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The Straw Men
 
 

The Straw Men [Kindle Edition]

Michael Marshall
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

With The Straw Men, Michael Marshall Smith moves impressively from being a promising author of surreal mid-list novels which draw equally on sf, fantasy and noir thriller into new and even darker territory.

Teenage Sarah is kidnapped in LA and subjected to the endless mad rants of the man who has nailed her under the floorboards, who is slowly starving her as he has others before. Burned-out cop Zandt, whose own daughter was taken and never seen again, is called back into the investigation by his FBI ex-mistress. Drunken, off-the-rails, ex-CIA Wade investigates the things which do not add up in the deaths of the parents he did not know as well as he thought he did. This is a book whose ambiguously heroic heroes share an almost comic ruthlessness with its villains and yet which never ceases to draw a clear line between the merely wrong and the profoundly wicked. Along the way, both the nature of the underlying conspiracy and the smart moves needed to track it down are created with remorseless ingenuity.

Marshall Smith has the skill to create motives and moves that are at once insane, plausible and contemporary. --Roz Kaveney

Amazon Review

With The Straw Men, Michael Marshall Smith moves impressively from being a promising author of surreal mid-list novels which draw equally on sf, fantasy and noir thriller into new and even darker territory.

Teenage Sarah is kidnapped in LA and subjected to the endless mad rants of the man who has nailed her under the floorboards, who is slowly starving her as he has others before. Burned-out cop Zandt, whose own daughter was taken and never seen again, is called back into the investigation by his FBI ex-mistress. Drunken, off-the-rails, ex-CIA Wade investigates the things which do not add up in the deaths of the parents he did not know as well as he thought he did. This is a book whose ambiguously heroic heroes share an almost comic ruthlessness with its villains and yet which never ceases to draw a clear line between the merely wrong and the profoundly wicked. Along the way, both the nature of the underlying conspiracy and the smart moves needed to track it down are created with remorseless ingenuity.

Marshall Smith has the skill to create motives and moves that are at once insane, plausible and contemporary. --Roz Kaveney


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 507 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (1 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9PG8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FineThriller - The Film Awaits! 1 July 2005
Format:Paperback
This is the first Michael Marshall book I have read to date but I can safely say I will endeavour to read more. It is rare to find a book in this genre that is so well written. Keeping the reader gripped with a patchwork of perspectives; it displays the author's obvious intellect and has within it's pages passages that would not look out of place in texts that have theology or psychology as their main theme.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to any reader who enjoys a murder/mystery thriller though would say that it goes way beyond that.
Excellent Mr Marshall! - More books of this quality please.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best modern thriller fiction around 25 Jun 2005
Format:Paperback
It is difficult to see how criticism can be levied at an author for diverting from his usual genre and writing style to attempt something different. It must have been clear to Marshall's many fans that when he wrote Straw Men it was not to be the fare he has previously penned. He even changed his writing name in doing so. I read Straw Men and thought it was a superbly engaging and thrilling piece of prose. It led me to read the other books he wrote which I absolutely loathed. Not my style, surrealism, but how could I criticise Marshall for that? Onto the Straw Men itself. The opening is as gripping, shocking and disturbing as any I have read recently and immediately sets the tone for a very dark, cynical and grimly observed narrative. It is reminiscent in this respect of James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard. Marshall does not quite reach that classic status and perhaps 5 stars ought to be reserved for that level of talent and insight, but when compared to the rest of the genre currently, Marshall is streets ahead of the rest of the cadre of 'serious thriller' writers (distinguishing the likes of Harlan Coben and Rpbert Crais whose styles are slightly more tongue-in-cheek given the demeanours of their narrators). His ability to keenly observe in a sardonic and bitter way puts him in the same league as Ian Rankin. Characterisation of Ward Hopkins, John Zandt and Nina Baynam is good, not perhaps as good as Rankin's Rebus, but the characters are in general very well rendered. Dialaogue is utterly believable, which in my book is as important as anything other single aspect of a work of fiction. Bad dialogue will never be compensated for by great description whereas the reverse is not necessarily true - poor descriptive narrative can sometimes be compensated for very well by excellent dialogue. The Straw Men is a very accomplished and adriot entry into the thriller genre and there is much to behoove it. You will not be disappointed nor will you be able to put it down...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book...couldn't put it down 3 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback
I have to say that i am not a big fan of crime novels but i thought this book was brilliant. I love that it is written from the POV of the main character Ward Hopkins, and although the character doesn't have a squeaky clean past, you can't help but like him. The dialogue is also well written. Some of the one liners that the characters come out with have me in stitches.

I really only bought this book because i bought Blood of Angels and then realised that it was the third in a series, so i had to purchase the other two. I have to say i have not been disappointed once. I am now reading the third book, but have thoroughly enjoyed the others, hence the review. I think all fans of good writing, gripping storylines and believable characters should read them!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense - Psychological Thriller extraordinaire 17 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Being a huge fan of MMS's previous works, I delved into my proof copy of Straw Men in earnest. While it bears no resemblance to his previous works in content, you can't miss his solitary unique polished finish. Apparently gearing for the Thomas Harris crowd (according to the jacket), he definitely delivers. Ward Hopkins, basic wanderer in life, discovers his youth was a sham upon his parents "death". He then spends his energies on trying to decipher a cryptic video, apparently left to him by his parents. Zandt, the darkly mysterious former homicide detective is perfectly characterised and believable. The locations are so brilliantly hewn, you feel like you're sitting at a McDonald's in Pennsylvania after a single paragraph. Great in-jokes for anyone on either side of the pond. I still feel Spares was his best achievement but this book was definitely a top-notch read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damn fine read 28 Dec 2003
Format:Paperback
I loved this book! From start to finish it keeps you gripped with a different take on the suspense thriller. Twist and turns that will leave you a gasp.
Do you like Harlan Coben? Or Steven King? Then you'll love Straw men, as it combines elements of both.
I shall be on the look out for any future releases by Michael Marshall!.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but less than expected... 13 Oct 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
From the cover and the blurb, I expected more of this book. I am not familiar with the author's other sci-fi work as Michael Marshall Smith, so my expectations were strictly limited to the cover, blurb and word of mouth.
The book starts with an horrific scene of mass murder, which appears unconnected to the two stories that then weave through the next chapters. These two stories also, at first, appear completely unlinked, but eventually link. When linked - Ward & Bobby on the conspiracy of Ward's parents death with Nina & Zandt on the serial murder/young girl abduction - there's a good fast pace to the end.
It's easy to enagage the characters and situation of Ward & Bobby, but Nina's character draws little sympathy and seems almost a cameo. As a result, her relationship with Zandt and their predicament loses momentum and interest.
There are sections of undoubtedly powerful and explosive writing, that will leave you with a dropped jaw. However, as a whole it does not quite gel into the fast paced thriller you might hope for.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read.
Edge of my seat all the way thru. Couldn't put it down! The pace builds to the explosive climax. Great!
Published 1 month ago by Linda Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacy page turner
Spot on description makes you feel you're there in the moment. I like the pace and constantly developing story line.
Published 4 months ago by Jane Eyre
4.0 out of 5 stars Good call Rob
Looking for a good read, if thus book is anything to go by the rest will be great.

Good start and a fantastic recommendation... Love it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Neil Braim
4.0 out of 5 stars classic Marshall
i really enjoyed this book - the plot twists kept me hooked and Marshall's style ensured my intrigue was maintained
Published 7 months ago by elaine humpleby
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read
This book was great, super start, solid middle and a good ending for me. It kind of sucked me in at the start and kept enough mystery back all the way through to keep you... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Carl Poulton
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book
Great read. A real page turner. Edge of the seat stuff. Micheal Marshall is a name I'm going to make a point of seaking out in the future, very good book.
Published 9 months ago by G.Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended.
I've enjoyed this series of books a lot. This opener isn't the strongest of them but is still very good.
Published 10 months ago by James
3.0 out of 5 stars too contrived
I FOUND THAT THIS IS NOT A BOOK THAT YOU CAN LEAVE AND THEN PICK UP A FEW DAYS LATER, BECAUSE THE PLOT IS SO INVOLVED THAT I HAD TO SKIM BACK TO REMIND MYSELF OF THE STORYLINE. Read more
Published 10 months ago by TING
1.0 out of 5 stars Really awful
An absurd plot. Terribly written by an author who presumably loves the sound of his own voice and thinks he's writing a screenplay. Abysmal.
Published 11 months ago by HandyGuy
4.0 out of 5 stars straw Men
A good read even though he used a lot of his own made up words it sort of added to the actual content of what was being expressed.
Published 11 months ago by Dancing Queen
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