back to the first one to get the back story on the main characters. In fact I am not finished with this one so may go back before anymore of it is given away. I also plan to order the others.
I am an ten books an month listener, and I LOVED this book. Very british, very stylish, thrilling story and a wonderful narrator. (Of course he has a brittish accent, he IS brittish!) If you want to listen to an american accent, don't listen to this book. If you want to listen to quality, do, and enjoy!
I discovered Keith McCarthy's Eisenmenger/Flemming series via the narrator, Sean Barrett, who is a favorite of mine. His timbre, pace, pronunciation and accents are superb. I could listen to him reading a shopping list!
If I am to start a series, I prefer to do so in sequence, to acquaint myself with the personalities and foibles of the characters, hence I started with "A Feast of Carrion", which I enjoyed. Fairly gory, which is fine by me, but masterfully written too. McCarthy's use of language, coupled with his extensive forensic knowledge are a very attractive combination. So onto the second in the series, "The Silent Sleep of the Dying". My rating goes to Sean Barrett's narration and McCarthy's prose. The story is not worth more than 2*, so will compromise on 2 1/2* for the package.
Frankly, it was a disappointment. Had it been my first McCarthy book, I doubt whether I would have stayed with the series. I'm sure every author has a bomb now and again, so I will give his next book, "The Final Analysis" a try, before "writing him off" altogether. Alternatively I may try one of his Lance Elliott mysteries. His adroit use of language deserves some perseverance and based on "Feast of Carrion", he is capable of better.
So what is wrong with "The Silent Sleep of the Dying"? The two key ingredients of a good story center around character development and plot, both of which are scanty here. There is little recap of existing protagonists, nor do we get to know them more intimately this time around. They surface periodically (and quite late in the story) as shadowy bit players, while some of the new players are almost caricatures in their superficiality. The broad premise was good enough, but could have been handled better. I may have missed things while listening - at times, my concentration wandered as aimlessly as the tale. McCarthy was not focused on keeping it tight, nor did his editors tweak as much as they might have done.
I would certainly recommend "A Feast of Carrion and cannot yet comment on the next one, "The Final Analysis". I don't believe it would hamper the reader's sense of continuity by skipping "The Silent Sleep of the Dying" and going straight on to the third book in the series - if it passes muster.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Keith McCarthy's medical thriller, "The Silent Sleep of the Dying," deals with a deadly virus that is created in a secret lab in a remote area of Scotland. An accidental fire destroys the lab, and the scientists who collaborated on the project go their separate ways. Two years later, one of these scientists, Millicent Sweet, suddenly becomes violently ill and dies an excruciating death.
This dramatic beginning sets the stage for a complex tale of greed, blackmail, and murder. Millicent Sweet's father, Raymond, asks a lawyer named Helena Flemming to look into his daughter's death. Helena enlists the aid of an old friend, John Eisenmenger, a former forensic pathologist, to help her with her inquiries. In addition, Inspector Beverley Wharton, an aggressive and ambitious woman who is persona non grata with her superiors, investigates the case without her boss's permission or knowledge.
McCarthy ratchets up the tension nicely as Helena and John make some startling discoveries, most notably that a pharmaceutical company called Pel-Ebstein may have played a crucial role in the events leading to Sweet's death. There is also a particularly nasty villain who pops up throughout the book, destroying anyone who gets in his way.
For all of its merits, "The Silent Sleep of the Dying" does have a few weaknesses. First, McCarthy assumes that his readers already know the history of Helena and John, both of whom are emotionally wounded individuals. A little more background would have fleshed them out more satisfactorily. In addition, the ending is a bit unrealistic and melodramatic.
Still, the book has a great deal to recommend it, including some fascinating characters who are struggling not only with the important people in their lives, but also with the internal demons that plague them. McCarthy delivers plenty of thrills, and readers who love medical suspense will find "The Silent Sleep of the Dying" action-packed and exciting.
Quality is everything
Like for most readers, separating between quality and rejects is always a problem. Sean Barrett is a master story teller and I check out all his narrations since it makes sense that a great performer will resist association with poor quality work. So far this logic proved correct and same goes for this book.
After reading and very much enjoying the first book in the series (A feast of Carrion), I was a bit discouraged by some reviews that present this book as inferior to the first.
I decided to take the chance and I am pleased I did.
I do find this book just as good and even better than the first, a perfect combination of a good story, great writing and amazing narration.
DON?T WASTE YOUR $$$$!!
I am a four-book-a-month listener mostly of thrillers and medical suspense books. I was stuck in an airport with only this book left on my IPod. It was worse listening to this book than listening to the overtired and screaming children running around. The kids won.
The narrator has a heavy English accent and a slow cadence. The book is rife with English colloquialisms and is written from the good-old-boy perspective with much chuffing and grumbling. I never did get to have a taste of plot when more than 45 minutes in, I turned off the book. I was so irritated with it I wanted a refund and wished there was an "on the go" delete button for my IPod. It would have given me pleasure to flush the book away as quickly as possible.
"Don't miss this one"
What a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found myself listening in the car so I could continue the story. Always a sure sign for me as I normally do bedtime reading only. The plot was suspending reality but that was of no matter. It was excellent and drew me into the book very quickly. Absorbing and interesting.
I like long books as i can really get into them and the length on this one was great. Long enough to get the best of the book without getting repetitive.
The narration was crisp, clear and the characters well defined. Audio quality also crisp with no glitches.
If you want a great read that is gripping and well considered, get this book. But watch out, you never know what could happen next.
"Do you like intrigue?"
A great story that reels you in. Weird title, great story. Be prepared to have your earphones in at every opportunity.. voice of reader, mesmeric .. go there if you dare! Wonderful. You won't regret it.
"A little predictable"
I would shorten some of the fire scenes which go on for an improbable and ultimately tedious length of time
Not nearly as enjoyable as his previous books
None in particular, his was a good all round performance
This is my first book by Keith McCarthy and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. I really struggled to keep my attention focused on it. The narrative doesn't half go on a bit and it made me feel I just couldn't care less in the end what happened to any of them. It had a promising start though... but then the analogies were just so over the top. Only Sean Barrett was narrating this one I would have given up.
My last rather lengthy review of this book has not been published.
So I sum it up now in one word above in addition to repeating that it should come with an over 18s warning if you are playing it out loud. The sexual descriptions are gratuitous, awkward, childish and add nothing to the story
"The Silent Sleep of the Dying - good read"
The Silent Sleep of the Dying - good read
Narration brill as usual from Sean
Book contained a lot of medical & scientific jargon which was way over my head, but a good read nevertheless.
Love Sean Barrett's narration and combined with Keith McCarthy's excellent writing it's a winning combination. Would definitely recommend this book.
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