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Wow!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-12-19

What an interesting book! Probably the best book I’ve listened to this year. It’s moving to the point of tears. Sometimes it’s funny. It tells of his fascinating path of self-reflection. And it has some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read or heard or struggled to articulate of the effects of living in difficult circumstances on a person’s sense of themselves, their outlook on life, their temptations, health, and their mortality. All of which could be teased out of the medical and sociological literature, but the author joins it up in the most personal and thoughtful way. The work he’s put into thinking about himself and his own experiences is very sobering (no pun intended) and in my 30 years of nursing pretty rare.

A passionate, fascinating work of social history.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-10-19

I’ve not felt impelled to read about the so-called Ripper murders, or indeed about any serial murderer, so I don’t know if this is the first book to tell the biographies of “the five.” The author refers to other historians in her acknowledgments. Whatever, I found it a very moving and frightening account of poverty, class, and patriarchy. As it still is today, it’s so easy to slip into economic free fall, and find it nigh on impossible to keep safe and well. Aside from the absorbing stories of the women, I thought Hallie Rubenhold touched on the after life of the murderer in a fascinating way -the subtle and not so subtle misogynies, the museums, the endless ruminations and purported exposures, the whole publishing industry of crime fiction and tv. She doesn’t mention Peter Sutcliffe, but some of her observations about good/bad, private/public, Madonna/whore assumptions were very much part of the police investigation into his killings, and perhaps even in Sutcliffe’s own narrative about prostitution.

Planning a visit to a Restoration Britain? Mortimer is your man.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-10-19

I’ve enjoyed all of the Time Traveller audiobooks, and indeed the paperbacks, but this grabbed me the most, and ended up as the most moving. Any criticisms? Not really. Occasionally, I wish Greg Wagland would space his sentences better, with longer pauses between text and headings, though that be to do with editing. He’s not the most mellifluous narrator, but I’ve got used to his phrasing and rhythms. As for the book, it does remember that Scotland and Wales exist, but the focus is on England, and more precisely on London. Perhaps that’s to do with his use of diarists. Whatever, I enjoyed it, and the books allow me to check the references.

1 person found this helpful

A fascinating departure for Elly Griffiths

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-19

As much as I’ve enjoyed the Ruth Galloway novels, this feels like a much more sophisticated effort. I wouldn’t have guessed it was the same writer.

Journalist explores his own psychological pain

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-19

An interesting attempt to identify some of the economic and social contexts of psychological distress, and to think through ways of creating a world less toxic to our well-being.

However, he does this by setting up straw men to knock down. He makes much of medicine’s belief in a chemical imbalance theory of depression (which will seem alien to most of those who work in the field), whilst also reporting that psychiatrists have for decades proposed alternative models which attend to the person’s social, psychological, and physical situations.

There is a clear association between housing, jobs, environments, politics and mental ill health, but these aren’t things that are easily changed in the surgery or therapy room.

I thought the early section on medication was dreadful. Quite shockingly bad. I can’t see his footnotes on Audible, but he appears to rely entirely on two very critical writers, both interesting and challenging though they are, but without any effort to explore other researchers, other evidence, or other conclusions. That’s polemic, not journalism. He doesn’t even describe the critical literature on the distorting role of drug companies research, not that all research is undertaken by Big Pharma.

Considering this is a book about anxiety and depression, it seems odd that he doesn’t actually define what these highly complicated things might be, except in so far as they may relate to our evolutionary history.

What a mixed up, interesting, disappointing book.

36 people found this helpful

London, underground

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-19

After the first two books, this is positively restrained and focused, with a rather wonderful -if not entirely original- conceit (which I won’t spoil). The damage to London is kept to a bare minimum, and isn’t the fault of police officer, and apprentice wizard, Peter Grant. The characters are appealing, well-drawn, and becoming delightfully familiar. There are a few new characters to keep things fresh, and who will reappear as the series progresses. I love the humour and the descriptions of London itself (a character in its own right). The narrator is just perfect.

A great London book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-01-19

Lovely story with great narration. It’s funny, has astute observations about human nature, and really inhabits London. I rarely seen this before in crime fiction auth , Phil Rickman aside, who set their novels in a particular location. They mention a name, or a landscape, in passing, and if you happen to know the place you fill in the blanks yourself. Not here though. I think this is a great London book.

Wonderful addition to a wonderful series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-18

I’ve really enjoyed all the Peter Grant books and audiobooks, but this might be one of the best. Like the others, but more so, it’s rich, detailed, and funny. The characters are great, and wonderfully described. It brings a long story arc to an end, so a newcomer to the series will miss out on a lot of background. I can’t imagine any one else narrating them. Kobna rises to the challenge of the voices, despite the best efforts of the authors to derail him.

Lamp of the Wicked cover art

Uneasy listening

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-02-17

I have the impression the Phil Rickman poured a very great deal into this complex, thoughtful meditation on the Wests and on the nature of evil. His imaginative leaps into the mind of Fred West are disturbing. But it's more than just that, with Rickman pouring misery and fear into the lives of his familiar characters, the bereaved Gomer, the obsessed Bliss, the fear Lol, and the probably depressed Jane. And the end, both characters and (this) reader seem exhausted. It's a long book and the narrator, Emma Powell, seems less sure of her character's voices. Too many men blur, and everyone seems "rural."

1 person found this helpful