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The opening lines of this story were an unexpected punch in the gut as we encounter The Madman who becomes the object of a frantic search for the criminal whose actions so horrifically grab the attention of everyone in London and beyond. From this opening we then meet Michael and Alison, the central characters who become swept up in the manhunt. To reveal further details would spoil the discovery process, which is handled mostly very well, although I must concede that coincidence is used a bit conveniently on a couple of occasions. This was one of those stories in which you know you have puzzle pieces in your hands, but you just can’t figure out how to make them come together. But they do come together, and in the process readers are asked to confront issues of culpability, consequences and memory. As with author Prebble’s debut The Insect Farm, secrets kept extend far into the future to finally catch up with current characters.
Narration was competent, but not special – very clear and consistent with voices, good with characterization. But the narrative sections had the somewhat emotionless tone of reading out a newspaper article. A little more emotion may have increased the reader’s connection to the story, but it is not enough of a problem to avoid selecting this listen. Although I can’t go quite up to a 5, this really is a 4.5 read for me, finished in just 2 days.
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