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Cradle Song (Song Cycle Trilogy 1) [Paperback]

Robert Edric
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2004 Song Cycle Trilogy 1

An imprisoned paedophile and child murderer unexpectedly appeals his conviction. In return for a reduced sentence, he offers to implicate those involved in the crimes who were never caught; to provide evidence of Police corruption at the time of the original investigation; and, most importantly, to reveal where the corpses of several long-sought, but never found teenage girls are buried.

Unhappy at what may be about to happen, but at the same time desperate to locate the body of his own missing daughter, the father of one of these girls approaches Private Investigator Leo Rivers with a plea for help.

Rivers' enquiries stir cold and bitter memories. Long-dead enmities flare suddenly into violence and a succession of new killings. Everyone involved, then and now, and on both sides of the law, is unprepared for the suddenness and ferocity with which these old embers are fanned back into life. As the investigation progresses, it gathers momentum, and now must speed inexorably to the even greater violence and sadness of its conclusion.

The first of a trilogy of contemporary crime novels set in the city of Hull, Robert Edric's new novel is reminiscent of Chandler and Mosley, and yet remains uniquely British. Against the backdrop of Internet pornography, Police corruption and child murder, this dark and intense novel reads like a game of chess where each piece is invested with a deceptive significance.

Frequently Bought Together

Cradle Song (Song Cycle Trilogy 1) + Swan Song (Song Cycle Trilogy 3) + Siren Song (Song Cycle Trilogy 2)
Price For All Three: 22.78

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552771422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552771429
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Highly accomplished... Fans can look forward to his usual sharply realised characters operating in a tense, pressured environment'" (Independent)

"'A rewarding experience...This is murder at its most foul, crime at the deep end'" (Spectator)

"'His novel is something substantial and distinctive...Edric has a clear, almost rain-washed style, eminently suitable for his Hull setting...Cradle Song is a strong and serious novel, soberly entertaining and well worth your while'" (Literary Review)

"'Cradle Song is a superbly paced book... This is classic crime noir... Edric can also produce beautiful prose and arresting images as well as incisive social satire... Magnificently achieved'" (Giles Foden)

"'Deeply intelligent...Vertiginously devious...Twists like a fist around the throat of the reader'" (The Times)

Book Description

Stunning literary crime novel, from the acclaimed author of Booker-longlisted PEACETIME, and THE BOOK OF THE HEATHEN.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the 15th round 16 Aug 2008
When you pick up "Cradle Song" (the first of Robert Edric's "Song Cycle Trilogy" which leads through "Siren Song" to "Swan Song"), you instantly know that you are walking through a land of deception.

The first few pages report the critics from almost every major UK newspaper and periodical telling you that here is a master of the sleight of hand, of the intricately woven plot, one of the best and most under-rated writers in the English language.

So you start reading, and there is an unnerving dissonance between the text and the plaudits. For the first four hundred pages, you are presented with an entertaining US TV-style crime procedural import, skilfully adapted to the climate of the North-East coast of England, driven by massed high voltage dialogue where people would rather swear at each other than greet each other, and with moments where the sun really breaks through as he describes abandoned individuals, such as the retired DCI Sullivan beached in his shadow disgrace, and the pathetic child pornographer, Martin Roper, recapturing his summer play among the flats of a bleak Spurn Point.

Then, after four hundred pages (perhaps a little long to wait), you are in the hands of the author who in "The Book of the Heathen" made Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" infinitely darker. The pace picks up, and the details hit you from rock-solid foundations in the culmination of a brutal, seedy tale.

This is why Robert Edric is considered a master. Like a Cistercian monk, he sees the world and he doesn't blink.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior writing - superior crime novel 5 July 2004
By Mr. Stephen Edwards VINE VOICE
The standard of writing here is a cut above the standard detective novel, but Mr Edric doesn't overcomplicate an excellent PI/police procedural, set in Hull. Leo Rivers, the PI is a low key and realistic creation, not the stereotypical Marlowe figure transported to Yorkshire. The police and the criminals are subtly divided in character, not "white hats and black hats". Apparently this is the first of a series of three, I'm looking forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much too slow 29 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book started very well and I had high hopes of a good read. But after 100 pages it became so slow, repetitive and unengaging that I wondered whether to keep going. I did, but it was a slog, with very little reward. It is much too long, as well as too slow, the subject matter is over-familiar, and the characters remain obscured by far too much dialogue. Disappointing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment 27 July 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the first of Edric's books I have read, and almost certainly the last. It came very well recommended, both by Amazon reviewers and by reviewers for major papers and journals. That may, in part, be why I was so disappointed by it in the end. It was, I believe, praised far out of its league and made to seem a literary masterpiece when it is not. There is some fine writing, though not, perhaps, enough. But for the most part it is a very tedious, slow read, with a plot that drags and drags and at times goes so far up its own nether regions as to seem entirely forced. There is no pace, not at the start, and not by the end. It is monotone. We know next to nothing about the narrator (the private detective). He lacks all emotion or has such repressed emotions that they do not serve. Much of the writing consists of overlong, stretched dialogue between characters who never seem to like anybody, not even themselves. The overall mood is, in consequence, sombre lit through with antagonism. The narrator is or should be the protagonist, but in truth he can't be because he remains subservient to the police (who use him) and some criminals (who use him). By choosing to write a first-person narrative, Edric makes it difficult to handle a plot that is spread over several characters and places. He ends up using telephone conversations and other awkward devices in order to keep the narrator connected to the plot. I came away not liking it. The author clearly has talent, but I wonder if he is well suited to the crime novel.
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