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The Black Country Hardcover – May 21 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (May 21 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159336
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #352,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“It isn’t often that a mystery-thriller enthralls so completely . . . but as usual with Mr. Grecian, there is more to this tale than complex plotting. [The] book brings to life the murky collision of two worlds in the Victorian era: traditional folklore and modern science.  This intersection, captured so well by authors of the period, from Charles Dickens to Thomas Hardy, was fraught with complex questions about identity, authority, and belief . . . The Black Country captures all of these nuances while preserving the fast-paced plotting and breathlessness of a first-rate thriller . . . Whether you read the tale in the dark night of winter of the haze of a summer sun, be prepared for the chill.  The days are dark in Black Country.”—The Huffington Post
“I enjoyed the swift pacing of Grecian's story, its abundant period detail and its exuberantly gruesome tone . . . The gentlemanly, no-nonsense banter of the detectives in the face of evil is one of the prime pleasures of this riveting Victorian procedural.”—
“Grecian’s (The Yard) latest Murder Squad adventure is a fast-paced homage to the Victorian countryside mysteries of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. Recommended for Anglophiles, period mystery enthusiasts, and anyone interested in medical Victoriana.”—Library Journal
“Grecian’s riveting novel is an intelligent historical thriller similar to Jean Zimmerman’s atmospheric psychological novel The Orphanmaster (2012), and as shocking as David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art (2013).”—Booklist (starred review)
“Startling and spooky . . . [a] bold melding of horror with historical elements.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Grecian] presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.”—Kirkus
Praise for THE YARD

“Outstanding. If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Lusciously rich with detail, atmosphere, and history, and yet as fast paced as a locomotive, The Yard will keep you riveted from page one. It's truly a one- or two-sitting read."—Jeffery Deaver, author of Carte Blanche and The Bone Collector

About the Author

ALEX GRECIAN is the national bestselling author of The Yard and the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this novel much better than the "The Yard". Honestly, I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Although "The Black Country" starts out with some of the same characters that were in the first novel,it is a better story and better written. We have Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith heading up an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent family in the village of Blackhampton.The whole family hasn't disappeared,just the parents and the youngest son,Olivar. Three children from a previous marriage are still on the scene.Day and Hammersmith are holed up at the local inn,awaiting the arrival of Dr.Kingsley.The good Dr is another character from the first novel.He is the forensic member of the team,if you can use the term forensic,it is 1890.I found the novel an easy read and had no trouble getting into the story and the century.The plot was fairly simple.I would have liked to have seen more of a mystery/whodunit. Grecian does give you some interesting characters,a superstitious inn-keeper and some shady guests all wrapped up in a looming snow storm. If you liked the "TheYard", then the "The Black Country might be a good choice.
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on Aug. 20 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I read Alex Grecian's debut novel, The Yard, last year, I immediately added him to my 'must read' list.

His second book The Black Country brings back the investigators from Scotland Yard's Murder Squad.

Grecian starts off the book with a quick little 'gotcha' scene. A little girl climbing a tree finds something of great interest in a bird's nest - what she thinks is a lovely little blue egg - but it's an blue eye....

1899. Detective Day and Sergeant Hammersmith are sent to the small mining town of Blackhampton in the British Midlands. Two of the town's residents and their young son have vanished and the local constable is in over his head.

But what Day and Hammersmith find is not a town overly worried about the loss of three of their residents, but an insular mining town full of superstitions, suspicions and secrets. No one is willing to talk to the detectives, instead they seem bent on stopping the investigation in its tracks. A stranger who's only been in town for two weeks with his own agenda is more welcomed than Day and Hammersmith.

The Black Country is a busy book - the town is falling into the tunnels beneath, the townsfolk are falling sick from a mysterious malady, the children of the town are afraid of a boogeyman they've named "Raw Head, Bloody Bones", the weather is just as determined as the murderer to kill off a few more folks and the mysterious stranger has another mysterious stranger after him. A lot of plot? Oh, for sure - but I loved it!

What drew me to the first book has again captured me in The Black Country. I love the time period, but I especially enjoy these characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 213 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a misstep in a strong series Aug. 4 2016
By Jeff - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his debut novel The Yard, the author introduced us to Scotland Yard's Murder Squad. The novel was well received as it ought to have been. It had a great sense of history and place in Victorian London, it had engaging characters at every level of the Yard, it had a great plot, and it spent a lot of plot on the introduction of modern crime detection techniques into a police force just starting to become modern. Those elements, and strong writing made the book a favorite.

So why did the author chuck most of those assets out the door in the second book?

Beats me. It's still a decent read, but removing most of the characters from the first book and putting the body of the book into the rural Midlands did nothing to help it. As a result, even though we learned more about our two protagonists, this book is a bit of a plod, whereas the first went by quickly.

If you're a strong fan of the series, by all means read it. If not, you can skip striaght to The Devil's Workshop, the third book in the series, where the mistakes of the second book are remedied in full.
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not Dissapoint July 6 2016
By Sayward76 - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fantastic story. As expected from Grecian. A compliment to the series giving another several layers to Neville in the only way taking a character "home" can. Disclaimer - the mild discussion of Claire's pregnancy was not considered "sexual" for the purpose of this review.
Very well narrated. A pleasure to read and listen to.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun July 2 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good reading that is entertaining and will make you keep turning the pages. Am ready for the sequel to be real eased.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read Oct. 4 2016
By Suzanne Denn - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as good as The Yard but a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 16 2016
By Johnathan M. Chase - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great story and nice twists