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Summary

Andrew Taylor's Roth Trilogy was recently made in to a three-part TV adaptation for ITV called Fallen Angel, starring Emilia Fox and Charles Dance.

The structure of the Roth Trilogy is unusual in that it is composed of interlocking stories but each novel is self-contained and may be read independently of the others. The first novel, The Four Last Things, is set in the 1990s. The second, The Judgement Of Strangers, moves back to 1970, and the third, The Office Of The Dead, to 1958.

Little Lucy Appleyard is snatched from her child minder's on a cold winter afternoon, and the nightmare begins. It is as if the child had disappeared into a black hole with no clues to her whereabouts...until the first grisly discovery in a London graveyard. More such finds are to follow, all at religious sites. In a city haunted by religion, what do these offerings signify?

©1997 Andrew Taylor; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thrilling conclusion to trilogy

This is a very exciting and psychologically complex conclusion to Andrew Taylor's trilogy of loosely interconnecting stories. While it is true that each book stands alone your experience will be much enriched if you start with 'The Office of the Dead', followed by 'Judgement of Strangers' and finish with 'Four Last Things'. I felt that the pace and excitement of the narrative builds up across the three books as the threads of the lives of the different characters, who straddle the three books, intersect with extraordinary consequences.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Choose something else

I enjoy psychological thrillers, and I was looking forward to following this set of three in reverse chronological order, as intended by the author, but I won't be bothering with the other two. The characterisation was poor, especially the vicar,Sally Appleyard, who didn't lose her faith, in my opinion, because there was never any evidence that she had any to begin with. The others were stereotypes, - A Strange Young Man, a policeman who is the Strong, Silent Type, a Bitter Male Vicar who is against women priests, and a female villain who doesn't so much change her identity as lose it all together.

The whole book was slow and dreary, with no contrast between any of the characters or events.

I stuck with it, in the hope that it might get somewhere, but it didn't, and at the end I was left exclaiming "Is that it?"

Can I recommend instead "At the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness" which was moving, entertaining, and completely unselfconscious.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Revisit

This was a revist, having read this trilogy some years ago. I can't recall my thoughts at the time, but this time listening made a disturbing impression. Deeply disturbing, captivating story, masterfully written and wonderfully narrated.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious

Don't waste your money. This book meandered so much it was nothing like I expected it to be. I was expecting a child abduction crime novel, when in actual fact it was more about the characters themselves. I will not be purchasing any more books by this author.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A bit slow...

This was a bit laborious to listen to. I'm not saying it was awful, just a little.....slow.
And I felt bits were missing, like pieces of a puzzle.
The narrator had a very soft voice, and for much of the time I could hear noise in the background, as if a tv was on in the next room.
I'm going to persevere with the other two books though.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cranberly
  • Cranberly
  • 26-09-05

Great!

Creepy, true, but also a great story. Each character is so well developed. And the narrator is fantastic. I really liked it and can't wait to listen to the next book by Andrew Taylor.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Valerie M. Campbell
  • Valerie M. Campbell
  • 04-05-07

A facinating look at an ugly subject

This is my first book review. My decision to finally get involved in passing on my opinion on this book is prompted by the other reviewer’s comments on the quality of the writing and more particularly the purported graphic content of this book and the ugliness of its portrayal.

I would suggest that there is no way that an author can portray the essential brutality of child abduction in an enjoyably way. Rather as this author conveys it is heart wrenching and we would hope that the cruelty of the act it’s self is beyond the pail of normal human behaviour.

There is in-fact very little gore. However the author does delve into the deviant mind of what we assume to be a paedophilic character. The author does not sanction his characters behaviour by indulging in the lurid sensationalism one would find in Pulp Fiction. Much in this book is left to the imagination.

I will purchase the other books in this series. As I’m interested in seeing how this series extends backwards in time casting light on the routs of child abuse.

For the reality of child abduction, I suggest that the reviewer, who rated this book so poorly, reads or listens to ‘The Jigsaw Man’ the autobiography of Paul Britton. Particularly focus on the Jamie Bulger abduction for a real portrayal of the ugly side of human nature.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colleen
  • Colleen
  • 24-10-17

Background noise

Great story and voice acting, but so many other voices persisted in the background that it was difficult to listen to on headphones. A little disappointing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marie Ann Bailey
  • Marie Ann Bailey
  • 15-05-17

Draws you in like a nightmare

Every parent's nightmare is that their child is abducted. This novel gives us two points of view on that horrific scenario: that of the mother and the abductor. But this isn't the usual inside-the-head-of-a-psychopath rendering. Eddie, the abductor, has "issues", but one could argue that he truly means no harm. Sally, the mom, also has issues; with her vocation, her husband, herself, her daughter. It's a complex story of two emotionally fragile people. There is indeed a twist at the end. Although it's clear early enough who is the real perpetrator of terror, the why is the tease and then the twist. Fortunately this author doesn't belabor the point and only gives you enough to make you wonder at what a small world it really is. I enjoyed the narrator very much, although there were many times when he dropped his voice a bit too low. Otherwise, his soft vocals added to the reflectiveness of this novel and I was never confused by which character was speaking. Overall, I really enjoyed this. It was the second time I listened to the novel. Yes, it's creepy but not it's not gratuitous.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kimberly  Allen
  • Kimberly Allen
  • 23-12-12

Disappointing

First of all, the narrator badly needed to be equalized. It was like he muttered under his breath half the time, which is audible when wearing noise-cancelling headphones, but anything else -- and especially in a car -- you had to keep moving the volume control up and down.

Second of all, the only developed character was one of the two antagonists. The parts of the book done in the voice of the protagonist were whiny, repetitive, and annoying. And, is this supposed to be part of a series? because when aspects of the story did get interesting (e.g., backstory on the husband and his godfather and the second antagonist), those tantalizing bits never did get resolved.

All in all, a disappointing book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pamela
  • Pamela
  • 20-04-07

Well Read - I just didn't like the book.

I'm not a squeamish person, I like blood and gore in the right setting (for instance, one of my favorite movies is Pulp Fiction), but this story of child abduction and molestation just was not enjoyable in any way.

I have read other books with similar settings, and they treated the situation in a way that made it suspenseful without being ugly. For some reason, this book was ugly.

None of the characters were very likeable. The child was nice, but never really fleshed out enough. All the other characters, even the protagonists, were just cardboard cutouts.

The writer tried to give each a complex personality, but their failings made them look not more human, but simply stupid, selfish and ignorant.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful