Five-year-old Jimmy Higgins is brazenly snatched from the middle of a busy airport; but this is no ordinary kidnapping. Jimmy's mother is Scarlett, a reality TV star who, dying of cancer, entrusted the boy to her friend Stephanie Harker. Now Stephanie, reaching into the past to discover the motive behind the abduction, soon encounters a shocking tale of murder and conspiracy, and is faced by the most difficult choice of her life.
©2012 Val McDermid (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
I am a huge fan of Val McDermid and have every audiobook of hers I can get. I am normally totally gripped and resent having to stop listening. This book however is the total opposite. It is incredibly long winded, moving very slowly indeed. Very difficult to get really engaged into it as a result. The plot rather than feeling gripping, just feels quite childish most of the time, as if little real thinking has gone into it, and as for the climax, well it is just ludicrous. A real disappointment and just completely unexpected from this author - feels to me like it was written by someone different.
The story line, based on the relationship between a ghost writer, Stephanie, and her reality TV celebrity, Scarlett, is tedious beyond belief. The lengthy study of their growing friendship made me want to give up listening many times, especially as the narrator used the Australian rising inflection in her voice so frequently it became like listening to finger nails scraping on a chalk board. The thriller part of the book is hidden inside the main storyline and, although I persevered, its culmination is not worth waiting for. It seemed to me the author got fed up with it and, like a primary school child's story, decided that it would be better to end it with, "and then she died!". Don't bother!
This had a really gripping start, but then the pace slowed so much that the story lost its edge. Too much detail of the back story told in a rather laborious way, even though it was supposed to be an interrogation into a kidnapping. The ending was a bit ridiculous.
The plot is superficially strong (drawing heavily on an actual news story) but a number of loose ends or dead ends makes one wonder if the author lost interest in it or had to rush it out before she did a proper professional job. Two major questions among many: is the FBI agent intended as no more than a plot vehicle? If so, why are we made privy to her innermost thoughts? Were we not intended to sympathise/identify to some degree? If so, why is she just dropped mid-way through? The other question is harder to frame without giving away the ending, but perhaps I can say that I was amazed when the book ended abruptly, not so much because of the action, as the effrontery of the author in cutting and running without any kind of explanation, follow-up or resolution.
Absolutley not, but I probably won't bother with this author again.
She was OK.
I would have wanted major changes to way in which the main protagonist's story is unfolded. She is in the custody of an FBI agent who ought to be trying to get her cut to the chase, not prose on about the back story. After all, there's a child out there somewhere. The noises off are insuficient to suggest that there is any sense of urgency. This whole section feels really odd. I would also have urged the author to do some major work on the ending.
I've read some of the professional reviews which are uniformly ecstatic at the brilliance of this author and this book. It's made me wonder how many of the reviewers had actually read it or, even more cynically, whether any of them would dare to write a negative review of a book by this national treasure.
The opening sequence was quite good and promised much, but the rest was a little predictable, somewhat tedious, and the ending an anticlimax
No, I know of much better books I could recomend
clear, a little uninteresting, OK
I have only reached chapter 9 but felt compelled to write a review, I love it, a new style for Val McDermid but great listening. The humour has had my husband enquiring why I am laughing out loud while cooking sunday lunch... more please Val. I love "Tony Hill" but love this too. A GREAT LISTEN
First time I listen to a Val McDermid book. Thought it would be more thrilling bits... Narrator was rather good, not the best but fully acceptable. But it was a entertaining book.
This was an excellent story with a good twist at the end. The author has clearly taken some real life events and imagined a story around them which worked for this book. I thought the character development was good and thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. The only downside was that I found the narrator with her odd verbal emphasise slightly annoying but that just might be me. Overall, I found the whole book engaging, well written and I would recommend it.
What is a really good British history book?
unexpected, unexpected and unexpected...why ? Because it was an unexpected story line from VM, unexpectedly interesting lot and unexpected ending...
The flow of the story was excellent and the ending was good.
It did remind me of Jade Goody, the Essex location, the background, the loser husband, the baby boy, the terminal illness...etc...all seemed very familiar.
It's a bit of a challenge fairly rating a book that is fantastic nearly all the way through, but right at the end the writer drops the bundle and delivers a truly silly finale. My overall feeling about it is 'extremely enjoyable book.... but....'. The narration is brilliant. I'll be looking out for this narrator in the future. She's up there with the best and springs the characters into vibrant life. Writing wise, full points to Val McDermid for a wonderfully lively book that is very different from any other of her books. It isn't a crime novel, instead she focuses on the world of reality tv. It isn't a book with a lot of tension, but it's very enjoyable. Thoroughly worth hearing, but unfortunately let down by the implausible end which sounded like the writer ran out of time or ideas for finishing the book.
The books had a few unexpected twists and turns and I was keen to continue listening to see what was going to happen next.
The book was too long to listen to in one sitting - I did not realise at the time of purchase that it was unabridged so quite a long story. I did find some of the lengthy descriptions a little bit tiresome at times - I just didn't need all that extra information, and wanted to get on with the story! But I guess it did add to the visual picture you could form.
This is the first audio book I have listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and am keen to listen to my next one!
Great story with a twist at the end! Good narration, not easy with so many different accents.
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