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The Fourth Friend

A Jackman and Evans Thriller
By: Joy Ellis
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,856 ratings)

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Introducing Richard Armitage, our star narrator


Richard is well-known for his array of film, television and theatre work, including The Hobbit, Spooks and The Crucible. His trademark baritone voice has earned him recognition, too, through his performance on many notable audiobooks as well as in TV and radio show narration. This experience shines through in Armitage's gripping performance of the Jackman and Evans series where he plays host to a plethora of characters.

And Joy Ellis, the book's author

Joy Ellis started her career as a flower seller in Mayfair in the 1960s, before going on to open her own florist in Surrey. When the recession hit, Joy had a career change and became a bookseller, and attended a writing course in Greece where she was mentored by Sue Townsend. She now lives in the Fens with her partner Jacqueline, where the flatlands and marshes provide inspiration for her eerie plotlines.

Summary

Crimebusting duo DI Jackman and DS Evans are back, solving another crime that will make your skin crawl.

Police detective Carter McLean is the only survivor of a plane crash that kills his four best friends. He returns to work, but he is left full of guilt and terrible flashbacks. So for each of his four friends, he decides to complete something that they left unfinished.

Eighteen months before the crash, Suzanne Holland disappeared, leaving a room with traces of blood but no other leads. Suzanne was the wife of one of Carter’s four best friends. Adding to the pressure, the boss’ niece has a stalker. Due to the sensitivity of the Holland case, Carter is put on this investigation.

DS Marie Evans is the only person Carter can confide in. But even she begins to doubt whether he can really cope and whether he is actually losing his mind. DI Jackman and DS Evans of the Fenland police face a battle to untangle three mysteries, and can they really believe their friend and colleague Carter?

©2017 Joy Ellis (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

Meet Joy Ellis

We travelled to the Lincolnshire Fens, the home of Joy Ellis and the setting of the Jackman and Evans series, to find out more.
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ellis Gets Into The Groove!

In cricketing parlance Ellis is like an expert with the bat, she's settled in, maybe had one or two very minor scratchy moments but now she's established her rhythm and is starting to stroke the ball around the ground with some elegance. She has shown extremely fine judgement with this book having built a very likeable pair in Jackman and Evans. This is more psychologically oriented and to allow her story freedom to breathe and grow organically she knows when to let her leads step back and let other characters have their moments in the limelight.

Jackman and particularly Evans are extremely human characters, perhaps more caring than your average fictional detectives and this does give an additional angle to some of the plotlines. The Fourth Friend is about a colleague who is particularly vulnerable and some of the relationships between the characters such as him and Evans and an old friend of his were carried off to near perfection. Although the book starts quite literally with a crash there is no great action in it at all after that and so it was those relationships and personal traumas that kept me engrossed from start to finish.

Of course such a story is brilliantly suited to Armitage's very considered narration. He is one of the smoothest narrators I think I've heard which put together with the story makes The Fourth Friend a very compelling package and this series is now firmly ensconced on my Must Read list!

30 people found this helpful

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Crime with a difference.

I was hooked in the first chapter. Brilliant book and superb narration. I'll be looking for more books by Joy Ellis , also anything narrated by Richard Armitage . Sad I've finished it!.

18 people found this helpful

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A non stop thrilling ride

An original book with a great story full of twists and turns, excellent characters and no slow points. The story kept me guessing till the end. I was thoroughly taken by this excellent writer who was new to me. One of those audible reads that stands way above the rest. I am now going to look out for more by this author.

8 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Loved this story. Richard Armitage as usual an excellent narrator. I have enjoyed all the books in this series.

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Funereal Narative.

I haven't disliked a book so badly for ages. A dire story is read by Richard Armitage in a depressing sonorous funereal tone that is wearing in the extreme.
A very thin story goes nowhere for most of the book to the point I couldn't have cared less about how it ended which was wise as if was a truly soulless one.

7 people found this helpful

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Great narrator, intriguing story

Enjoy this series mainly due to narrator, wonderful voice to the main character. Story as usual captivating, walk a bit extra just to listen . Had 2 stories woven throughout and eventually connected but not in way expected. Looking forward to next book. Recommend to listen while walking ,knitting really enjoyed this book

6 people found this helpful

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Who thought crime could be so boring...

This is about 20% crime 80% coping with a character's friends deaths. Pretty boring if you wanted an actual crime book.

4 people found this helpful

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Contains spoiler

This is the third Jackman and Evans book I have listened to and it failed to live up to the standard.
Mr Armitage read in a flat uninterested tone and failed to make clear what were thoughts or what was spoken. Worst of all was Ms Ellis's method of tying up loose ends. Drowning is not an easy way to die, and doubly cruel for a dog. I doubt that any man aware of that and who loved his dog as much as Silas did would have allowed that to happen to his dog.

7 people found this helpful

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  • ej
  • 15-12-18

An intriguing story

Quite different from Joy Ellis’ previous books. A little macabre in places but a psychologically fascinating read. Jackman I felt was a bit sidelined in this story, but the rest of the characters were good. Read beautifully as usual, by Richard Armitage. I don’t think I could listen to a Jackman and Evans book without him reading it now. He is them and they are him!

3 people found this helpful

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Looked promising but...

I thought this looked interesting from the summary and reviews but it was not for me. I only managed about an hour before giving up. I can only describe it as "grey" - slightly depressing narration, no discernible thread to the story, and no characters which I cared about. Maybe I'm used to being spoon-fed easier listens, but there was nothing at all I could recommend about this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Maine Knitter
  • 24-12-18

A bit of a disappointment

This is a tough one. I truly enjoy Joy Ellis’s work. After the first two books in this series, Jackman and Evans and their team have become interesting and I’m curious as to where things go with them. For that reason I finished this book. Oh, and Richard Armitage’s narration helped a great deal, too.

The story itself was difficult. I couldn’t get invested in the players, mainly Carter. I had to force myself to keep going.

I smiled at the mention of Nikki Galena (one of my favorite characters) and I want to know more about Orlagh in the basement.

This is my least favorite book in the series but I’ll continue with it while waiting for the next Nikki Galena book.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Lauren
  • 07-12-18

Ellis/Armitage knocks it out of the park again!

Wow! Joy Ellis never disappoints. Her attention to character development and details is superb. Her attention to police investigative techniques and forensics adds to the richness of her stories that grabs you from the start. Richard Armitage makes Ellis's stories a living, breathing story that cannot fully be described. You are transported as if you are standing right next to each person and inside each scene. He electrifies all five of your senses and holds your attention where you cannot stop listening. You have to know what happens next.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Catherine
  • 16-01-19

I did finish the book

I thought this book was OK, and I did finish it, The characters were fine, but the actual story did not sit well with me. SPOILER ALERT: I would like to listen to a police procedural where the criminal, murderer, victim, etc. is not the police, main character, co-worker, friend, spouse, neighbor, pet, or partner. I would like to listen to a book about a police team working together to solve a case using a list of suspects outside the police circle. Can't a police team work together to solve a mystery without being a part of it?. The story was not happy, and had a dreary ending. Not a bad writer, but I would like to see a different story-line in the next book. I haven't decided if I want to listen to another book by this author. There won't be many fictional police left in the UK to write about, since most of them end up dead or guilty of a major crime. Too many books turn out the same way.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 12-03-20

Best novel of the series

THE FOURTH FRIEND is Book 3 in the six novel (so far) Jackman and Evans series by British author Joy Ellis. For some unexplained reason I failed to listen to it until now. It's a marvelous psychological thriller, the only psychological thriller in the modern detective series. The narration by British actor Richard Armitage is flawless. Very highly recommended!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 19-05-19

Disappointing

So sorry, but I have to disagree with all the five star reviews here. The book is ok, but just DEPRESSING with a capital D. Guy survives a plane crash that kills all his friends, and we watch as he sadly schleps around trying to get his life back while his burnt up, dead friends haunt him to finish "their stuff". I kept waiting for it to get better (all those 5 star reviews!), but it didn't.
Not a horrible mystery, but the story overall just left me feeling depressed. Doubt I'll bother trying the other books in this series, none of the characters really resonated with me.

Richard Armitage was great with the delivery of the story and the only reason I finished the book

8 people found this helpful

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  • Karen K-F
  • 23-01-19

Happily not what I expected.

I read the book first and then saw that Richard Armitage was the narrator in the audible version. I had to listen. While I enjoyed reading this book Richard's narration was spot on and gave me a whole new perspective. Going to have to check out more collaborations between Joy and Richard!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Diana Hart 33
  • 15-12-19

Loved it

I would say this is the best one yet, but they are all good, Narrator is fantastic.

2 people found this helpful

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  • E. Allison
  • 27-06-19

Not the best in the series, but solid.

I prefer police procedurals that focus on a case, not completely focus on the internal team dynamics. I make an exception for this series because it is so well written and while I was initially wary when I noticed how focused the story was on Carter here, the way it’s laid out won me over completely. A lot of authors would have made a mess of this type of framework, but this works very smoothly.

The case is not that interesting in isolation but because of how complicated it gets, and how the suspicion dances around different suspects, including Carter, it keeps it interesting. Carter is a wild card – literally having visions of his dead friends and you wonder more and more if Carter’s guilt is just about how they died, or because he was somehow involved in the original murder. He feels more and more like a ticking time bomb and you wonder how long it will be before he snaps and how bad that will be.

Do I even have to bother mentioning how amazing Richard Armitage is at this point? His array of voices are incredible – even his female voices are impressive and his ‘old people’ voices are jaw dropping. Best voice actor I’ve heard on Audible, and that’s quite the compliment.

This series is an impressive example of the police procedural – I would usually be put off by the focus more on the team than the crime, but it’s so well written that I will read all of them without hesitation. Another strong entry. I don’t feel book 2 and 3 lived up to the exceptional #1, but still a very enjoyable read. What’s a bit missing from 2 and 3 is a great case to work on – the cases in 2 and 3 feel almost like an afterthought, an emphasis on the team and their methods and far less on the case itself. The case in #1 was fascinating, and I think if you added a more interesting case to this formula, you’d return to the excellence of #1. This one is a definite improvement on 2 and 3, if you want to focus on the investigators more than the investigation, then the story has to be interesting enough to distract from the case itself – this is an example of it done right. I was never bored or not interested, I was always curious where it was going. Not the best in the series but very solid.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ester vdD
  • 16-05-19

Another Jackman & Evans story!

Love the way Joy Ellis describes the characters and surroundings. The story twists and turns.
I must admit I liked ‘Their list daughters’ more as a story.

The narration by Richard Armitage was sublime (as always in the books he narrates), I love the way he tells the story

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeanne DeShazer
  • 08-01-19

Best one in the Jackman/Evans Series

The Fourth Friend, by Joy Ellis. I listened to this on Audible. Narrated by Richard Armitage (North & South). The third installment in the Jackman and Evans series, DS Evans allows Detective Carter McLean back to work following his being the only survivor of a plane crash that killed his four best friends 18 mos earlier. When he confides in her that he sees his friends all the time and that they are each having him help them complete one last request, she wonders if she's made a mistake. When it turns out a missing woman is the wife of one of those friends, things get even dicier. I enjoy the characters in these books so much. Adding mental illness or the supernatural made the story even more interesting. Joy Ellis is very skilled at combining character, 3 different mysteries and elements of surprise making her books hard to put down. Richard Armitage is a stellar narrator moving seamlessly between character voices, leaving no doubt in your mind, which one is speaking. Enjoyed this very much.

4 people found this helpful