London had Sherlock Holmes. The dark alleys of Edinburgh had Inspector McLevy.
Known as the father of forensics and a likely influence on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, real-life police inspector James McLevy is here reinvented by David Ashton in a thrilling mystery - the first in a series - set in dark, violent Victorian Edinburgh.
Edinburgh, 1880. Election fever grips the city. But while the rich and educated argue about politics, in the dank wynds of the docks it's a struggle just to stay alive. When a prostitute is brutally murdered, disturbing memories from 30 years ago are stirred in Inspector McLevy, who is soon lured into a murky world of politics, perversion and deception - and the shadow of the serpent.
©2016 David Ashton (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
I read a review which said David Ashton's performance was distracting but I thought it was brilliant. The atmosphere he created was alternatively creepy, funny and thrilling. I wan't sure in the end if the story was quite as good as the performance but I enjoyed it so much I didn't want it to stop.
Yes, what's not to love if you are a Historical mystery/crime fan? There are great charactors and twists and turns in the plot...just good fun! Having listened to all of the McLevy radio series (9 and 10 on pre-order) I listened to the Shadow of the Serpent. Whilst I prefer the radio series, as there are more actors in it and I have grown to love each of them for their charactorisation, once I settled into listening to David Ashton's reading, I have really enjoyed the audio book. What a talented man he is!!!
I dip in and out over several days and listen when needing a little time to relax or when doing some mindless chore e.g. ironing :-) The reading allows me too be spirited away to Edinburgh.
Now ready to order the next audio book in the series whilst awaiting the 9 & 10 dramatised series. I feel some 'Clutter clearing' coming on and will need distraction :-)
I have had to restart this book so many times I have forgotten. Mr Ashton may have penned a brilliant book and once I got over his heavy breathing while reading and the distracting accents I did like the Scottish version of Sherlock.
But when I re- listen to a book it because I enjoyed it so much I wanted to listen to it again and several I missed first time round but I going to have to read-listen so I can understand it the second third or even fourth time.
Maybe another narrator , someone like Stephen Fry would have done justice what is a really good book.
The story was good but the narrator was poor. He read every word as though to hammer home it was a mystery. it could have been three hours shorter had he not done so. A real pity as I would like to read more stories of McLevy but can't face the narrator and will probably return this book as I won't be able to listen to it again.
"Really struggling to finish this!"
Somebody else reading it. He is overly dramatic and I can hear him licking his lips and swallowing, which is really distracting. The performance is too much, much like the typical over enthusiastic thespian.
I`m really disappointed as the story seems really quite good and well written, but I cant listen to anymore of this. I might read the book though - fingers crossed that I don`t have that voice in my head when I do.
The author is a Scottish actor and his throaty whispers and heavy accent greatly enhance the story once the ear adjusts to them. It's a dark, Jack the Ripper type story but with enough difference to make it compelling drama. I was driven to look up the facts about the two great historical figures in the novel and the book became a learning experience as well.
"Another 3 1/2 Star"
I would have given this book a 3 1/2 stars just to be fair, as it just wasn't the book for me and I want to be fair. I might try it again in a few months and perhaps it will fit me better then, I will let you know then.
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