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Publisher's Summary

Meet Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead.

Dr. Greta Helsing has inherited the family's highly specialized and highly peculiar medical practice. She treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies.

It's a quiet, supernatural-adjacent life until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice - and her life.

©2017 Vivian Shaw (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In Vivian Shaw's Strange Practice, a charmingly unusual doctor and her charges keep the city of London from grave danger. In the process, they peel back the covers of familiar (and according to them, somewhat 'libelous') stories to find that reality - especially with the undead - is more poignant and complex than it seems at first glance. An excellent adventure." (Fran Wilde, award-winning author of Updraft, Cloudbound, and Horizon)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    780
  • 4 Stars
    429
  • 3 Stars
    177
  • 2 Stars
    29
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

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  • 4 Stars
    323
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    121
  • 2 Stars
    28
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    12

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 Stars
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    12
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • Lynden, WA, United States
  • 01-10-18

Absolutely Delightful

This is a refreshing take on a few of favored tropes (literary characters in a contemporary setting, urban fantasy, supernatural detective-ish work, etc) Our heroine is Gretta Helsing and she is physician to the supernatural. Her clientele is varied and includes a great many who are usually depicted in a grotesque and evil way, painted in a much more positive light. The ghoul suffering from depression, the close vampire friend who makes an incredibly delicious cup of coffee, the mummy needing a foot bone replacement, and so on. There is humor but not jokes. You care for the players and they are, even when supernatural, very human. When an old order of religious evil vanquishers gets a boost from a terrifying and transfiguring source, the supernatural world finds themselves targeted.
My only irritation has to do with the editing. The narration itself is beautiful but they somehow did not allow for even a brief pause in many scene transitions. It is jarring when you suddenly realize that your confusion about a scene is because it's no longer the same scene and you have been pulled out of the story while you reorient. Hopefully, this is not the case in the next book.

72 of 73 people found this review helpful

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

Keep Google open while you read

This book is packed with fun references to historical supernatural fiction & folklore from around the world & some well crafted weird science you'll want to dig into a bit. The narrator handles the author's humor & the odd terms ably. Likable characters, good world building, if you blink you will miss the romance, (and I recommend blinking) but the adventure is solid. I highly recommend.

49 of 50 people found this review helpful

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

lovely world building

I love the premise of a doctor for supernatural creatures, and how that would intersect with modern medicine and technology. Those details were all really fun, and the main character was thoroughly engaging as someone wrapped up in a complicated, technical profession. Some of the secondary characters aren't quite as well developed, although I'm finding they come a little clearer after a second read - this is a good book for re-reads in that regard. There's so much going on, and so much detail, that it's easy to miss a lot the first time through. I'm not as happy with the ending as I am with the rest of the book, hence the four stars rather than five. I don't mind how the plot is resolved, despite the touch of deux et machina - it's hard to complain too much about supernatural solutions when most of the characters are immortal, after all. But the wrap-up is not only too perfect, it doesn't really flow from what we know about the characters - even on my second read, I'm not seeing evidence that supports the HEA. So lovely book, but don't bother reading the last chapter and a half.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

Entertaining But Lacking Compelling Characters

Would you listen to Strange Practice again? Why?

I may put it on in the background as something to do while I'm working, but I don't think I'd sit down and give it a careful listen again.

Would you recommend Strange Practice to your friends? Why or why not?

I'd recommend it as something light, with the caveat that it's very shallow, so not to get into it if you want anything at all meaty.

Have you listened to any of Susanna Hampton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to her performance before, but plan on seeking her out in the future. She did a great job. My only quibbles are likely the fault of production; i.e. that there wasn't a clear indication with POV shifted (which could be confusing), and the rushed, repetitive saying of the name 'Vestita Caelon' (I'm guessing the spelling) became very annoying. But neither is really her fault.

Any additional comments?

I was unsurprised to see the author writes a lot of fan fiction. She's a very good technical writer, paces her story well, and often has some funny lines. BUT, she falls into the trap a lot of fan fiction does: Perfect characters. Nobody has any flaws. I mean nobody. Everyone is perfectly brave, selfless, and kind when called upon. The worst 'sin' anyone has is a touch of melancholia. The only misdeeds are vaguely references as being deep in the past. Even Lucifer (sorry, 'Sam') is a caring gent. The bad guys? Either misguided, or a force of primal evil just acting on instinct. This makes the stakes and the characters....well...really hard to care about or differentiate. It's still a pretty decent fun listen, but it could have been a lot better if everyone wasn't some form of Mary Sue.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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

Read in print instead of listening

3-1/2 stars: I was waffling between 3 and 4 stars and decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and mark it as 4. And by “benefit of the doubt”, I mean that I’m going with the belief that I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had read it in print instead of listening to it on audio. The audio production was incredibly flat and I think that may have detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. While the reader has a nice enough voice, she did not change her voice for the different characters, thus making it very difficult to distinguish who was saying what much of the time. If I can’t tell the different characters apart, then the audio isn’t very good in my opinion.

The characters we are introduced to are fun and interesting and make a good team. The concept of human Greta running a medical practice that treats the secret supernatural community in modern day London is intriguing. I think I will likely try the next book in the series, but will read it in print instead of listening to it on audio.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Holly
  • PROVO, UT, US
  • 03-15-18

Great story

The story is wonderful and I recommend the print form. The performer was fine, but lacked modulation and variance, so dialogue and character description blended together, making the story confusing at times.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 11-20-17

Contemporary fantasy with bits of London history

Enjoyable book, with dimensional characters and a plot that twists around. Vivian Shaw uses some unusual or even obscure historical details of London with a few current ideas about non-material reality and makes her book unique.

The narration is beautifully done.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BeckyT
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • 07-05-18

I need more of this author now!

Strange Practice is a fantastic listen. I purchased this title to listen to on an upcoming car trip and already finished it-before my trip! I could not stop listening. Susanna Hampton does a fantastic job capturing the different characters' personalities. I love Shaw's writing style. This paranormal tale is thankfully a breath of fresh air in that it does not feature a predictable love triangle full of angst with a mortal and a vampire and/or other paranormal beings. There are a few f-bombs and other language used (not an issue for me, but some readers may want to know.) Also, in case anyone is concerned or maybe excited for who am I to judge, there's no gratuitous sex scenes or anything so feel free to listen without earbuds and not offend anyone in your immediate vicinity.

I really hope Vivian Shaw writes more of Greta's adventures and I hope she writes them soon! I was laughing and gasping throughout the book and would highly recommend this title!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Delightful!

I’m not quite sure how this ended up in my listening queue but I’m very glad it did. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to meet a fun and likable group of “monsters” and humans who formed a merry little band of heroes. It started slowly but I was rewarded with a lovely tale. The wonderful performance of the narrator was an added bonus. I don’t think I normally would have selected this book based on the description but I’m happy that i gave it a “one chapter trial listen.” I’m hoping to listen to more from this author and narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CM
  • 01-13-18

Great start,hope there is more to come

I loved this book .I came across it by accident . I’m a big fan of Ben aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London series” and this book is in the same vein. Hopefully this is the start of a long series .The main characters were introduced in this first book and I want to find out more !

7 of 8 people found this review helpful