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Publisher's Summary

An enduring top-10 best-seller, and a genuinely gripping novel in the spirit of Ruth Rendell and Elizabeth George.

London-based detective Tom Thorne has his work cut out. The killer chose his target at Euston station, followed her and strangled her to death. The victim wasn't his first in North London, and Thorne realises the murders are happening simultaneously. This is not a serial killer Thorne is up against... this is two of them.

©2002 Mark Billingham (P)2003 WF Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Beverley
  • North Riding, South Africa
  • 03-13-13

Dark and disturbing story

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Considering that this is a murder story where the murderer is a psychopath, the storyline is quite good. It is quite dark and disturbing. I did enjoy listening to the story, but did not enjoy the amount of swearing in the book. Perhaps that is realistic, but I found it excessive

If you’ve listened to books by Mark Billingham before, how does this one compare?

Not applicable

What aspect of Christopher Kay’s performance would you have changed?

His performance was acceptable

Did Scaredy Cat inspire you to do anything?

Not listen to another book from this author

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 12-01-17

Disappointing

I’ve listened to a number of the author’s books and looking back at my reviews I see that my level of enjoyment has varied a lot from book to book. The present book falls into the not so enjoyable category for me. There is too much nastiness and unpleasant characters on the verge of violence especially DI Thorne. The one female character, a police sergeant, is a caricature of recklessness and crudity. I’m so weary of maverick policemen in conflict with, in their view, less able superiors. It’s such a cliche.

The narrative switches back and forth from the present day to the 1980s. I found the chapters set in the 1980s confusing and the characters and events described didn’t make sense until much later in the book. My main criticism of the book is its meandering style with lots of verbiage that doesn’t add much and when a crescendo in the story should have been building up there’s lots of chit chat. The revelation of the main culprit was pulled out of the hat without any clues being laid earlier in the story.

Unlike some of the other reviewers I thought the narrator was good. Even if the accents were sometimes a bit iffy at least it helped in identifying the different characters.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Irene
  • 10-07-15

Good listen

The story was compelling with well rounded characters and kept in suspense to end. Liked the humanity of characters.
Narration could have been better. Local dialects a bit ropey.
A good listen in series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo
  • 03-14-15

Cracking story, with a clever twist!!

I did think that some of the accents were dubious!!! But on the whole not badly read. An enjoyable listen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • trazie
  • 07-04-15

Only one star because I can't give it none!

This book is slow and self indulgent. If you are looking for a pacy thriller then this is not for you. Loads of swearing for no reason ( I have no problem with swearing) I just think he put it in to wake up the listener because the story is so slow! It is rare for me not to finish a book especially when all I have to do is listen but this is rubbish! In my opinion.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • 05-28-13

Good story - terrible accents!

I agree with one of the previous reviewers. While I found the book gripping and wanted to get to the end of the story, I also found the use of bad language rather gratuitous. Other authors manage to get a "gritty" storyline over without resorting to this kind of language. I found that after a while it grated - and certainly didn't add anything to the plot. While I'm sure that this kind of language gets used by both the police and criminals, is it really necessary to litter it amongst the dialogue?

I also found the reader disappointing when he tried to do any regional accents. When he was reading normally he was very good, but most of the accents were terrible! His brummie accent left a lot to be desired and the Geordie one wasn't much better!

All this aside, I did enjoy the book, but would also think twice before buying another if Mark Billingham's writing style means that he will resort to expletives on such a regular basis.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • katy
  • 07-23-12

5 star read

A very good, twisting, crime thriller. D.I. Thorne's character is brought out well and guessing the ending is difficult. A five star read typical of Mark Billingham, well read by Christopher Kay.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gwen Owen
  • 10-08-11

Good story spoiled

Whilst the storyline in this book is good I find the gratuitous use of foul language quite disturbing and it adds nothing. As this was the first of Mark Billingham's novels that I have read I presume this is is normal for him and therefore I won't be wasting my money in future. I am finding this a rather unpleasant trend in modern novelists and I object to having this sort of language assailing my ears. I wish Audible could have a symbol to indicate that a book contains a lot of foul language. I don't mind the odd word but not as bad as this.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Allan MacDonald
  • 09-22-17

A good story sadly ruined by bad narration.

This is an interesting and engaging story, one which darts and feints so that even devotees of detective fiction aren't able to predict exactly what will happen. Thorne is a good example of the troubled detective archetype, without ever straying into cliche - it's easy to see him as a realistic character. The dialogue is good, and has the verisimilitude of police interaction. Those who complain about the language are perhaps slightly unrealistic about how policemen talk (I work in a hospital, and the dialogue wouldn't even raise an eyebrow there). Perhaps those who are looking for the more twee Inspector Linley mysteries and its ilk will find it too much, the rest of us should be fine.

That the language is even noticeable perhaps speaks to the major negative of this audiobook, the narration. The narrator swears like someone who never does, rather than the swearing-as-punctuation intended by the author and this sticks out like a sore thumb.

The narration in general is very poor. The narrator is completely incapable of doing regional accents (his Brummie is OK, the rest are execrable. I could do a better job, and my children regularly request their bedtime stories "without the voices". It really is that bad). He is also very poor at discerning voices and his "normal" voice seems a poor fit for the character of Thorne.

For the first time ever, I considered returning the book because of the narration rather than its content, and I am seriously considering contacting the author to make him aware of this - I would otherwise be very keen to listen to the other books in this series, but not with this voice acting.

I'm sure the narrator is a very nice chap and kind to animals, but I will avoid his voice acting in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-13

fantastic

I read most of marks books the narrator is fantastic at taking you to your imagination some books get spoilt by narrative however this one does not disappoint, fantastic from start to finish. Highly recommended to those who enjoy crime thillers with a twist

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • J D
  • 03-27-15

Awful reading and swearing ruin this book.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No.
The reading is dreadful and the continuous swearing by many of the characters including teachers and senior police officers was unrealistic and highly irritating.

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

Made better use of the English language.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Kay?

William Gaminara.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • 08-11-17

Awful narration

I'd read the book previously, and and a big fan of the author. I have many of the audio books as do a lot of driving and like to listen to them. This one, however, was a struggle. the narration is terrible. His speaking voice is ok, but the accents are the worst I've ever heard.

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  • Lyndel
  • 08-23-16

I've seen plot on UK telemovie

Beware. worst narration I've ever heard in many years of Audible listening. This plot Ive seen on two UK telemovies. I wouldn' t give it away tho.