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Publisher's Summary

A killer is on the loose, blurring the line between fact and fiction. His prey - the writers of crime novels who have turned psychological profilers into the heroes of the nineties. But this killer is like no other. His bloodlust shatters all the conventional wisdom surrounding the motives and mechanics of how serial killers operate. And for one woman, the desperate hunt to uncover his identity becomes a matter of life and death.

Professor Fiona Cameron is an academic psychologist who uses computer technology to help police forces track serial offenders. She used to help the Met, but vowed never to work for them again when they went against her advice and badly screwed up an investigation as a consequence. Still smarting from the experience, she's working a case in Toledo when her lover, thriller writer Kit Martin, tells her a fellow crime novelist has been murdered. It's not her case, but Fiona can't help taking an interest.

Which is just as well, because before too long the killer strikes again. And again. And Fiona is caught up in a race against time, not only to save a life, but to bring herself redemption, both personal and professional.

Rich in atmosphere, Killing the Shadows uses the backdrops of city and country to create an air of threatening menace, culminating in a tense confrontation between hunter and hunted, a confrontation that can have only one outcome.

©2002 Val McDermid (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    14
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Too much

I read a lot of mysteries containing explicit violence. But there is a point at which mutilations and killings become too gruesome and take up so much of the book that skipping over the extreme violence leaves you with hardly anything to read. I suspect that publishers require their authors to top the level of "gruesomeness" in each new book. That is regrettable.

I doubt I'm alone in my growing avoidance of books like "Killing the Shadow". Only so much prolonged, repetitive, excruciatingly graphic and detailed descriptions of mutilations/murders can be tolerated. I only wish there was a violence rating scale so that I didn't accidentally buy books like this one.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Suspense till the end

Would you consider the audio edition of Killing the Shadows to be better than the print version?

Since I haven't read the print version I wouldn't know

What did you like best about this story?

I suppose the story itself it what I most enjoyed. The fact that you were never quite sure of what was to happen next, is to me what keeps me listening. The narration was also excellent. Even with minor changes in her voice the characters became believable and real.

Which scene was your favorite?

I totally enjoyed the entire performance

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I prefer books that have a substantial length so I can stretch them out over days.

Any additional comments?

I have listened to dozens of books over my years with audible and can say this is one of my all time favorites. I am familiar with Val McDermids work both in books and TV and always find them compelling both in subject and construction.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing, creaky plot

What better subject could there be for a mystery writer than a serial killer targetting mystery writers? Yet this book suffers from significant plot weaknesses--basically, characters must display incredible stupidity or stubborness for the plot to advance. The underlining motive of the villain was, in my view, ridiculous. That said, there were moments of suspense, and some interesting characterizations. The narration was fine. This was the first book I've read by McDermid. I had high hopes because of her Diamond Dagger win (lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Assoc.), but I was disappointed. I'll probably give another book a chance, but I won't rush to do so.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging Story and Characters

I enjoyed this novel; it held my interest. I cared what happened to the characters. It's not Val McDermid's best--I prefer her more recent novels; she gets better and better in my opinion.

This wasn't the worst reading I've encountered, by far. The pacing and general expressiveness were very good. In a book with this many significant characters a professional reader must make a choice--whether to try to give each character a distinctive sound, or to favor general plausibility in terms of tone and pacing. I prefer plausibility, some variation for characters, but remaining within the bounds of normal speech patterns; the reader seems to have tried to give each character a unique voice, implausibly making intelligent characters, including a reasonably intelligent DCI (not a career that favors hesitancy) speak hesitantly, almost robotically.

Nonetheless, an entertaining and engaging listen--exactly what I want from audiobooks in this genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Atrocious reader!!!!

How could the performance have been better?

The timbre of the reader's voice is nice but the teeth whistle and continuously changing sound quality (or total lack thereof) is ridiculous. This kills the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A 3

I'm listening to quite a few of her books right now. Even in these readArama days, this book gave me: flat characters, long winded and dull plot, relief that there appears to be no sequel

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

hard to suspend disbelief in some spots

Would you try another book from Val McDermid and/or Vari Sylvester?

well at least give it another try. I have enjoyed other books by her, but this is not her best

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Areas of misinformation : seasoned runners never wear sweat pants ever. runners wear only wicking material such as polyester. runners are too OCD to stop running at 5.5 miles. She would go to six. In 2000, when I lived in Ireland, no one could own property unless their grandparents were full Irish.Unable to suspend disbelief: Surprised me that the victims didn't pour over their offending text to give some warning to the upcoming attack. Georgia could've kept the windows up and called for help on her mobile. Kit could have realized the delivery man with a bundle of books as the killer and kept the door closed.While he might have figured the murderer had been arrested, certainly the deliveryman would have given him pause.

Which character – as performed by Vari Sylvester – was your favorite?

Fiona

Was Killing the Shadows worth the listening time?

yes, but a bit too long.

Any additional comments?

McDermid certainly has a fabulous command of language, setting a sense of place and building suspense.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An engaging read....

Although rather predictable, I enjoyed this book. Other reviews warned about excessive gore....but I did not find this story about serial killers and the authors who write novels about them any more "gory" than many other murder-thrillers I've read.
Is this her best book? No. But I enjoyed it none the less.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

auical slog

What would have made Killing the Shadows better?

different narator, tighter plot

Has Killing the Shadows turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

How could the performance have been better?

oh my gosh,yes! will not be listening to any more performances by this narrator

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

ho hum, impatience, disbelief

Any additional comments?

the narrator sounds like she is gargling gravel, and has a thirty pack a day habbit. the audio is so poor at times it sounds like its coming thru a tin can and other times under water.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Kingston, WA, United States
  • 04-30-11

Chick flick police procedural

Light on story, heavy on emotion. Predictable. Narrator makes this worse. Her voice for the guys makes them sound like drag queen parodies.

I have read other Val McDermoid and enjoyed them. This one was nauseating.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful