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Dead Still

DCI Andy Gilchrist, Book 9
By: T.F. Muir
Narrated by: David Monteath
Series: DI Gilchrist, Book 9
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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Summary

The latest tartan noir thriller from T F Muir featuring DCI Andy Gilchrist and set in the picturesque town of St Andrews.... 

St Andrews, Scotland: when a man's preserved body is discovered in a whisky ageing cask in the local Gleneden Distillery, DCI Andy Gilchrist and his partner, DS Jessie Janes, are assigned to the investigation. But when the dead man is identified as Hector Dunmore, the once heir-apparent of Gleneden Distillery, their investigation takes a dramatic turn, for Dunmore was reported missing 25 years earlier when his Land Rover was found abandoned on the outskirts of Mallaig, almost 200 miles away on the Scottish west coast.

Why hide a body in a 25-year ageing cask? And who would want Dunmore dead? 

Suspicion falls on Duncan Milne, the distillery manager at the time, but when Gilchrist learns that Milne died under suspicious circumstances the year Dunmore disappeared, he suspects they are looking at a double murderer. Gilchrist's efforts to resolve the murders forces him to dig deep into the Dunmore family's past, only to come up against a frightening killer who will stop at nothing to keep the darkest of family secrets from ever coming to light.

©2019 T.F. Muir (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

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

Solid, But Not a Series Highlight

I've really enjoyed this series by TF Muir, at times he has dialed it up to eleven with the elements of gore and action and has always delivered a good mystery. While I think that one or two reviews that I have seen are quite some way over the top with their criticism Muir definitely eases it back to about a four with this one. It does include murder most foul as you would rightly expect but both the pace and Gilchrist himself are considerably less sprightly compared to quite a few books in the series.

The cliff-hanger ending will have me persist with the series, I've invested too much in Gilchrist to be left hanging and to be fair I actually enjoyed the central mystery and some of the interview scenes but it really doesn't have the zip of some of the previous books.

Where I do agree with some of the criticism is the Jessie character. She has become very one-dimensional and her constant spikiness is just overdone. It is becoming increasingly irritating now that the shock value has worn off and the law of diminishing returns is now set firmly against her.

David Monteath though remains as smooth as the vintage whiskies that are central to the plot, he has a lovely voice to listen to and this is definitely a case of the narrator outperforming the author.

All in all this is a bit of a mixed bag, it certainly won't go down as a series highlight, at least not in my book, but it's decent enough and the long established quality of the series so far means that I'm not ready to give up on Gilchrist just yet.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don't waste your cash or your Audible credit

This book is weak in some many ways that, overall, I have to give it 1 star. The narrator did a good job with the material.

Firstly, the plot was so weak that it comes over as having been thrown together, perhaps along the lines of, 'what else could I throw into the mix?'.As a consequence the action lurches from one thing to another without any real tension being built. I also found the main characters lacking. DI Gilchrist is wooden and his sidekick sergeant was so aggressive and rude that she has become unbelievable: does the author really think that the police would accept should outrageously aggressive and rude behavior from a modern day officer? I would hope not and certainly I'm struggling to think of any police officer featured in UK crime fiction that comes anywhere near to being so rude and aggressive.
I found the portrayed attitude of DI Gilchrist towards a member of the team with a disability to be patronising in the extreme and an insult to the obvious intelligence of the character. I'm sure that DI Gilchrist isn't the only person who is patronising towards individuals with physical disabilities and communication differences but some effort could have been made by the author to challenge the stereotypes. There were smatterings of this kind of patronising attitude towards Robert, son of DS whatever her name is (I just want to forget all about her given her behavior), in previous books in the series but not to the extent of how the female character is described.
The dialogue is weak, the main character lacks complexity and the story is unbelievable. Don't waste your money or your audible credit.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not my favourite Gilchrist

This was my least favourite story of the whole series so far. Whilst DI Andy Gilchrist has always been up there in my list of favourite Scottish Detectives along with Logan McRae, Tony McLean and Tom Daley, I feel T F Muir has lost some of his sparkle with this one.

Whilst the central story was good enough, I found the characterisation was lacking here. Gilchrist felt a little bit ineffectual and his relationship with Jackie, the disabled researcher, had me cringing at times. It was so condescending and quite frankly a bit creepy! As for DS Janey Janes, she was so irritating I almost had to turn off! This character has become so consistantly rude and arrogant that I really can't stand her, to the point that I hoped she'd be bumped off! Also, it really annoyed me that Gilchrist didn't pull her up on her attitude and actually seemed to think she was acting appropriately.

I will probably stick with the series if T F Muir does give us another one, the cliffhanger ending would have me coming back to see what happens next and I do still have some affection for the character of Gilchrist, however, another outing like this one would have me hanging up my Gilchrist stockings for good.

David Monteath's narration was as good as ever but the material wasn't up to T F Muir's usual standard with this one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

the narrator brings the book to life

David Monteath is on the top of my list of narrators along with Gareth Armstrong's Maigret. As soon as I hear their voices I settle down and am off and away into the book. I think they could transform utter rubbish into a top seller. The book was Ok.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I must agree with the previous reviewer - this was a very disappointing and weak plot furthermore I also couldn’t tolerate the rude, aggressive, foul-mouthed Jessie (when the gun appeared I was hoping that would be the welcome end of her character). Gilchrist is also an irritating character with his peculiar behaviour towards his researcher, mouthing kisses which seemed to me to be rather patronising, letting Jessie get away with appalling behaviour for a police officer and I can’t say I’m impressed by his relationship with his children. The best part of the novel, for me, is the cat happily going off to hopefully a better life with his daughter.
As always David Monteath is a joy to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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

best so far

the best so far I am looking forward to the next installment of Andy Gilchrist and Jessie

1 person found this helpful

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

Fantastic

This is a brilliant book. I love the DCI Gilchrist stories, the characters are so well drawn with details of relationships adding extra interest. Gilchrist is superb, always on verge of retirement but never being able to resist cracking the hardest cases. Plot amazing, kept me on edge of seat all the way.

1 person found this helpful

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

Complicated storyline, worth your time

The last book in the series (so far?) and I have enjoyed every one of them. Jessie is a bold and bossy character but is a great foil to DCI Gilchrist. Some of the characters are unlikable but that’s life, especially in the world of crime. The procedural elements are clearly written, but oh, the bosses! A great series.

1 person found this helpful