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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-01-18

Worthwhile companion to the novel

There was a long gap between listening to the audiobook of Beside Myself and listing to this interview with the author and Q&A session with the audience. Points were raised that had not occurred to me and I now plan to listen to the audiobook again - which shows how much I appreciated this free download.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-10-17

Don’t bother

What a grubby nasty tale.

This seems to be an attempt to cash-in on the ‘Girl on a Train’ (which I enjoyed). If you liked that book, don’t waste your time on this one.

It started well but I knew i was in trouble when the sexual exploitation started.

The cod psychology made me cringe. I had no patience with the ‘girl before’ or the ‘girl’ in the present. The psychological explanations for each of their actions seemed like victim-blaming. The villian(s) were two-dimentional. I didn’t care about the fate of either ‘girl’. I was also annoyed by the assumption that readers would sympathise with maternal instincts.

In its favour, there is a bit of tension late in the book. However, by then, Nothing the author could do could redeem the book for me.

The selection of readers is odd. I couldn’t distinguish between the two main readers. I was glad that each chapter started with ‘Now’ and ‘Before’.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-08-17

Last episode stopped this from being 5*

I love John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme. I listened to this series when it was broadcast on Radio 4. Still brilliant to hear again but that last episode is dominated by an extended musical sketch that isn't funny. It seemed self-indulgent by those members of the cast who like to sing.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-03-17

Life affirming without being sentimental

I devowered this book over a couple of days. The narrative and the excellent narration make this a superb experience.

Young hedge fund manager tries to ignore his brain tumour and carry-on making money. The fact that he is lonely and leads a loveless life becomes apparent and he doesn't know whether his increasing interest in the occupy camp, just outside his place of work, is natural or due to his tumour.

The novel is more than the sum of the plot. It has it all - subterfuge, revenge, possible redemption and an increasing love for the protagonist as he learns feel empathy (and more) for others. All is achieved without sentimentality or hectoring - quite an achievement!

I'm eager for more by Gavin Extence. He's a wonderful author.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-01-17

Excellent ghost story

I loved the audiobook of Michelle Paver's Dark Matter and I'd been hoping she would return to adult ghost stories. This is a superb audiobook.

Some reviewers have remarked on the similarity between Thin Air and Dark Matter - there are certainly similarities between the two books but that didn't matter to me - this is a genre work and if the main elements are not broken, why fix them! If you liked Dark Matter, you should love Thin Air.

There's a good narrative strand of sibling rivalry between the narrator, the mountain expedition's doctor, and his elder brother, who is the expedition's leader. But it is the slow build-up of tension from the supernatural elements that makes this book so good. The climax is gripping and horrifying without being gory and then there is a very moving aftermath.

I won't claim that this actually scared me, however, after I'd finished the audiobook, I happened to have been woken-up by the wind and rain in the middle of the night and I was transported to the Himalayas and the climax and ending of the novel.

I highly recommend this book.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-17

Thought provoking

I'm a fan of Luke Smitherd and I've given his other works 5 star reviews. The scenario with five people's lives being at risk if the protagonist, Chris, doesn't kill someone didn't disturb me - it is fiction, after all, and sets-up a good thought experiment. However, the fact that it was the fate of 5 young women did disturb me and it got in the way of my enjoyment of the book. Is that perverse of me? By explanation, imagine the kind of exploitative film that would be made if this novel was adapted into a film. Then imagine a film where the sisters were replaced by other people, including men.

That aside, I related to poor Chris' disgust at his plight and how he tried to find a victim who truly deserved to be killed (in order to save others). I liked the black humour in the early part of the book. The novel also made me think how I would react in Chris's place (hopefully differently) and it did get me thinking how I might select a victim.

Some reviewers have been disappointed by the final section. However, I liked this part of the book and the (open) ending was perfect.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-16

Superb

I hadn't planned to spend 7+ hours listening to this audiobook in a single day but I couldn't stop myself.

I've listened to Luke Smitherd's other audiobooks and this one is up there with the best of the rest. It is different, with the brilliant use of black comedy for a number of chapters, followed by 'comic book' violence before... No, I wouldn't want to spoil your enjoyment or surprise.

I loved the self-delusion of the diarist/narrator. I was fearful for Nigel. I was lulled into a sense of thinking I vaguely knew where the story was leading - before the rug was pulled from under my feet...

Not for the first time, I found myself comparing Luke Smitherd to the late great Iain Banks. Surely Luke is Iain's sucessor.

I very much liked Mr Smithered's narration.

This is a superb audiobook. If you have listened to the Audible sample, don't stop there - buy this. You will be rewarded.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-09-16

A lovely treat

A good audiobook to dip into and listen to one tale at a time. There's lovey twists in these stories and a good dash of the macabre.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-16

Gripping

Very satisfying story and superbly narrated.

The awful situation of the main character played on my mind so much that I stopped listening for a few days.

The structure of the novel is excellent. It starts with the narrator's childhood and progresses into her teens, however, alternate chapters are in the present. There is good use of foreshadowing so the reader glimpses the future without knowing how the main character got there.

I liked the way that I kept revising or doubting what I thought I knew. Unstated but ever present is the whole nature/nurture debate regarding how children and adults are treated and how this influences how they act and see themselves.

Loved the climax of the novel near the end and found the conclusion fitting.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-05-16

Mixed experience

I listened to The Colony back in 2013. I enjoyed it and was looking forward to this follow-up. I listened to The Going and the Rise novella first. This features a character, Ruthie, who then has a prominent role in Dark Resurrection. Annoyingly, a detailed summary of The Going is featured in DR. This is the most obvious example of padding-out this long novel.

I wish I had revisited The Colony before listening to DR. Some of the characters from DR feature in the new novel and I couldn't remember their back story. Like The Colony, I found that this novel had far too many characters and distinguishing some of them was not easy.

I stuck with the story to the end but it took a lot of effort. It seemed very long and didn't sustain my inteterest.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful