©2004 Susan Hill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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I usually love Susan Hill's novels or short stories but this was disappointing and dull - I found no likeable or believable characters to root for and the story is one I will have forgotten in a couple of days. I shan't be continuing with this series.
"Not sure about this one!"
The reviews for this book were good, and I am a fan of Susan Hill, but I found this story unsatisfactory - there were too many reasons for situations and actions that were not explained, so I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied by this book. The characters were well written and in the main likeable - but there were parts of the book where I found myself wondering 'Why?'.
"A very good book"
This book was, I thought, a bit slow to start but I kept listening - and I'm glad I did! It's got a bit of everything in it, love, family, crime and murder and it is excellently read by Steven Pacey. I liked it so much, I have purchased the next two books in the series and am currently enjoying the second! I would recommend this book if, like me, you enjoy personal/character stories running alongside the main crime/murder plot.
"Well read, but poor characterisation"
The story is well read, with the characters brought to life such as they are by the narrator. However, this is the major problem of the novel as the story is populated by stereotypes and the dialogue is clunky and difficult to believe in. This is a real shame as the story starts well and creates a powerful atmosphere; the plot of the story is similarly cleverly put together. But the characters, especially the central ones are wooden, and don't ring true; which makes them irritating rather than interesting, and hard to care about.
This is excellent: totally unexpected, beautifully read and keeps you guessing till the end. Brilliant!
The only trouble is Audible doesn't seem to have the second book in the series....
"Quite compelling, but ..."
First a word of commendation for Stephen Pacey who has done an excellent job with the narration.
The book is more difficult to sum up. If you are looking for a "straight" crime novel - a "whodunnit" - then this is not for you. If you are a fan of P D James then you might well find that Susan Hill has produced a set of characters and a milieu which will seem quite familiar. At first I thought that Simon Serrailer was just a little too like Dalgleish.
Serailler himself is not central to the police action and is mostly seen only through the eyes of other characters - most particularly that of Freya Swaffham, newly come to the CID force in Lafferton - a quiet cathedral town. I don't think I need to give a spoiler alert when I reveal that Freya, very early in the book, falls hopelessly in love with her new boss.
This is not the "Mills & Boon" that others have claimed. Susan Hill has tried to portray an intelligent woman in the throes of an unexpected passion. Unfortunately, although the intention is clear, the execution is flawed. She seems more at home writing about friendships than about love.
The plot works quite well, if you are expecting what Susan Hill delivers. This is not the fast-paced story of the modern "police procedural”. It builds slowly, involving many characters for whom the suspicious disappearances are of only peripheral importance. If you do not care for her cast of characters, then you will probably not like the book - the parallel with P D James is once again apt.
The villain of the piece has been introduced via a tape recording at the very beginning of the story, but without any way of identifying him. The revelation of his identity is the other major weakness in the plotting. There's a feeling that Susan Hill is saying, "Oh, by the way - the man in the tapes is so-and-so."
Still, I lost sleep to the story, wanting to know how things turned out. I shall certainly be getting the next volume, but not just yet.
Loved this book from the minute it started until the end, the reader was fabulous, I felt like I was in amongst the characters, they were so true to life. Can't wait to start the next one. A great listen, you will love it.
The narrator-Steven Pacey-was amazing,one of the best.The story itself was only so-so.The only thing that kept me listening was Steven Pacey;he kept me going.I'm pleased I didn't read the book.
The Dt Sergant was pathetic in personal relationships "damn,damn,damn........".I was: damn you,stupid cow! And Simon Serrelier hardly featured,other than a foil for the aforementioned D S.Disappointing.Great plot,some welldrawn characters,but too cloying for me.There are better stories to listen too.
"A good sense of place"
I was new to Susan Hill, and enjoyed this very much. The places, especially the cathedral city, were very real. The characters were a little less convincing. The Serrailer clan seemed such a perfect, smug lot (but they may improve in later books) and the main female character's schoolgirl obsession with her boss rather silly. Steven Pacey's reading was excellent and I will certainly listen to more in the series.
Not my usual type of book, but bought it during one of Audible's monthly promos. Was very impressed, and have recommended to friends and the wife. Well read and written
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