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The Vice Society [Paperback]

James McCreet
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 21 May 2010 --  

Book Description

21 May 2010

In Victorian London gruesome events are afoot. Some are asking why the Detective Force’s Inspector Albert Newsome is investigating the curious but - apparently - insignificant death that occurred in Holywell Street. What seemed like a common enough incident is complicated when the Inspector discovers his ex-colleague (and master detective) George Williamson is also pursuing the case, as well as a sinister former criminal named Noah Dyson. Then the questions begin to multiply: why are prostitutes being poisoned? Who is exerting pressure on the Commissioner of police? And who, or what, is 'Persephone'?

From the gutter to the drawing rooms of St James’, the two detectives choose their allies and plunge into the underworld of Victorian London, where nothing is quite as it seems and the razor’s flash waits around every corner.

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (21 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230747965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230747968
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 13.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,469,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'A sinister brew...[McCreet] keeps a firm eye on structural machinery, giving us leisure to enjoy his stylistic sleights of hand, including the significant intrusion, at points through out the story of a mysterious omniscient narrator, who combines the functions of chorus and puppeteer.' -- Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

James McCreet was born in Sheffield. He taught English abroad for several years before returning to the UK to become a journalist and copywriter. This is his second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Better 27 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Better than the first book although the characters are still hard to picture. The dialogues are great, you actually feel your are there with them. The plot is gripping and the prose is excellent. Hoping for a bit more umph with 'all' charaters (the one who stands out more is Noah). Giving the third a try.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first in the series 4 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The plot here is better than the first in the series but the book is still not completely gripping. There are some clever bits - I liked the touch of the 'author within the author' who tries to keep one step ahead of the police. But the novel suffers terribly from one dimensional characters. Williamson is holier than thou and Newsome is just plain horrible. The only characters who are remotely interesting are "the author" and Noah - unfortunately they don't appear enough to redeem the book. As for the third book in the series, unless someone tells me Noah is the star, I'm not going to bother.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He had me at 'defenestration'... 11 Feb 2011
James McCreet's skill for inserting the occasional slightly more interesting vocabulary makes you smile but doesn't distract from his excellent story-telling. This is a detective novel that opens with an apparently straightforward suicide 'It was not a crow that Alfred White saw taking flight from the railing of the Monument that gloomy London afternoon...', but soon develops into something way more sinister.
The setting is the seedy streets of Victorian London and you can virtually smell the sewers. Inspector Albert Newsome would not be outwitted by Sherlock Holmes and Eusebius Bean is a character worthy of Dickens in both name and nature. I raced to the end of The Vice Society and am now impatiently awaiting the release of McCreet's next novel.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth re-reading 16 Aug 2011
By Zutka
There was nothing about this book I didn't like. The main characters were great (even the nasty ones) and the minor characters were sometimes fascinating (I'm thinking of the autistic savant Aubrey Alsthom, who is basically a nineteenth-century internet). The settings are well drawn, the individual episodes are gripping (especially the opening chapter with its suicide and inquest) and the writing is wonderfully textured. The scene at the end in the slaughterhouse district is amazing. It kept me excited all the way through.

I've never been much of a fan of historical fiction, but I would definitely read more of James McCreet's books because I'd like to see what else he does with this group of characters. Unlike other crime books, there isn't just one detective, but a group of them who compete to solve the crime.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull but ostentatious 9 Aug 2011
I bought this book from a recommendation in Waterstones and found it rather tedious from the outset. In fact it took me two attempts to get past the first chapter I was so bored. It was only because I didn't have anything else to read I came back to it.

There are many annoying changes in perspective which lose the pace and excitment which the story could have generated. There are also small but irritating habits such as blanking out words (not sure why?) and advertorial references to previous books and those which the author may subject us to in the future.

Overall - not a bad story, but one told poorly and a style which makes the reader wonder why they bothered.
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