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Val McDermid is usually a safe bet for an entertaining read - and this is a good story with well rounded characters. I've chosen to leave a full review here to give a mention to the narrator though. I felt that Cathleen McCarron was brilliant. Her characters were very recognisable and her male voices were good. I felt that she brought great emotion to the job and really brought the story to life for me.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I like Val McDermid’s books as she write so well, but sometimes shrink from her graphic details of murders. Thankfully this book is devoid of any gruesome descriptions of post mortems and doesn’t spend any time in the the minds of psychopaths relishing their deeds. There’s quite a bit of forensic detail thanks to the author’s close association with the world famous department at Dundee University. I did a FutureLearn course run by that University on forensics in which Val McDermid actively participated. She has also written a book on the topic.
The book meanders for quite a time as two separate stories are introduced, but gathers momentum after about 40 out of 62 chapters. I didn’t mind the slower pace as we got to know the various characters and learn some interesting facts about forensics and the laws relating to privacy. The author indulges her political beliefs over the treatment of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Scotland: all very laudable but a bit of a diversion that slows the pace of the novel. Par for the course the chief character, DCI Karen Pirie, is a bit of a maverick going off at tangents and getting into trouble with her superiors, but she’s an engaging, sympathetic and at times funny character.
I did enjoy the book and thought the slower pace reflected the more realistic time course of investigations in real life, even if the crimes were unusual.
At first I thought it was to be a four star listen but by the end I thought it rated higher than that as the author carries the two stories forward such that I was keen to find out what happened next as one lead after another seemed promising and then went nowhere.
The narrator is excellent as she creates many different voices making the book seem like a dramatisation.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
The change of voice, tone and accents was extremely well done and a pleasure to listen to. Several times I wondered if more than one person was reading.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great characters brought to life by one of the best readers I've heard...going back for more.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful