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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(2 star). See all 30 reviews
#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon January 24, 2012
"He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago." -- Lamentations 3:6 (NKJV)

Nothing pleases me more than to sit down with a long engrossing tale and to be drawn fully into a different world, gaining many insights from the experience . . . and feeling transformed at the end.

Having been a fan of the Thomas Lynley novels for some time, I settled in with this book and waited for the magic to arrive.

It was a long wait. In the last hundred pages, the book began to take on a more interesting character . . . or I would have rated it at one star.

This book needs a strong editor to whack it down to size to fit the story's potential. Without that, you'll spend a lot of time following matters that won't interest you very much and may even make you feel not as good as when you picked up the book.

Unless you feel compelled to read every word that Elizabeth George writes, I suggest you skip this book. The next one has to be better.

So what's it all about? The book's core concerns the death of Ian Cresswell, who had recently left his wife to live with his male lover. Sir David Hillier "loans" Lynley to a casual acquaintance, Bernard Fairclough, to look into the death in an unofficial way. Thomas asks Simon and Deborah St. James to join him in the sleuthing, and he makes occasional calls on Barbara Havers for research help. It's all a bit awkward because Thomas cannot tell his "guv" and lover, Isabelle Ardley, where he is or what he is doing . . . and Barbara Havers is under her authority.

The book has multiple narrators: the deceased; Lynley; Deborah; Barbara; Cresswell's son Tim; a Fairclough daughter; a Fairclough daughter-in-law; and Zed Benjamin, a tabloid reporter. This design allows for lots of subplots such as strains in Lynley's relationship with Isabelle, the St. Jameses dealing with infertility, the difficulties faced by the Cresswell children, trying to find a juicy story for a tabloid and still live with one's conscience, Barbara's battles against orders to improve her appearance, and Barbara's relationship with her neighbors.

The story has enough plots and subplots to fill six soap operas, so don't be surprised by anything that comes along. If it hasn't happened yet, it probably will.

Overall, the book left me feeling down . . . even though I admired the way that Ms. George ultimately pulled a couple of rabbits out of the hat to make the story more worth the slog.

I felt that only the writing about Barbara Havers was really good. If this book had been expanded to just focus on her, it would have been a far, far better work. Much of the rest involved too little character development, too many unlikely circumstances, too predictable development events, and not much encouragement to draw from the human pain displayed.
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on April 19, 2012
This book lacked direction. While it included the usual characters, it had so many sub-plots and other characters that it detracted from the story. Having read many of Elizabeth George's book, this one was the least enjoyable. Seemed a bit tabloidy.
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on January 31, 2012
I started to read this book and wondered after 125 pages or so if I was alone in feeling the book poorly done and rambling. Guess not, since many many people seemed to feel the same, having looked at many reviews. Same old rich, entitled and boring people. I have also always wondered what an American who lives in America was doing writing about Brits. Like far too many pop writers today with a "book a year" contract Elizabeth George has run out of ideas and good plots but keeps selling based on past successes. And do women really have to have children to have meaningful lives in the 21st century? Get over it Deborah! I never got far enough (and I am glad I did not) to where Deborah plays a part in the death of another women who is also being made to feel her purpose in life is to reproduce. The former drug addict husband rushing to have her on the floor and telling her after how to position herself so his "swimmers" can do their work was nauseating. When the totally predictable obnoxious 14 year old boy kicks his cousin on the dock I decided enough is enough. Other boring points: Tommy(who calls a grown man that?) and his sleazy affair with his boss, Barbara who cannot be as inept at dressing her self or functioning in society as she is always portrayed,(I was glad she got her teeth fixed.) the predictable tabloid reporter and his dreadfully embarrassing mother..and so on and so on. I like to read in bed and this book is too big and heavy for that!
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on February 17, 2013
I was somewhat disappointed with this novel. I did not find the characters very engaging and there were too many sub plots. In addition the story wasn't' t very exciting.
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on April 1, 2012
Elizabeth George is my favorite author , I have read all of her Thomas Lindley series, the last one was great but this one took me two months to read, it was soo pointless until the last 100 pages, 600 pages of ramblings, the plot was also weak, I had figured it out before the last 100 pages. I expect I will read her next one and hopefully it will be better.
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on August 28, 2013
Not good at all. Six hundred and eight pages to basically say nothing. Like other reviewers, I have loved Inspector Lynley mysteries and especially the character of Barbara Havers. This book makes you think there is a plot but there isn't. Instead it is just convoluted sex and child pornography. Usually I am surprised by some of the twists and turns but not in this book. I had Altea figured out from the start, also Toy4You. Like who wouldn't, it was so obvious. I kept reading, after all this is Elizabeth George we are reading here, something MUST happen even on the last page. No, nothing happened except she set us up to read her next book. It might be better because it sounds like it will be about Havers. I agree with one other reviewer. Get rid of Deborah.....very boring and immature. I am really disappointed with this book all the way round. Not sure I will read the next one.
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