It took me a little time to get into this story, but once I did I was hooked into nearly 15 hours of a complex and surprising story. Susan Hill has a..Show More »voided many of the cliches of crime fiction creating well-rounded and believable characters, including the police men and women. Unlike real-life, as befits the genre, the crimes are meticulously planned by a highly intelligent psychopath. I didn't twig who this was until it was revealed near the end of the book.
It's not just a well-crafted crime thriller, but also explores alternative versus conventional medical treatments as part of the fabric of the story. Initially I was concerned that the author might be trying to encourage patients with serious conditions, such as cancer, to try alternative medicine in place of effective treatments, but was relieved that this turned out not to be the case.
Steven Pacey's reading of the book is superb: he brings the different voices convincingly to life. I don't know how these readers manage it, but the best of them can switch from being female to male; young to old; regional accent to accent without caricaturing their voice.
Essential to read or listen to The Various Haunts of Men first to become familiar with the main cast of characters and to understand the references to..Show More » things which have happened in the past. Although these stories are based around crime and police procedure I find that these aspects take second place to the exploration of the moral and social decisions that the characters are forced to make and what we learn about those characters as a result. A previous reviewer was disappointed that, in their opinion, the book seemed to come to a sudden end. Things are left unresolved and that may dissatisfy some listeners but I thought it added a realism to the story particularly poignant in the light of recent news.
I tend to choose audio books, not just on potential content, but on the voice of the reader. Stephen Pacey is very easy on the ear. I like to listen as I walk for fitness and found myself covering a few extra miles each day as the story unfolded just to hear more. So, very highly recommended. I have already flagged the third book in the series as my next listen.
For those who were frustrated by the unresolved ending of The Pure in Heart, the second novel in the series, this third book brings matters to a concl..Show More »usion. Very easy to get into, if you have listened to or read the previous two, as the central characters, DCI Simon Serailler, DI Nathan Coates and Dr Cat Derebon have become very familiar. However, I found this an altogether darker book than the previous two. An air of danger, menace and general moral decline pervade the story. Some extremely unpleasant crimes are committed, some by people who are pure evil, some seeking retribution and others by people who have been brought to the edge by tragic events. As before, I found the novel more about the exploration and development of the characters: the difficulties they face, the opportunities which are presented to them, the choices they make, rather than a concentration on police procedure. Once again, Stephen Pacey?s reading is impeccable. Very highly recommended.
This series just gets better and better. Although I am not usually interested in "family drama" novels, these books are so well written that I have be..Show More »come really involved with the characters and the ongoing story of the interwoven families in the book kept me engrossed.
Although it could be read on its own, I would say that the book is best read after the first three. I hope that there will be more, as I am looking forward to finding out what happens next.
My only criticism is that there is one important loose end not tied up (I can't say what it is without revealing the end) but perhaps it will be dealt with in the next story.
Steven Pacey is excellent as the reader - not only fluent and good at accents, but a superb reminder of my favourite childhood television series!
over last few months ive listened to ALL the susan hill books in the 'serrailler' series. there are 5 books currently (hope more will be written) crim..Show More »e is my first choice to listen to & these books fit the bill exactly. all i ask is a good story, well written & well narrated which all these books are. really like steven paceys narration - he is excellent. also grown to actually like several of the characters in the stories. can only heartingly recommend listening to all 5 books. you really wont be dissapointed
The author manages to weave into the thread of the crime her obvious concern for terminal illness, health care, and euthanasia. Very skillfully worked..Show More », the crime novel in itself is convincing and well written, only revealing the perpetrators well towards the end of the book. And as for the reader, he is most excellent. I don't think it would be the same without him, I shall be looking for other "reads" with him, definitely.
I've listened to all the Simon Serrailler crime novels and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Particularly gratifying is getting to know the characters in..Show More » depth and following their travails as well as the crime in hand. To say that Steven Pacey 'narrates' the story is to do him an injustice. He makes the novel and all the characters come to life by adopting very different voices for all the main characters. So distinctive are they you know instantly who is speaking and can picture them in your mind's eye. Thoroughly recommend this series but you should start with Book 1 - I envy you the journey.
If you've come this far with Susan Hill, Serrailler and Stephen Pacey then you don't need me to tell you about the writing and narration of the series..Show More ». Other than perhaps that Stephen Pacey has spoiled me for all other narrators and made theirs a difficult job. Perfect as ever.
This one covers a very dark subject matter - child abuse. My reason for four stars, not five, is purely that I learned a couple of turns of phrase I might otherwise have chosen not to know. A credit to the research though and nothing offensive.
You'd not want to buy this one for your aged aunt. Wow it is powerful. Quite brutal and Sad on so many levels. I think particularly so because of a curved-ball sub plot.
You will not be wasting a credit on this one but for the newcomers I'd suggest starting at the beginning of the Serrailler stories and working through to this one. There are a couple of crystallising moments which have special nuance if you have come all the way.
I am desperate to know if Simon Serrailler is right or left handed but that will become clear to you as you get to the end. One of those books which absolutely must have a follow up, almost too difficult to come to terms with.
Not very exciting. Politically correct viewpoints. Lots of domestic padding. Few chapters for main story line. And I think that decisions made would h..Show More »ave been done by somebody considerably more senior than a Major. A relatively junior officer. I'm glad I'm not a neighbour of the terribly boring central character!