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.
©2007 Elizabeth George (P)2007 ISIS Publishing Ltd
This is the first book I have ever reviewed but it annoyed me so much on so many levels, I felt I had to to stop someone else wasting their money and time.
It was misleading of ER to market this book as an Inspector Lynley novel as it clearly was not what one would expect from a Lynley mystery. I did not enjoy the storyline or narrator's voice and I struggled to listen to the end, I only managed that by fast forwarding through several paragraphs.
The book was meant to explain the chain of events leading to Helen Lynley's murder but became a self-indulgent unpleasant analysis of social breakdown and how crime stems from that. It seems from the book that the poor and disadvantaged people are on a path of self-destruction, with no self-discipline and no empathy or even warmth towards one another. I found the stereotyping of all the 'groups' of characters insulting from many perspectives, " the incompetent, naive, bullying social worker"; "the friendly, wise Asian"; "the black gangers" and "the nasty racist policeman".
The least enjoyable book I have listened to for a long time.
Found it very difficult to listen to this Narrator with her very irritating childrens voices. Tried a few times to give it a chance but i couldn't bare it. Waste of money.
Great storytelling. Interestingly plot line, deviating from Linley and back again. Performance was ok, but many of the accents were irritating and some of the pronunciation incorrect. Overall very good though.
"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.
"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.
"Put off by the narrator"
I found the narrator to be rather irritating - perhaps she is not a native English speaker which would account for her mispronunciation of every day English words which I found somewhat off putting. The plot was a bit slow to get started
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