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Publisher's Summary

The winner of the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award for 1979...
The unanimous and enthusiastic first choice of an international panel of judges for the Seal First Novel Award is a tense and thrilling courtroom drama, exposing some of the most brutal aspects of Vancouver's heroin trade.
Deverell's powerful novel centers on the harrowing confrontation between a brilliant prosecutor on the edge of pesonal disaster, and his quarry, Dr. Au, a man whose bizarre and bloody acts are the ultimate expression of evil. Here are the people connected with Vancouver's criminal world - the prostitutes, pushers, hit-men, and the undercover police. In pursuit of survival in a world pervaded by corruption, they are motivated by their own private obsessions, and find themselves linked in unusual and unexpected ways.
Imbued with the raw sensuality of the street, Needles is a fast-paced and exciting narrative, which carries the listener to a sudden and terrifying climax.
©1979 William Deverell (P)2012 Steve Scherf Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"Spellbinding, first rate...[a] brilliant craftsman..." (Buffalo News)
"Deverell has a narrative style so lean that scenes and characters seem to explode on the page. He makes the evil of his plot breathtaking and his surprises like shattering glass." (Philadelphia Bulletin)
"Needles is a crime masterpiece!... Needles in audio format is an auditory and literary treasure. I mark it as such for its masterful compilation of acerbic and witty narration, clean, quick and gripping storyline, and subtle yet enhancing sound effects such as gun shots and train whistles…Needles was, simply, fantastic…" (
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By WILLIAM on 03-04-13

Brilliant interpretation of my novel

This is such an original approach to audible books that it could shake up the market. Steve Scherf is a man of many voices, all of which come to life, and he shows a deep understanding of Needles, a thriller that launched my career with a $50,000 first novel award. I have immodestly given the story a five-star rating, but what else can you expect from its author?

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Patricia on 06-08-13

A gritty tale of 1970s Vancouver

During my over 40 years of teaching English at university, I must admit I was rather dismissive of the whole idea of audio texts. Most that I had heard were absurdly abridged, rather poorly read and totally incapable of creating the atmosphere and aura of the original text.
Retirement and the long car trips that ensued forced me to reconsider my initial reaction. I had once adored radio dramas, so could an audio text provide the same excitement? Most did not. Happily, however, I have found one remarkable exception, Steven and Maggie Scherf's reading of William Deverell's breakout novel, "Needles." Mr. Scherf has a wonderful knack for individualizing voices while, at the same time, through the careful use of minimal sound effects and having his sister do the female voices, he is able to faithfully recreate Deverell's frightening world. Being a Vancouverite, I was thoroughly engrossed by Deverell's depiction of Vancouver in the 1970s, a city defined by its notorious drug trade and corruptible police force. But Mr. Scherf's most notable achievement in his ability to make each character come alive, most particularly the monstrous Dr. Au, whose very voice inspires fear. So too does Scherf provide both breadth and complexity to the character of Deverell's less than perfect hero, the tormented, drug-addicted lawyer, Foster Cobb.
Mr. Deverell's book was initially reviewed as quite a page-turner. Scherf provides an audio counterpart, a story you just don't want to end. I thoroughly recommend it, and, perhaps even more, Mr. Scherf's superb recreation.
I understand that Mr. Scherf is doing or has done more of Deverell's work and I certainly look forward to hearing them.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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