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Streets of Darkness

Detective Harry Virdee, Book 1
Narrated by: Muzz Khan
Series: Detective Harry Virdee, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Summary

Luther meets The Wire. This is the first Detective Harry Virdee audiobook.

The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be - this morning a body has been found. And it's not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about, but he's been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can't keep himself away. Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect Lucas Dwight.

But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head, and he discovers what it's like to be on the other side of the law....

©2016 A. A. Dhand (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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

Igniting a Flame in a Dark Place

I’ve read a lot of new authors in the past year or so and when I noticed this one being trailed by Audible it looked like a must read. Having grown up in a very multi-cultural town and seen and experienced racism and its effects at close hand this book seemed bound to appeal to me – assuming that the author made his characters seem real!

AA Dhand has done just that pulling together a story and set of characters that very much reflect my experiences of how prejudice is wide-spread and multi-faceted. How it normally exists in a bi-lateral fashion between any two groups rather than one-way as is often portrayed. A Sikh married to a Muslim in a city where right wing parties are active is always going to provide rich fodder for a story. Dhand gets stuck right into it, I enjoyed the Virdee character as well as the contrasting spirituality of his wife. This mix of levels of faith and charming superstition reflect many of my own experiences. It brings out a fascinating complexity and sophistication in the character relationships and their motivations.

Of course this book had to be more than just a stroll through Bradford’s problems and faith groups. Billed as a hard-hitting detective story it really delivers, the plot is very good and the violence and threat level of the characters is excellent. Bashir in particular is a very strong character forged from the darkness. If anything I did think the “dark secret from the past coming back to haunt” motif was maybe a tad overdone but otherwise everything was clever and very well thought out.

I did find Muzz Khan’s narration a little difficult at first but he delivers the Asian accents with such obvious authenticity that once I got myself attuned I really enjoyed his performance.

I would recommend this. It is a very refreshing entry into the UK detective genre which delivers as a thriller and a piece of social commentary. I look forwards to reading more about Detective Harry Virdee and his adventures in the dark, gritty parts of Bradford in the future!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Extremely poor diction

Unfortunately I did not listen to the book as one minute in I was distracted by the lisping , staccato delivery of the narrator. Please believe me accents can add a dimension to any story and enhance it. Sadly this was not the case here where the diction proved to be a distraction too far!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complex and fascinating - loved it

I would recommend this audible book. The author does not dodge issues of racism and interfaith infighting alongside a riveting powerful story that has numerous unexpected twists. New and refreshing. Wasn't sure about the narration at first but soon felt it was an integral part of my enjoyment of this debut novel. Thanks AA Dhand and Muzz Khan

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amateur narration

There is a decent thriller in here struggling to get past the "year 6 reading out loud" narration. A (nearly) Bradford accent would be fine but the wrong words are emphasised in sentences making me wonder what the meaning was. It's also delivered in a low husky indistinct growl which is difficult to hear in a car even at full volume. Gave up after two hours, bought the book, and am quite enjoying the read without Muzz Khan's dreadful pastiche

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Change Narrator

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I am an avid audio book purchaser across a wide range of books. For this audio book I found the narrator without clear speech and the need to increase the volume for clarity

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Honestly I am unsure I really listened to the story during travelling due to narrator

How could the performance have been better?

Clearer speech and better character voices

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this, but

Most of my listening is crime novels, much of it set in NY, or LA, so the idea of a maverick cop out for justice in the streets of Bradford (I grew up in nearby Leeds/Wakefield) sounded great. Ultimately I can find little to recommend this book to others.

Muzz Khan certainly has an authentic West Yorkshire asian accent, but that doesn't make it easy to listen to - I am used to the local accents, but spent much time rewinding the app to listen again, to understand what was being said. I tuned in a bit more as time went on, but even in the last chapter I had to listen to sections more than twice.

The most interesting part of the story is Bradford itself, as in the architecture, infrasctuction, etc. The 'underbelly' of Bradford, sinister, evil gangs of thugs roaming the streets - I just didn't buy it. Perhaps I'm naive, and Bradford really is the UK version of Baltimore in the Wire, but I just don't see it.

The story is just not engaging. I couldn't care less about Harry 'Vird-eh', his wife, his brother, his colleagues or even his unborn child, to be honest. If you want a rebel with a cause maverick cop who will bend and break a few rules to get the bad guy, try Harry Bosche, or any other crime novel, to be honest.

The first audible audiobook I've wished I could take to the charity shop.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • Harrogate, United Kingdom
  • 29-06-16

Bradford based thriller

As someone who has lived in Bradford during the last 20 years it was interesting to hear the local references. An engaging thriller once you adapt to the reader. Did also engage with the characters and will definitely listen to later volumes of the series (?).

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good read

Good read. this book takes in different prospectives in religion and makes it work. now on to the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thrilling

Thrilling from beginning to end! Stayed up well past my bedtime desperate to hear more. A really clever story with twists and turns all over the place!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Narrator mumbles with a regional accent

I did not get far because I struggled to understand it. The narrator mumbled and whispered whilst adopting a regional accent. I was not able to enjoy it as I was straining to understand. I have read another book by the author and liked his writing.