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Publisher's Summary

Winter 1963: two children have disappeared off the streets of Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun. On a freezing day in December, another child goes missing: 13-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from her town, an insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case: a murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he'd have found in the anonymity of the inner city, and an outcome which reverberates through the years.

Decades later he finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote, but just when the book is poised for publication, Bennett unaccountably tries to pull the plug. He has new information which he refuses to divulge, new information that threatens the very foundations of his existence. Catherine is forced to re-investigate the past, with results that turn the world upside down.

A Greek tragedy in modern England, A Place of Execution is a taut psychological thriller that explores, exposes and explodes the border between reality and illusion in a multi-layered narrative that turns expectations on their head and reminds us that what we know is what we do not know.

©2001 Val McDermid; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story

Truly amazing

One of the best books I have ever read or listened to. I found myself simultaneously wanting to listen to the whole thing in one sitting and rationing the story because it was so good. I had seen the 1st half of the miniseries and decided to read the book before seeing the 2nd half because I was so drawn into the story. I knew that there would be a plot twist, but I never quite guessed the ending. It kept me on my toes and interested the whole time. I immediately downloaded another Val McDermid book. I hope it is half as good!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • tallevast, FL, United States
  • 03-13-12

Great book

Would you listen to A Place of Execution again? Why?

Yes. The story line was great. Some of the best writing I found, since I started reading Reginald Hill. Paddy Glynn was a very good narrator.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It definitely kept me guessing and I was guessing a lot. I listen while I work in the service industry & It kept me company.

Which scene was your favorite?

It wasn't a scene as much as the journey through multiple scenes.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • G.
  • boulder creek, ca
  • 05-14-10

Intricate village mystery, court drama, procedural

In 1963 there is a village called Scarsdale where time still exists in a feudal system as it has for hundreds of years. The Squire still owns the land and reigns supreme in general as an overlord. Only this squire has inherited his position and isn't from the village, making him an unpopular outsider. When his teenaged step daughter goes missing his reluctant cooperation with investigators makes him even more loathsome to everyone, especially George Bennett, lead detective on the case.

This is a village mystery holding hands with a police procedural. George Bennett is new to the area, his wife pregnant with their first child, but he can think of little else beyond the case. In fact the case will shape his destiny. The picturesque village is a tight knit community, an extended family in reality. They don't trust the cops, or anyone else for that matter. They're in a tough position because the distrust is innate, but they want to find Alison's killer and bring them to justice.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • lyl
  • nashville, tn, United States
  • 03-21-13

WOW!!!

One of the 5 best mysteries that I have ever read or listened to and I am 72 years old! The plot, the characters, and the narrator were all perfect. Obviously it is not a run of the mill mystery. you can get info on the story elsewhere. I believe it is my job to share my experience and thoughts on the quality of the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • J. S.
  • California - United States
  • 01-03-12

A Great Listen

Where does A Place of Execution rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

So good I listened to it straight through to the end.

What other book might you compare A Place of Execution to and why?

Her works remind me of the BBC series Midsomer Murders that I own.

What about Paddy Glynn???s performance did you like?

She did a great job with developing different voices for different characters . . . was easy to listen to. Would look forward to listening to other works she has narrated.

Any additional comments?

First introduced to V. McDermid through the PBS series WIRE IN THE BLOOD that I liked so much I wanted to read more from her. Since then I have listened and downloaded most of her books and am enjoying the prospect of reading all of them. She tells a great story . . .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 10-22-11

Rewarding story takes a while to get there.

Complex plot, was hard to stay with for the first half of the book. Narrator keeps you listening. Eventually a great yarn!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mary
  • Centerville, TN, United States
  • 06-22-11

Another great author to add to my wish list!!

This was the first book for me by Val McDermid and I really enjoyed it a great deal... I love discovering "new" writers (new to me) and will definitely read more from this author!! I almost liked the narrator who found just the right tone for this kind of story... Great book and I highly recommend it!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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very smart

I loved this storyline. It kept me guessing throughout. The court scenes were written with great intelligence. Altogether an excellent work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So frustrating

I really enjoyed this book, up until the last twenty minutes or so. Without spoiling the ending, all I can say is that one character acts radically out of character, in a way that really spoiled it for me. A storyline should be guided by its characters, so if an author wants an outcome that is inconsistent with the character, the author should either provide a very good explanation for the character's unexpected reversal or just rewrite the character. That character was caricature anyway. A lazy ending to an outstanding book. Actually, if the book had just consisted of the first half, I would probably have given it 5 stars. What a shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story ...... a little lazy in places

Let me start of by saying, I'm a fan of Val McDermid. She creates believable characters, does an excellent job with plot, describes environment skillfully and keeps the pace moving along. And overall I enjoyed this ....... it made a lot of car time a lot less boring. I do think there was the occasional lapse into lazy writing - how many times can someone say something "negligently" for example, and really what does that mean? That is picky of me I know. If you want a good listen - to a story that on the face is not believable, but her writing makes it so - then this is for you. If you are a little picky for writing quality, be prepared.