©2004 Susan Hill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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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
"All came together in the end"
I was a little bit bored early on with this. It seemed to go into too much detail of mundane things in peoples lives and I was beginning to lose interest but it did brighten up and I really got into it towards the end. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed it even if I was saddened by the ending. Good narration and I will read more of the series.
"Mills and Boone meets crime"
One of the very few books I dreaded to continue to listen to. There were so many characters build up - and then nothing happened. I am also not a big fan of that alternative healing mumbo-jumbo which made it difficult for me to like the characters. As for Simon Serrailer, a famous artist who also happens to work for the police, I had seldom experienced a less believable character. The description when Freya "knew that she fell in love with him" nearly made me gag. I appreciate that this is a crime (???) novel for the female readers, but it is not for me.
"Enthralling but found the end a damp squib"
Thought this book was quite spell-binding in places with excellent suspense and good character development most of the time. I did find the end disappointing. Another reviewer has said that the ending is in keeping with the style of the book which is probably true but doesn't change the fact that it just sort of dribbles out like a damp squib (for me anyway!) I think this was more keenly felt by me because I was still in shock about a very key character just being killed off.
Steven Pacey is a great narrator and reads the characters perfectly.
My first Susan Hill book, and boy was I so not disappointed! Brilliantly put together from start to finish and throughout real edge of the seat listening, never wanted to put this one down or stop listening for very long, I looked forward when I could snatch a few moments here and there to hear a bit more each time. Its labelled as a crime thriller and whilst that is true its much more than that, you get a real sense of each character, their life within the town, family, Simon Serrailler initially doesnt appear to be the main focus of the story which is surprising but gives good grounding to the investigation which in itself was difficult to guess on the outcome of until near the end. I must mention Steven Pacey here as well, beautifully narrated, totally brings the characters and background to life in a stunning performance. Hill and Pacey as a duo provide one of the most thrilling books I've read in ages, 6 stars !!
Another reviewer already said it "Too many descriptives and not enough suspense". I'd have to agree. The worse thing is that the author spends a huge amount of time trying to get you to like the characters which are about as interesting dish water. You end up not really caring by the end of the book who did what or why! I bought the book based on previous rating, each to their own I suppose.
This book is just so well written and the narrator Steven Pacey reads with such feeling that he really does the author justice. Susan Hill has written a detective story but hidden within is a love story of such vibrancy that the book feels real and as other customers have said is not put down able. The book is just a wonderful read full of real people that care for each other with an ending that is very much unexpected.
"A good romp"
The narration is exceptional yet again and alone makes this a good listen.
The story itself is involving, if somewhat slow to start, and with Stephen Pacey narrating it makes for a page turner. Just don't expect anything deep and meaningful: if anything it's all rather contrived, silly and shallow.
This is the kind of book that keeps you amused as a ripping yarn and it does that well.
"A very different detective novel"
Stephen Pacey is an excellent reader for this book and helps to establish the atmosphere very well. The first in a trilogy the story builds the tension well, but doesn't attempt to resolve everything neatly by the end. The police characters feel more real - they aren't driven individuals, hounded by unreasonable senior officers. The pressures are there, but they come from the circumstances of the crimes and the pressures and expectations of the public and the press. The characters also have their own personalities, but are like many of us with hidden feelings and just trying to get on with work and life, even the killer. The whole mixture comes together in a well-paced, gripping story with some satisfying surprises.
"An aural 'page-turner'!"
I downloaded this book as I had just finished reading Susan Hill's 'The Beacon' which I thought was excellent.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Various Haunts of Men. A lot of attention is paid to giving us fully rounded characters and at first I thought this amount of detail was a bit too much but I can see it being helpful to support the plotlines through three books. I feel as if I know these characters pretty well now and I'm sure the other two books in the series will benefit from this earlier knowledge.
The plot is very good although I agree with an earlier reviewer that there are a few loose ends left dangling at the end of the book.
The narration is superb and fits the characters very well indeed.
I have just downloaded Pure in Heart and I'm very much looking forward to it. If it's as good as this first book in the trilogy I'm in for a treat!
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