When Simon Serrailler was a rookie constable with the Met, he did something reckless in the course of a night's work which caused a man's death....
Mark Randall lay dead in a field near Lowacre long before Smith had done what he had to do in Belfast....
Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross....
A chilling and compelling debut crime thriller set in South East London....
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others....
The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Adler- Olsen's Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck....
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation....
Scott Finn survived a childhood running errands for crime kingpins to become a six-figure lawyer at a prestigious Boston firm....
The unthinkable has happened in a small community outside of San Francisco. A series of shocking murders has occurred, the victims far too innocent and defenseless....
Quirke's brother-in-law has tampered with a corpse. And as Quirke searches for the facts behind the woman's death, he comes up against some well-guarded secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society....
DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she's seen a girl die in her arms, and her daughter will never leave the hospital again. She's gotten tough on the criminals....
Before the death of his wife, Sean O'Brien makes a promise to her that he has no plans to break until he starts building a new life....
A week's holiday in a luxurious hotel is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs....
Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway....
Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He studied politics and philosophy at Oxford before moving to America in the early 1990s....
Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms....
A gripping stand-alone thriller from the Sunday Times number one best-selling author of the Logan McRae series....
Although set conventionally in a country cathedral city with pleasant villages around, this detective story is certainly not "cosy". It is presented in the format whereby the thoughts of a very creepy killer are interspersed between the thoughts and feelings of the victims and description of the police actions. In this respect it is extremely well written and although you may often suspect what is about to happen it is still frighteningly suspenseful and almost impossible to stop listening.
The book also highlights the particular gullibility of those who are unhappy or depressed and how easy it is for them to be exploited and manipulated by the unscrupulous.
The large and varied cast of civilian characters, even minor ones, are interesting and well described. DCI Simon Serailler is as yet a fascinating enigma and it is fortunate that there are further books to come where we mayl find out more about him and his team. It is good to see that they are also narrated by Steven Pacey who makes each character an individual and adds much to the enjoyment of listening to this book and I definitely look forward to listening to the rest of the series.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Various Haunts of Men to be better than the print version?
Susan Hill is equally good on the page and on audiobook. Steven Pacey's tone, pace and expression are well judged.
What did you like best about this story?
The Serrailler family is so well depicted that I feel I know them. I have a strong mental image of the farmhouse kitchen, Simon's flat and the cathedral close.<br/>Crime fiction which concentrates on the 'why' as much as the 'who' appeals to me. The crime is always in a social and even, in the broadest sense, political context.
What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?
The narration is not overstated. As a listener one is aware of the content rather than the performance.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Susan Hill is in touch with the full range of human emotions and shares them with us intelligently.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Great narration of an absorbing book. Fabulously entertaining. I listened to it in the car and it was wonderful.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I had really been looking forward to this one, but I wish someone had warned me about the milquetoast characters, the cliches, and the ridiculous emotions of the protagonist. This is like an attempt by a love-sick 14 year old school girl to write a script for an long episode of Criminal Minds. The protagonist is a Detective Sergeant - well placed in the police department - but she has no concerns about having a crush on her boss and mentally gushes like a teenager (she didn't want to delete a voicemail message so she could keep a recording of his voice). Of course, she is sure she will be the one woman who can turn him from his history of bad relationships so he will become a man of emotional substance and fidelity. When confronted with a suspect in her home, she asks politely for her cell phone that he had taken ("could you give that back please") and thinks about escaping to run and shout manically into the night for the police, apparently forgetting that she IS the police and should have better resources than that. I thought her an embarrassment to the police force, not just to female detectives.
There seemed to be an awful lot of emphasis on physical appearance and superficial surroundings, with frequent descriptions of everything from bodies and hairstyles, to food and decor. One detective was repeatedly referred to as being unattractive (I think the phrase "his monkey face" was used several times), while a victim was almost never mentioned without reference to her either being overweight or having acne. Is that what we''re supposed to focus on about these people? Is that supposed to make the more "real",interesting, or sympathetic? It makes me roll my eyes in exasperation. Then add in the occasional conversation on the glories of motherhood or the wonders of small-town living, and it gets even more juvenile, in my opinion.
The villain in cliched, the setting is cliched, the doctor is cliched, and the depiction of the police is either sexist or comically inept. I'd recommend you take a pass.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I was very impressed with this book. It kind of reminded me of the style of Jussi-Adler Olsen and Steig Larrson. The story was suspenseful and moved at a comfortable pace.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Before listening to The Various Haunts of Men I have read only one book by Susan Hill - The Man in the Picture - and was captivated by its gothic atmosphere and stylish writing. Perhaps that raised my bar too high. I was a bit dissapointed by this book. The plot is familiar to anyone who follows Midsomer Murders - cosy villages and toy towns harbouring deep secrets and a host of macabre characters. However, it is still masterfully written, if unoriginal and forgettable. The characters rather flat and anyone with interest in crime/ mystery genre will be having deja vu's many times. I could fare better with my credit...
Narrator is very good, though...
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
This book proved to be quite a *page turner* for me (or its audio equivalent), even though I've been making lots of noises in resent past about not liking to read about female victims and serial killers, be it fiction or otherwise. And then of course, I get excited about a book that is all about... mostly female victims (a dog too!) and... a serial killer. I went as far as sacrificing my bedtime reading session last night, which I always devote to an eye-eading book usually, but there was just one hour to go and I just HAD to finish it then and there. Describing the storyline without spoilers doesn't yield anything terribly original, and you can read the summary anywhere, but I'll say what made this one click for me was the main characters; the fact they all evolve in a small tight-knit community (some of the protagonists are family members of Simon Serailler, the hero of the series); also what I'd have to characterize as a woman's point of view, with lots of little details that only a woman would think to put in, which somehow made the whole mess bypass the inner critic who is always ready to ban disturbing reading from my life. I'll be continuing with the next book in the Simon Serrailler series for sure.
The narrator Steven Pacey added a lot to my enjoyment and I'm glad he narrated all the subsequent books so far.
Would you listen to The Various Haunts of Men again? Why?
Yes, it was an interesting story.
What did you like best about this story?
I found the story engaging and I did not see a twist in the story coming. The killer is quite a chilling character and it kept me guessing who it was among the characters. I liked the way the story unfolded, it set a good pace.
Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
no, but he read it very well.
Any additional comments?
A very good audio book, and the start of a detective series, I am looking forward to hearing more.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I couldn't put it down. Brilliant narrator, no stumbles or stutters apparent. Good plot and interesting characters who could be easily visualised. Would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery.
26 of 28 people found this review helpful
Susan Hill's early novels were of the serious sort still labelled 'literary' and I devoured them when they appeared. I became aware that she had turned herself into a more 'popular' author when she started a stint as scriptwriter on The Archers. This is the first book of hers I have read since then.
I don't read many crime novels, because I expect to find them formulaic, like so many TV shows. 'The Various Haunts of Men' is certainly a strongly characterised, rather surprising story - for one thing, a highly sympathetic character is killed off - and death is deeply felt, not just material for a puzzle.
My reservation, though, is that the author appears to be too fond of some of her people, making them almost cloyingly altruistic and unrelievedly kind, like the worst sort of soap-opera stalwarts. She depicts the police as 100% dedicated, unprejudiced public servants, which really they are not. Her female characters seem to be over-busy for a novel - always doing drop-scones and meticulously making beverages; which is rather a lazy way for a writer to imply the ordinary background to extraordinary events.
Despite these peevish criticisms, I was glad to have downloaded the book. It had a strong sense of place, one I look forward to revisiting in the sequels. Steven Pacey is an excellent reader, reminding me of the superb David Timson.
I disagree with two points made by other reviewers. First, I am fed up of every piece of art or entertainment being classified as 'for women/men'. This stupid commodification of EVERYTHING by the gender binary is just another marketing ploy that most people seem happy to buy into. Come on, we are all human beings, and we all need stories. There's a middle ground, and this book belongs in it, as do most well-written novels. Secondly, the ending of Susan Hill's book is perfectly in tune with tone of her narrative, which stresses psychological development, not merely suspense and satisfying retribution.
34 of 37 people found this review helpful
It took me a little time to get into this story, but once I did I was hooked into nearly 15 hours of a complex and surprising story. Susan Hill has avoided many of the cliches of crime fiction creating well-rounded and believable characters, including the police men and women. Unlike real-life, as befits the genre, the crimes are meticulously planned by a highly intelligent psychopath. I didn't twig who this was until it was revealed near the end of the book.
It's not just a well-crafted crime thriller, but also explores alternative versus conventional medical treatments as part of the fabric of the story. Initially I was concerned that the author might be trying to encourage patients with serious conditions, such as cancer, to try alternative medicine in place of effective treatments, but was relieved that this turned out not to be the case.
Steven Pacey's reading of the book is superb: he brings the different voices convincingly to life. I don't know how these readers manage it, but the best of them can switch from being female to male; young to old; regional accent to accent without caricaturing their voice.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
This was very well read and enjoyable. However, I felt that, suddenly, the author ran out of steam and interest as the ending was rather abrupt and various story lines were left in the air. Up to this point it was very engrossing. Suitable for both men and women.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
I've always been an enthusiastic reader of detective novels, but recently I've found my pallet getting a bit jaded. This, however, is very well written and a bit different. According to the blurb, it's the first of a series featuring Simon Serrailler, but Serrailler himself doesn't actually appear all that often and instead the novel is focused through others. It weaves together the narratives of several different characters, leaving you to guess how they all fit together and who the killer might be. The narrator reads clearly and effectively, differentiating the voices of different characters without overdoing it. It isn't a novel that you're going to keep coming back to, but it is a very enjoyable listen.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is a beautifully written book, and beautifully read. The characters are rounded and recognisable. These are the people we meet in our daily lives who are dealing with tragedy. The plot is lively and there are twists and turns. I enjoyed every second and thoroughly recommend it. This book will appeal to both men and women.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful
A good solid crime story with lots of dark corners to explore and some neat pen-portraits. So why only 4 stars? I felt the characters of Simon Serrailler and Freya Graffam to be a little cliche. There was a little bit too much of "woman escaping bad relationship to start again" in Freya and a little too much of the strong silent enigmatic alpha-male about Simon. Put those two aspects together and at times there were sections which read like a formulaic romance novel rather than a murder mystery. No reason why an author cannot have both romance and murder in one novel, but it needs to be done with more finesses than it is here. But that cannot take away from a sound plot and some other interesting characters. The ending is also good. I had already formed in my mind where the sequels would go with the characters only to have the rug pulled out from under me! Definately worth a read but bear in mind the peculiar treatment of the two main characters and read past the cliches if you can.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Susan Hill usually manages to scare the pants off me and has pulled this off (if you pardon the pun) with applomb. She manages to lull us into a sense of security in this sleepy little dormer town even though we know things are going on. Hill constucts a gradual psychological build up amongst a cast of well developed characters right up to the 'twist of the knife' ending. The reader - Stephen Pacey - skillfully brings each character to life, adding to the drama and climax of the story.
This is the first of Hill's 'Simon Serrailler' series and I'm looking forward to listening to others in the series providing I'm somewhere safe and with the lights on.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
To start a crime series with a book that gives you quite a small glimpse of the central detective is definitely something that bit different. I heard about the Simon Serraller series via one of my favourite Radio 4 programmes "A Good Read" and the panel's discussion really made me prick up my ears. I was delighted to discover that the series was on audible and believe the whole experience has been made even better by an absolutely tremendous reader that I have not come across before. Full marks to Steven Pacey. I became absolutely wrapped up in the characters of this story, in the little details of their lives, some of which of course cleverly mirror your own. I think I am right in remembering another reviewer saying the end was poor and I too feel it lost its way a little. Having said that the main element of the 'end' will I am sure surprise you as much as it did me. I certainly hadn't seen it coming.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
really enjoyed this audio book. its the first of series of three. iv already requested the second one for my next moths choice. easy to listen to. good characters & really well read. i get 'comfortable' with a lead character & the simon serrailler is 'most agreeable'! its definately worth a listen
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This was a great read. The author managed the complex relationships of plot and subplot and between characters with a truly deft touch. It was refreshing to see the main character drawn by the reaction of a subordinate by emotional response moderated by her self awareness. More than a detective story this was good fiction.