On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away. The murder weapon is a gun for stunning cattle, leading Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man. But the Slaughter Man is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game?
©2015 Tony Parsons (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd
"Spectacular! Tense and human, fast and authentic." (Lee Child on The Murder Bag)
"A relentless plot, evocative prose and compelling portraits of the characters, good and evil, conspire to make this a must read." (Jeffrey Deaver on The Murder Bag)
Extreme violence and sexual abuse of women and children, plus detailed descriptions of torture -- and a likable little girl and adorable dog thrown in as palate cleansers between the scenes of gore. To me, this is just lazy, uninteresting writing driven by the easy shock "value" of ultraviolence. I like a bit of gore as much as anyone, but in small doses it can be more interesting and more shocking than lots and lots of goriness. The unknown and the unspoken can be way more terrifying. For example, see the movie "The Conversation" and the witty, character- and plot-driven crime novels of Adrian McKinty and Patricia Highsmith.
I am a college professor and professional actor, director and playwright. The peformance of the book is as important to me as the writing.
Nuanced, touching and suspenseful - I loved the writing and the narrator is wonderful. I highly recommend this. The father daughter relationship was resonant and finely detailed.
I am a voracious reader of all fiction genres and poetry. I occasionally venture into humor, history, and science. I loathe self-help books.
The author has made improvements in the second book of the series and manages to elevate the book to average. The biggest improvement is in the plot: it is much tighter and flows at a better pace. The narrator continues to be the main attraction, and saves the book from mediocrity. The relationship between the main character and his daughter is also a highlight. Sadly, I don't think the book rises above average because of several ridiculous points. Is it necessary to have a cop killed or seriously disabled in each book? Why doesn't the author spend a little time on developing a few more strong characters instead of dropping numerous flimsy characters in just for killing targets? The protagonist also is almost killed in a riot, stabbed in the abdomen, beaten senseless, and buried alive; the sequence of trauma the hero tolerates without any real physical side effects is simply silly. The author could have created a greater emotional impact by cutting back on the action and inserting more realism. The overall experience is like watching "The Fast and The Furious": lots of action with minimal emotional complexity.
I can't understand how a great story would be muddied with silly police tactics over and over.
Why ruin what should have been a good thriller with inept drama that no one in their right mind would do, especially detectives. Not even Harry Bosch would do attempt this stuff. And he pushes reality, mind. Not defies it,
When in history did four cops walk into a crowd of hundreds of people who loath the sight of them, ready to kill all cops if they can with the slightest provocation..when would the senior officer of MET and senior offices walk in with no back up and arrest a poor bloke with the IQ of a tennis ball for a complicated multiple murder massacre? Never ... Only in this ridiculous yarn. When would four cops set upon like that get up and walk away from it? Never
Why why why, it is such a good bloody plot! It had everything going for it, pull this book. Republish without all the stupid confrontations made by these top investigators. They wouldn't do it, they'd be suspended the first time, and charged the second time for endangering life, causing death and paralysing a cop. They would be fired. They would be charged.
But no...on it goes to crazier unbelievable exploits, beyond the pale! Then a normal reader groans. It's defies reality. You push us too far.
I have no choice, I want my money back. I want very much to have really enjoyed the book. God knows the plot is dazzling!
I only got this the other day and have already told everyone how good it is.
If you liked the Murder Bag (I loved it) for sure you will need to read this one.
Max of course. But the policeman that maintains the Black Museum is also a great character.
Colin Mace has become my favorite narrator. When he tells this story and The Murder Bag I get to where I wish the book was much longer. I stayed up for most of the night because of the narrator but Tony Parsons writes a great book so he had good material.
I have really enjoyed both of Tony's books. Thanks
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Very good series developing here, with multifaceted central character and solid writing. Keeping an eye on Tony Parsons - I expect even better things to come from him. Well worth the credit.
Tony Parsons is one hell of a writer. He either does excellent research into a lot of different things like boxing, various ways to die, history of different murders, etc. or he makes it very believable. The narration is also spot on!
I only have two issues - one is somewhat minor and one that I often overlook in books and that is the time between when things happen. Sometimes the timing is simply not possible or unbelievable. The biggest issue I have is that some of things that the detectives do in this book - I HOPE - would never happen. EX: Going back to the Travelers camp without back-up, to confront the killer after the Travelers had already nearly beat the crap out of them. Also, going into a huge mansion with known pedophiles without back-up only a few hours after being released from A&E after the Travelers beating. The injuries the team sustained during that raid would have been taken to court in the U.S. and the head of the unit would have likely been charged with negligence. I don't really think that the UK is that different.
BUT - this will not keep me from loving this author and DC Max Wolfe. DC Max Wolfe is a wonderful character. The stories are well written and well researched. If you like a good, sometimes gory, murder mystery - check this out. You won't be disappointed.
Interested in everything. Listening for something AMAZING...
***WARNING - SPOILERS***DC Max Wolfe's foray into the seedy underbelly world of London. What starts out as a gruesome but seemingly open and shut case of an unspeakable crime repeated turns into a search for a missing child that leads the reader through a tour of the most horrific and most heinous crimes against children. The twists and turns in this novel are enough to make your head spin, although the spin-off story was a bit much.
I loved the first novel in the series, the Murder Bag, all the way until the end, which was a anti-climatic epic let down. I didn't think the ending of the Murder Bag made much sense. The "who-dun-it" didn't ring true. The Slaughter Man let me down mid-way through when the police officers took a mob beating at the gypsy camp trying to make an arrest. The fact that they were attacked, beaten, and the bad guy got away makes it seem wholly unlikely they would be back on the street again within hours, continuing on with their shift like they had only skinned their knees getting out of the patrol car. It got even worse when they rushed into the dilapidated house to save the children and Max got stabbed, Edie got knocked out, acid was thrown on the boss and the other detective fell two stories, severing his spinal cord. There was a brief hospital scene for Max, his daughter and the Murphy family, but the next thing you know, Max is in the gym taking out his aggression on a heavy bag. And all the other detectives, minus the poor guy with the severed spinal cord, are all out and about like they had not just been through one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives, not the mention the administrative nightmare they would have to go through if they got beat in a mob and a murderer escaped, they were stabbed/injured on-duty, and a bad guy/informant died after he escaped a police car, tried to kill a cop and died while they were trying to apprehend him. The time frame may have been over the course of a couple of months (the big boss saying after that amount of time there was no way the missing kid was still alive), but even six months after that debacle and being stabbed in the stomach seems a little quick to be full on wailing on the heavy bag in a boxing gym and going about your regular police business!
One of the most appealing things about DC Wolfe is his relationship with his daughter, Scout and the third member of their family, Stan. And when you find out that when he "lost" his wife it means she left to have a whole other family, it makes him seem even more endearing, like you want to comfort him and save him. That being said, he sleeps with the widow of a murder victim, Natasha Buck, in the Murder Bag, and then he sleeps with the sister of a murder victim, Charlotte, in the Slaughter Man. What happen to Natasha? You'd think if the guy was going to risk his entire career by having sex with someone totally inappropriate, it would have been love, or at least worth a mention in the next novel!!! Again, in the Slaughter Man, he jeopardizes his career by sleeping with another woman in an investigation and then she just disappears out of his life in a red coat with her recovered nephew...I guess you gotta have sex/romance in novels these days, but Max sleeping around with inappropriate women takes away from his seemingly good guy status as a father. Maybe that is the intent, to show Max is not perfect and is fallible like any other human being, but it was a little far-fetched for me. I don't know, maybe the rules and regulations in England's Met are totally different than what they are here in the US for police procedure/ethics/behavior. I do know that I would never be a cop anywhere without a gun!!!
That all being said, I did purchase the Hanging Club (the third novel in the series) because the redeeming qualities of the stories are so compelling, that I excuse the above highly subjective and opinionated criticisms! The narration by Colin Mace is superb, making Max Wolfe and Scout almost real people to me. The stories are down right addictive, until a certain point anyway. I thoroughly enjoy Parson's writing style, his turn of phrases, prose, and his loyalty to his characters. I'm hoping the Hanging Club is a little more realistic in my view, but I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I won't be sorry I took the time to listen to it, just like I was not in the least sorry I took the time to listen to the Murder Bag and the Slaughter Man. Happy and continued listening!!!!
"Second outing for Max Wolfe "
Another enjoyable story from Tony Parsons.
Max Wolfe's team investigate the brutal murders of a family with what seems to be an ideal life style.
Through a series of unfolding events they track the murders down.. or do they?
I enjoyed this book and wait to see how the character develops in future additions to this series.
I am a great fan of Tony Parsons.
great book! I hope there is another.
The story is say and very dark but brilliant. well written.
Hope there will be more books just as fab.
"Fabulous & heart wrenching"
I loved this book. I loved it honesty and its tackling of some hard hitting topics. It's tough, it's truthful and its totally gripping. I love Max Wolf. I hope to see him again. He's tough & gentle, intuitive & kind. I love his relationship with his small daughter. Read it, you'll not be disappointed.
Interesting- well read and left me hanging on every word. Can't wait for the next in this series- if only to hear about Scout and Stan!!!
"There's a few moments to make you wince!"
Tough listening in some places but a really great story really well read! Different to the other Tony parsons novels I'd read/listened to and would def recommend !
"Started well and then ...."
I enjoyed the first third of the book and then it just went for a story that could build and take the reader on great journey to something that was random facts and information with a storyline that more and more unbelievable. Enjoyed a previous book but this seems like a desperate effort to push something out for the sake of it.
"Good story & well read"
first one, so I'm going to look for another
clear and expressive
no time for that
Pleased with my choice
"Possibly even better than the first"
The ability of the main character to cope with level of violence in these stories is the only thing I find slightly unbelievable while the juxtaposition of the tough cop and the soft hearted father provides a welcome change from the "damaged" policeman cliche. This is the sort of story that I will sit and listen to for hours
Can't wait for the next one - please make this a long series - I am already wondering who Scout will marry!
Many places this book is hard to listen to, it's deep, scary, shocking, and some of the violence is quite graphic, the research the writer has done is incredible
Don't expect a light-hearted, they all lived happily ever after thriller, it's not that
Listened to 40 books this year and this ranks number 2
"Gripping from the outset"
This was a great, twisted and sinister whodunit. The cockney narration added flavour.
I found the playback speed was hard to fix. I think that the original recording has been sped up. You can only halve the speed in the app, which was then too slow.
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