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Publisher's Summary

Emma didn't know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn't know how long he peered out, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerized, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn't know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local 19-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed five young women.

How far would you go to save your life?

©2016 John Nicholl (P)2016 John Nicholl

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb Storytelling!

I was given this audiobook in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is one of the best mysteries I've listened to in a long time. Very realistic and suspenseful! A definite must for your library.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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loved it, but.......

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. This was an absolutely fantastic book. The story was great. Easy to get sucked into. It was easy to follow, intelligently written and very descriptive. The narrator was fantastic. Easy to listen too. Smooth voice and pleasing to listen too. My only complaint is that I almost felt robbed at the end of the book. I felt like the story just ended without a lot of explanation. I mean, it made sense, but i just needed more. Otherwise it was awesome.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story!!

What a great story with an unexpected twist and a great ending. I loved this one.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Julia
  • McCra Vic
  • 12-01-16

Great Book

Another chilling book by John Nicholl, made all the more scary by listening to Jake Urry, the complement each other so well, guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Scary and Suspenseful

Would you consider the audio edition of Portraits of the Dead to be better than the print version?

Didn't have a chance to compare, but audio was very well narrated.

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

The plot, cast of characters, and narration made it very pleasant listen.

What about Jake Urry’s performance did you like?

Jake is my favorite. He makes the book come alive through the deep tones of his voice. I enjoy his books thoroughly.

Any additional comments?

"This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it.

I was provided this book at no cost in exchange for listening and providing an unbiased opinion.
I enjoyed the story line. I think as you listen it will remind you of some other stories, but the ending is a twist. I wear hearing aids and sometimes have trouble with other accents. This is either British or Irish with a brogue. It also is set overseas, so the characters are constables and such. Just FYI if you need the information.
Definitely worth adding to your library.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another amazing John Nicholl/Jake Urry Combo!

It was extremely difficult to put this book down. John Nicholl did it again.. and again with an amazing Jake Urry to perform the story!

Portraits of the Dead is a terrifying thriller that will keep you on the egde the whole time. I was annoyed to get disturbed during my listening and I was terrified with what happened in the book. John Nicholl can really find the sick elements of a persons mind and make it live. The plot take many turns and you'll know who the villian is throughout the book and that makes it amazing to get stories from different POVs. You might get annoyed with the police though, they should know better. But they don't!

The ending took me by surprise, but didn't disappoint… as long as this book gets a sequel. It could be an amazing plot for book 2, so I really hope the author keeps writing. Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense.

Jake Urry is amazingly scary when performing this story and I hope John Nicholl continues to use Jake for his books. Jake Urry narrates in many emotional stages and sends chills down your spine. He uses sound effects in his production and that's awesome! Thanks for this John Nicholl/Jake Urry combo!

*This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Portraits of the Dead

Wow this keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are some great unexpected twist and turns in the book! I expected an epilogue, but their was not one so maybe a part 2? Fantastic unexpected ending! Jake did an amazing job with narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Totally. Awesome.

Any additional comments?

This was one of the best serial killer books I've listened to in a while, and I freaking love these books! A fantastic mystery, good characters, some sudden twists and a satisfying ending. I liked every minute of it. Jake Urry is endlessly fantastic at audio book narration.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Portraits of the Dead

This was a very creepy but great book! I was glad I got a chance to listen to it. I loved it. It was scary and I was pulling for Emma the whole book. I was hoping she made it. I think the characters were believable in this book and the plot was scary. "This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Vicki Goodwin
  • 10-31-16

Delectably chilling

I have come to expect severe psychological depravity when I read John Nicholl's books. This book did not disappoint in that aspect. The evil kidnapper has taken and killed at least five other women before he took Emma. Emma is held in a darkened area without knowing day from night, hours from days and days from weeks. He insisted on servitude from her while he tortured her and taunted her. It was chilling and sickeningly fascinating. John Nicholl has a history of working as a social worker and uses the terror he faced in that career in his own stories.

While Detective Inspector Gravel searched for Emma not knowing if she was alive or dead. Reaching out to the serial Killer while looking for few clues. With trusting people listening to vague and erroneous clues, the police struggle to find this serial killer.

This book is intense. It is just so cold and creepy. It is the perfect book for me to listen to on Halloween. Only now, how am I supposed to be able to go outside moving door to door in the dark with the kids trick or treating when there are psychos out there.
It is chilling listening to Jake Urry in his concise and gravelly voice. It takes the story to a new level when Mr. Urry narrates a thriller such as this. He does an amazing job with the voices of women, older adults, young women. His range is amazing. I am really impressed with the narration.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • TerryHeth
  • 11-02-16

Great book

Very eerie and a creepy killer!
Really enjoyed listening to this & following the horrible ways the murdered behaved. Atmospheric narrator too.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellie S
  • 10-29-16

Shocking, powerful!

A fantastically constructed and written psychological thriller. Torture, violence, abduction and murder in Wales of young women. Be careful who you trust.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise Brown
  • 11-16-16

Gripping and chilling read. Definitely read!

Another cracking book from John nicholl. Another well written bunch of characters. Hard core storyline, leaving the major part of the action to your imagination. John nicholl makes my heart pound in horror and anticipation. The bad characters are vile and you hate them; the good characters, you warm to and enjoy their strength. One character made me gasp with shock. Ooh, and I loved the ending...well played!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarahjk79
  • 11-12-16

Enthralling

Where does Portraits of the Dead rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is top so far. I haven't listened to many as new to audible, but loved this one.

What did you like best about this story?

it was interesting, fast paced and drew you in. Great ending too.

What does Jake Urry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Different voices helped bring it to life.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, it made me cringe, and my heart rate quicken at times and the end definitely brought a smile to my face.

Any additional comments?

Really well read novel. A well thought out and descriptive book. Made me want to keep listening.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Petra
  • 10-24-16

Dark and terrifying with some great twists

Following White Is the Coldest Colour, this was the second book written by John Nicholl and narrated by Jake Urry that I have listened to. These two are a fantastic grouping of writer and narrator. John Nicholl has an amazing talent for creating the most disturbing and vile perpetrators in crime fiction, while Jake Urry has this uncanny ability to voice these creepy characters in a way that might leave you locking the doors, turning on the lights and checking all is safe.
Although a standalone novel, Portraits of the Dead sees the return of DCI Gareth Gravel and DS Clive Rankin who featured in White Is the Coldest Colour. They are working in Wales and this time they are investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Emma, a pretty blonde university student.
Told from multiple perspectives including Emma's and her abductor's, who renames her "Venus Number Six", Mr. Nicholl's writing was more polished in this one. There were none of the little repetitions I complained about previously. Very dark, but not gory, this had me gripped right from the start and even though the identity of the perpetrator was clear from early on, the level of suspense remained high thanks to several shocking developments and a totally unexpected ending. I still can't decide what to make of that ending, but it was certainly surprising and ingenious.
My only minor niggle regarding the plot: there was one character whose actions I found difficult to believe and whose motivation wasn't explained sufficiently. To me, this person's history didn't fit together with their current persona. I don't want to add spoilers so I can't really give any more details.
Loved the narration. Jake Urry's intonation with the skillful use of the accents and his timely pacing were excellent. I wouldn't want to type-cast him but he really puts the evil into depraved characters like few others.
Highly recommended if you enjoy dark, terrifying thrillers.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Della Rainey
  • 10-24-16

Wow, wow, wow...


...wow! I absolutely loved Portraits of the Dead. It's a terrifying and chilling story that is read brilliantly by Jake Urry. The storyline, detail and characters are extremely well written from start to finish; I found myself trying to warn the DS in parts.

This was the first time that I have read anything by John Nicholl and it's definitely not going to be the last. If I could give the book more than 5 stars I would. A book that I will be recommending to everyone to read and listen to.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Melanie Preston Lewis
  • 10-21-16

Truly terrifying!

Would you consider the audio edition of Portraits of the Dead to be better than the print version?

This is the first time I've listened to the book having previously read it. Wow! It is fantastic. I was interested to see if I would prefer the Audible version and in this case I can say I definitely did. Jake Urry's voice is suitably terrifying, and his rendition managed to outdo my imagination in its capacity to petrify the listener!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Portraits of the Dead?

I can't possibly say without spoiling the story line for someone who hasn't yet had the pleasure. The best thing to do is to read and listen to it for yourself!

Any additional comments?

I thought the book was frightening. I had to sleep with the lights on for a while after I'd read it, but the audio book! Ohmidays, Jake Urry has a terrifying voice. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and I knew what was going to happen. This is a book that's worth the investment of reading and listening. John Nicholl has created a masterpiece thriller that genuinely delivers in the scare yourself stupid department. I see so many blurbs that say a book is "terrifying" and I'm rarely actually terrified.But this book was genuinely frightening to read, and yet somehow managed to scare me all over again when I listened to it. I must give my thanks and a huge congratulations to John Nicholl on his brilliant writing and Jake Urry for his reading. I would give this book/audio 6 stars if it were possible. FABULOUS!!!!!!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kawaii Princess
  • 01-07-17

excellent

This author just gets beter and better. i finished this book far too fast. Darkly funny and just plain dark. And i LOVED the ending. The narrator had a voice to fall in love with, by the way......

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed
  • 10-27-16

Portraits of the dead is brilliant!!

I've read the book and now I've listened to the audiobook. This is another brilliant piece of writing by author John Nicholl. A must read/listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey
  • 02-06-18

excellent

this is a fantastic book. quite sick really but thoroughly enjoyed the story and performance. i absolutely didnt see the ending coming. but fantastic. definite good read.