The shocking conclusion of Elizabeth George's previous bestseller, With No One As Witness, saw the wife of New Scotland Yard's Thomas Lynley gunned down in the street outside her home. Under arrest for the crime is a twelve-year-old boy, Joel Campbell. What possible motive could he have? What chain of events could have led such a child from the housing estates of North Kensington to the elegant streets of Belgravia with such deadly intent? The answer to these questions is a complex mixture of fate and circumstance. Abandoned (albeit involuntarily) by his parents, Joel and two siblings are dumped on the doorstep of his aunt's house. Kendra, childless and with two marriages behind her, is doing her best to turn her life around; responsibility for three troubled children is not what she had in mind. Drugs, neglect, violence and poverty are commonplace in North Kensington. Joel does his best to look out for his family, but that involves a Faustian pact. And the Devil will have his pay.
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performance is important
Elizabeth George is a good writer and this "background" book without Linley and only a miniature entrance of the other DIs in the final chapter would have been great had it been read by Davina Porter or anyone else but Inika Wright. Her performance was stilted and full of falseness but it was the pronunciation errors - yes errors - and there were lots, as well as some personal idiosyncracies that irrated and finally spoiled it for me. I will never b uy another book narrated by her. And what was the producer thinking. Outright errors where she used a wrong name should have been corrected.
George deserves better as this is an essential stepping stone to future Linley tales.
The slow change in Ness as Magida gradually gained her mind and confidence, only to have it so firmly shattered in the Neil incident was heart rending. But the key moment was Helen's first greeting to the boys and the few minutes before her shooting. Amazing.
The producer could have paid more attention to details but importantly should have corrected glaring mispronunciations which occurred, particularly those that were repeated. And I dont mean regional/dialect differences.
Only for an abridged version, the lava lamp shop keeper. And some of the bhospital manicurist.
- Jennie Begg
A very different style novel from Elizabeth George
What Came Before He Shot Her is by no means a straightforward story, although it’s ending is as inevitable as any tragedy. Those who have seen the headlines about teenagers being killed in London will know all too well the refrain that ‘the victim had so much potential.’ While Joel is an embryonic killer, he is as much a victim as the woman he shoots, but he is a victim of circumstance and conspiracy.