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Weirdo [Paperback]

Cathi Unsworth
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
Price: 10.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 July 2012

Twenty years ago, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl named Corrine Woodrow was convicted of murdering one of her classmates.

But now new forensic evidence indicates that Corrine didn't act alone, and Sean Ward - a private investigator whose promising career in the Met was cut short by a teenage drug dealer with an automatic weapon - travels to the seaside town of Ernemouth, to try to discover what really happened all those years ago. But he quickly realises that what's ultimately at stake is not Corrine's reputation, but those of the people who ran the place then - and still run it now.

In order to get to the truth, he has to take on not just retired Detective Inspector Len Rivett - the man who headed up the original case and wants to keep it firmly closed -- but also the mindset of an entire town that has always known how to look after its own.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (12 July 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1846687926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687921
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A must for fans of crime fiction' --Hot Press

'Unsworth's best yet, as sharp as vinegar on chips' --Financial Times

'Cathi Unsworth has carved out an idiosyncratic niche writing unsettling, subcultural British noir ... a creepy, credible page-turner that delights and disturbs' --Metro

'A serious talent ... An unusually gifted writer of heartfelt noir ... she has brilliantly captured that desperate sense of teenage boredom, isolation, danger and mayhem.' --Daily Mirror

'The greatest strength of Cathi Unsworth 's crime writing to date has derived from her ability to evoke a specific time and place with an intense and visceral skill. Weirdo, her fourth novel, is her finest work yet in that respect, and the fact that it is attached to the most deft and intricate piece of plotting of her career makes it an outstanding addition to the British crime-writing scene . . . page-turning and intense' --Independent on Sunday

'An absorbing mystery, an extraordinarily powerful evocation of time and place and a cast of characters whose every breath feels real Unsworth gets better with every book.' --Guardian

'a broodingly atmospheric noir ' Observer

'Bad Penny Blues marked out Cathi Unsworth as a writer of rare talent. Weirdo proves she is no one-hit wonder... Demonstrating once again a fine sense of place and period (1983 and 2003), Unsworth creates a gripping tale of adolescent angst and genuine evil' --Sunday Telegraph

'Unsworth draws on her Norfolk upbringing to explore an insular society' -- Sunday Express

'Masterful ... brilliant evocation of time and place, Unsworth adds astonishing and disturbing insight into the minds of disaffected youth who cannot find love and acceptance. Terrific.' --The Times

'The greatest strength of Cathi Unsworth 's crime writing to date has derived from her ability to evoke a specific time and place with an intense and visceral skill. Weirdo, her fourth novel, is her finest work yet in that respect, and the fact that it is attached to the most deft and intricate piece of plotting of her career makes it an outstanding addition to the British crime-writing scene . . . page-turning and intense. ' --Independent on Sunday

'An absorbing mystery, an extraordinarily powerful evocation of time and place and a cast of characters whose every breath feels real Unsworth gets better with every book.' --Guardian

'a broodingly atmospheric noir ' Observer

'Bad Penny Blues marked out Cathi Unsworth as a writer of rare talent. Weirdo proves she is no one-hit wonder... Demonstrating once again a fine sense of place and period (1983 and 2003), Unsworth creates a gripping tale of adolescent angst and genuine evil' --Sunday Telegraph

'Unsworth draws on her Norfolk upbringing to explore an insular society' --Sunday Express

Book Description

The new novel from 'the First Lady of Noir Fiction' (David Peace)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Edie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For the first time in a long time, I finished a book and started rereading it immediately. Not because it had a tricksy opening to reassess, but to savour the language, having devoured it first time round for plot. This is a mini-masterpiece of UK crime writing. Not just a whodunnit but a whodunwot. Neither victim nor perpetrator are revealed until late into the novel and yet we are hooked, and kept guessing throughout. Into a happy, rundown backwater comp comes Sam, hot from London, having been dragged back to Ernemouth with her mum who has run off with a man half her age. Sam brings discord and suspicion wherever she goes, brewing up divisions and hatreds that run far beyond jostling for queen bee position on the school field.

In Weirdo, the characters are multi-layered and all too real. Even the clearly wicked have their complexities and vulnerabilities. Unsworth creates an intensely vivid atmosphere through location in this tired seaside town with its hatred of outsiders, strangers, weirdos - anyone who deviates from its shiny little norm that is rotten at core. She brings the medieval witch hunt up to date. I'm a sucker for crime and literary novels but they don't often come hand in hand. She keeps pace with the best of them, but never at the expense of subtle, multi-textured language and observation. I can't rate this highly enough. Not read anything else by her yet so am looking forward to the backlist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric psychological suspense 7 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
Cathi Unsworth has really got in to her stride with Weirdo, a fantastically well plotted psychological suspense novel, bordering on noir but not at all as dark as Cathi's previous books. Weirdo is set in two time periods: the early 80's and present day. Two investigations run parallel in the two narratives, and the reader only find out at the very end how it all ties in together and who the real victim and the real perpetrator is. I loved every page of this book, and was gobbled up by the tension: the creepy seaside town in winter, a small community trying to bury horrible secrets from the past, and the reader's niggling doubt - who can you trust, who's actually evil here?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Lady - and an Excellent Writer 16 Jan 2013
By G. J. Oxley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was priviledged to meet and chat to the lovely Cathi at the Harrogate Crime Festival in 2011, where I purchased her latest book (at the time) 'Bad Penny Blues'. I informed her that I'd read her first novel 'The Less Deceived' on the recommendation of the writer Martyn Waites (a GREAT bloke and superb, underrated novelist) and really enjoyed it. She was very sweet, so I was predisposed to like this title before I'd even started it!

Anyway, I haven't let this bias skew my reaction to the book. It quickly sinks its hooks into the reader and impels them to read along. The plot? I think if you read all the reviews on this page together they'd more or less make reading this book redundant, so I'll say no more on this matter.

I will comment however that Cathi honed her skills writing in the musical press to meet tight deadlines - and this discipline shows in how quickly and interestingly she moves the plot forward. It may not the best book I'll read this year, but it won't be too far short. In summary, this is very enjoyable and worthy of any crime fiction fan's attention.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Novel 5 Nov 2012
By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Weirdo is a very powerful novel. Set in two time periods, the first in 1983 when a horrible crime is committed and the other 20 years later when a PI, Sean Ward, investigates what really happened. This is a book which starts off very slowly, and the first 50 pages or so are dedicated to setting the scene, introducing characters and lengthy descriptions of the locale. However, from then on tension gradually builds, alternating between each time period until the end when the two explosively collide.

Corinne is a strange girl who has been in a secure mental institution for twenty years, after having been convicted of the violent slaying of a schoolmate. Ward has been hired by a QC to investigate what really occurred in the small fictional seaside town of Ernemouth in East Anglia. Although one has a clear idea as to who the victim of the crime may well have been, this is not clarified until right at the end. This strategy works very well and it keeps you guessing throughout as it is easy to identify the two obvious candidates.

This is a story which works well on a number of levels. Ernemouth is described so well that it is easy to imagine walking the streets of this claustrophobic, run down seaside town. Character development is very good, except for the evil characters who remain rather shady and less well defined and this also is a very purposeful tactic used by the author. The institutional and somewhat incestuous corruption which has plagued the town for many years is particularly well portrayed.

Some will be tempted to abandon this book in the slow, early stages, but this would be a big mistake as it becomes an increasingly absorbing read, and the latter part is definitely of page turning intensity. The name of the book is, in my opinion, rather unfortunate and may also put off some readers unnecessarily. This is the first novel by Cathi Unsworth which I have read, but it is really so good that I plan to seek out her other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By ROROBLU'S MUM TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I will be rather honest and say from the outset that the book is not kind in its portrayal of the characters or the setting. It is rather bluntly-put and has a grey, gloomy and grim perspective that is cleverly portrayed. I found it a little slow to start off with and had to go back a couple of times in the mistaken belief that I had missed something...

It took a while for me to settle into the style of writing and flow of the book - a short while into the book, I did have doubts as to whether I'd end up forcing myself into finishing it, or skim-reading in order to do so. However, once this had been achieved it rolled along pretty well. Full marks to the author for using a very out-of-the-way, out-of-the-spotlight location, in Norfolk. Makes a real change from something being set in London or the like.

It is a dark and sometimes unpleasant read but it does have a clear sense of intrigue. Worth having a look at, but just be forewarned that it isn't pretty, but that it is fairly clever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and interesting
A very varied cast of characters that helped keep me reading to find out what they'd do next and (because of the twin time lines) what they'd done in the past. Read more
Published 11 days ago by A. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is the first book I have read from this author and I enjoyed the writing style, the story and emotion behind the characters. I was fascinated from start to finish. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lil-p
4.0 out of 5 stars First read
This was my first book by this author and have to say it was very good. It may be my reading style but I got a big shock at the end! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Claire Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense and exciting - with a strong sense of place
This is the third book I have read by Cathi Unsworth and Weirdo is even more page-turner-y than The Singer and Bad Penny Blues. Read more
Published 4 months ago by nigeyb
5.0 out of 5 stars Cathi Unsworth is name to watch out for
With all the hype revolving around Weirdo, I just could not wait to read it. I so much admire how Cathi has written this psycholgical thriller. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ireadnovels
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable book
I purchased this book after hearing an interview with Cathi Unsworth on Radio Norfolk once. And as I live in Gt Yarmouth I knew a lot of the places she mentioned. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Louise Powles
4.0 out of 5 stars a very different story
Quite a change for my usual crime thrillers but I became sufficiently interested in the author to purchase other books by her.
Published 8 months ago by Bobbie
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
I dont often abandon a book I have started, but this failed to engage me. I just didnt like the style, or the characters which were cliched, and thinly sketched. Read more
Published 9 months ago by MissInformed
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I am sure MisterHG read this book recently though I can't find his review. I could be wrong.

When Corrine Woodrow was 15 she was convicted of murdering a classmate. Read more
Published 10 months ago by salemskye.com
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I first came across Cathi Unsworth when I read her brilliant novel `The Singer', and I then read `Bad Penny Blues' (reviewed on Amazon) which was less good but still engrossing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Arturo
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