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on 14 August 2014
This is my first encounter with this best-selling author and I regret not having found him before. His writing is crisp and fast-paced with a clean narrative line. Once you lock into his story, which happens almost at once, you find it difficult to detach from it. He has you in his grip.

The central character is David Raker who specialises in finding people. He is a former journalist and knows how the Metropolitan Police function because of his many previous investigations, often proving an irritation to the cops because of his persistence in his pursuit of the truth.

Now he is presented with a particularly spiky mission---a senior police officer wants him to find her father, also a policeman but a very senior one who was in happy retirement with his wife in their isolated cottage on Dartmoor when one quiet evening he went out to the shed to get some firewood ---and never came back. No trace of him could be found, and that was a great puzzle.

As Raker starts digging he finds a whole trail of confusing and bewildering and even alarming clues. The missing officer, Leonard Franks, had an impeccable reputation. He was hardworking, a stickler for ethical behaviour and strict observance of police protocol. Why would he vanish like that? Why would he abandon his loving wife? Had criminals taken him in an act of vengeance? How was it that he could disappear in total silence in a place where a footfall could be heard 50 yards away?

What Raker discovers is a multi-layered conundrum. Remove one layer, you discover two more. Unsolved murder cases attract his attention. A disgraced police officer, Reynolds, fired by Franks for corruption, emerges as a key player is this drama.

Raker is drawn into dangerous behaviour, tracking the crooked cop, following clues into blind alleys. The author has a flair for evoking atmosphere – the streets of London after a snowstorm, a comfortable cottage, an abandoned mental hospital. He dangles clues before our eyes like bait—and we swallow them with glee as his spare prose draws us deeper and deeper into the mysterious recesses of the plot.

In his determination to solve the baffling disappearance of a universally admired and respected police officer, Rakes gets himself entangled and entrapped by the skilled manipulation of the man he is pursuing, Reynolds, the bent cop.

But then he stumbles across deeper criminality, hidden sins in unexpected quarters.

Tim Weaver keeps the ball of mystery bouncing with great skill, divulging small glimmers of information to keep the reader’s interest. Is Leonard Franks alive or dead? Is he being imprisoned by victims of his relentless pursuit of criminality? Is he on the run, and if so, from what? From whom?

There is never a dull moment in this crime thriller. Now I shall read Weaver’s other works.--Prospero.

Rating: Four engrossing stars. was provided with an advanced copy for review.
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on 15 August 2014
This is the first book I've read of Tim Weaver's even though I have Never Coming Back on the bookshelf. For those of you that have also not read Tim Weaver before, the protagonist David Raker is a private investigator who finds missing people - whether they want to be found or not it seems from this installment. This being book 5 in the series. I didn't feel that I was at a loss reading number 5 in the series first, it can easily be read as a standalone but I appreciate you'd get more of a background if you started at the beginning.

"I didn't do this job to make friends, I did it in order to bring home the missing"

Set in London and Devon, the investigation is interspersed with these psychiatric visits/evaluations going back a few years that are told in the third person. This all seemed a bit random at the beginning and unrelated but obviously the more I read the more that's revealed and you have to try and piece together how it all fits into the investigation in the present.

As Raker is drawn deeper into the investigation, more secrets are unravelled and you begin to realise everything is not as it seems. I liked how its told in the first person, how we get right inside Raker's head and we're right there working out the clues along with him.

This book has all the elements required for a really gripping crime novel - murder, kidnapping, break-ins and a really creepy mental institution which just happens to be on an island just off the coast which couldn't be any more haunting or sinister!

And just when you think it's all wrapped up and concluded nicely, wham! you get hit with another twist, bloody brilliant and then it's all cleverly set up for the next book/investigation. Overall, I found this to be a heart in mouth tense novel and with the situations Raker puts himself in to get to the truth it will have your heart pounding and your hands sweating!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 September 2014
There is a very clever plot here - a disappearing ex-senior police officer whose daughter employs a private detective to try to find out what has happened to him. David Raker finds missing people and is obsessed by this - this book is one in a series and I hadn't read the earlier installments but there is enough here to help you understand what is going on in his private life. The book includes more than a few coincidences, corrupt police officers and personal danger for Raker and his family. The author weaves all the threads together nicely into a readable and tension filled novel and adds a few nice twists.

What raises the book above the average is the descriptive writing. The author describes the loneliness of Dartmoor, the seediness of London and the eeriness of the abandoned mental institution (although the way that Raker works out where this is stretches credibility to breaking point). There is real atmosphere in the novel which enhances the plot. Raker is an interesting character, although perhaps over-familiar for those of us who read many suspense novels. The way in which he takes on this case as a personal mission and pursues it despite many difficulties adds to readability of the story. I particularly liked the way in which the author used the investigation to roll back the layers and reveal the true character and life of the missing man and the effect that this revelation has on his family.

A good, meaty, suspense novel. Nothing too gory but plenty of tension and good atmosphere. I received an advance copy from the publishers via NetGalley.
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It is reviewing books like Tim Weaver's 5th 'David Raker' novel, "Fall From Grace", that makes me curse Amazon's coarse 5-star reviewing scale and their refusal to include half stars.

Like its forerunner in the series, "Never Coming Back", this new story is well-conceived and the telling of it masterfully executed. Tim Weaver paces the novel to perfection, keeping the action coming thick and fast and allowing the tension to ebb and flow at just the right rate to keep the reader firmly on the hook right from page one. The mystery and the twists in the plot are also well delivered, drawing readers in and keeping them wondering about things all the way to the very end; each new revelation partly confirms the suspicions that have been allowed to develop whilst also leading things off in new and unexpected directions. Tim Weaver does a great job too of painting detailed and atnospheric settings for the story -- you can also smell some of the scenes! As a thriller that grabs you on page one, ramps the adrenaline up quickly and keeps it there right to the end, and which also gives the brain lots to puzzle over along the way, "Fall From Grace" is pretty much a 5-star book all the way. Except...

If Tim Weaver has one fault as a thriller writer, it is probably that he has a tendency to somewhat over-egg the pudding. This tendency manifested in his earliest books in this series, "Chasing the Dead" and "The Dead Tracks", in their somewhat preposterous story-lines and overly graphic violence. By his previous book, "Never Coming Back", he had managed to rein this tendency back nicely to nothing more than a stretching of credibility in the plot-twists. To some extent, he has done the same again this time: the plot is (mostly) credible and believable, although there is at least one coincidence too many for comfort necessary for a full playing out of the thesis. On its own, this fault (if it is one -- it is almost becoming a hallmark of the author, and many readers may well buy these books because of it) is certainly not a detraction from the read. Ordinarily, I'd be happy to recommend the suspension of disbelief here, and award the full five stars. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite stop there; this time, I feel, the author has allowed himself to be seduced by his own centre-piece scenarios and ended up painting himself (or rather his characters) into a corner by forcing himself to stretch rather for some of the logical explanations to events.

That said, the author does a wonderful job of maintaining the tension and significant movement of the plot through these sections and many readers may never notice the problems, carried as they will be by the flow of the words which never allow any time to think about these things too much. I will therefore not spoil things for anyone by spelling out in detail the problems that I spotted and merely say that for me, things didn't quite fit together sensibly, overall. I was also rather puzzled by a couple of what I'd class as creeping Americanisms that appear in the text of the Kindle edition that I read. I am not sure if these are present in the printed copy, if they've carried over from a version prepared for a Trans-Atlantic audience, or what. Again, whatever the reason for them, it meant that some phrases didn't quite sit right for me. In addition, there were a couple of occasions where the editorial processes hadn't been rigorous enough to spot incorrect words sneaking into the narrative, either. "Disguised", for instance, is used repeatedly to mean merely "obscured"; there are a couple more of a similar ilk: small things, but distracting and detracting from the excellence of the writing generally.

None of the faults I've enumerated really add up to any big deal and this is where I come back to cursing Amazon's review system because it forces me to knock a whole star off or else set the problems entirely to one side and award five. I've plumped for the former, but you should really take my rating as being at least 4.5 stars!

All things considered, this remains a fantastic read for anyone who loves thrillers of the grittier variety, with plenty to ponder along the way. I recommend it very highly indeed. Readers new to the series need not worry at all that they may find themselves four volumes behind other readers and thereby be confused by unexplained backstory; the author does a wonderful job of explaining salient earlier events in enough detail for new readers to catch up, without boring old-hands with repetition. I'm already looking forward to the next volume, which the author sets up in the closing chapter of "Fall From Grace" and which looks set to provided fans of the earlier books with the resolution to a story thread that many have wanted explored before now. Hopefully, my fingernails will have had grown back in time for its publication.
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on 14 August 2014
I started my journey with Raker on the third book in the series Vanished: David Raker Novel #3 which I really enjoyed. For the uninitiated Raker is an ex journalist who looks for people who have disappeared and who the police are unable to trace. The next story - "Never going back" - I loved and so I was delighted to be able to read this latest one.

This one starts with a moody reflective and interesting opening - Raker is back in London having been away from the city for a while and someone has a job for him. The "who" is the interesting part and I was hooked. As with the previous book this is set in part in Devon. I find Tim Weaver's writing style very effective; there is enough description to give clear pictures and enough pace to draw you in and keep you reading without thinking about the time. Maybe not "unputdownable" but I've not read one of his where I've wanted to do anything else other than pick it up again.

The tension and pace in this book is well worked taking you to very edgy places at times. I find Tim Weaver a very talented thriller writer and one of the best around currently. While I guess Weaver's stories are action based in the main his descriptive writting can be very evocative generating a variety of emotions. I do like the idea that he introduces new important characters in each tale which keeps the books feeling fresh compared to some authors

Ultimately I didn't find this book quite as satisfying as the previous book although it is definitely better than the first two and as good as "Vanished". I found one aspect of the story a little less than convincing but overall that is a fairly minor quibble and this was a very good read indeed. Another well worked thriller from the hand of Tim Weaver and nothing would stop me from reading the next one. While the first two books are very readable if you are coming to Tim Weaver's work for the first time I would suggest you start with Vanished. 4.5/5

Disclosure - I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
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on 22 August 2014
Tim Weaver has officially risen to the top of my favourite author list. I though there is no way he could top his last book but he has surpassed all my expectations. David Raker makes my adrenaline pump, the tight corners her draws himself into. However the number of people who get into his house should make him invest in a good security system. I only learned about Tim Weaver last Christmas and read book 4 first. The book was so good I bought his others and Tim goes from strength to strength. This plot was not predictable at all. The surprises keep coming all the way to the end. It was fast paced did not leave room for boredom and the ending makes you rejoice at the promise. Few can ascribe to be as good a story teller as Tim Weaver, it is quite unlike me to gush, I find so many stories and reviews disappointing. Fall From Grace captivated and mesmerised me, I feel deflated now it is read. I urge people to buy this book set in one of my favourite places in my country around places I know, words are not good enough to express my praise.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 August 2014
So here we are then, outing no 5 for David Raker and I have to say this is most definitely one of my favourite series. I’ve found every single one more addictive than the last (even though I read books 1 and 2 in the wrong order!) and I pretty much read this instalment in two sittings. It is definitely all Mr Weaver’s fault that I am bleary eyed and sleepy this morning…

This time David is caught up in the vortex of a complicated and far reaching case when he is asked to track down Leonard Franks – retired Police officer – who disappeared seemingly into thin air one day out on Dartmoor. What he finds is a web of deception going back years, one which may strike much closer to home than he would like. Add to that his attempts to solidify his relationship with newly found family and still coming to terms with the aftermath of previous events, you will barely be able to put this one down.

I’m enamoured of the atmosphere created in these novels – Dark, often claustrophobic, occasionally extremely creepy, David Raker carries the souls of the lost with him and that never fails to add an extra frisson to the reading experience. The character development over the course of the series has been superb and yet any one could be read as a standalone story – not an easy accomplishment.

Once again as well we have intelligent and realistic plotting, a terrific flow to the whole thing which immerses you right into David’s world and holds you there – with many genuinely surprising moments along the way. Incidentally, Mr Weaver gets an entry into my hall of fame for this one – only the 4th book to do so – because he completely got me with a bit of a twist and turn that I hadnt even considered. Doesnt happen to me very often so when it does I am delighted. And the ending….well anyone who reads this series and is a fan of a certain other recurring character, will be absolutely desperate to find out when Book 6 may arrive. Sigh. Chronic Impatience.

It is actually quite difficult when reviewing a series that you love and that is consistently wonderful to find new things to say, I’m fairly sure I repeat myself when talking about the David Raker books but heck, I don’t care. When they ARE all so extraordinarily well written and fabulous I see absolutely nothing wrong with saying so over and over again. Well Written. Fabulous. There you go!

If you havent started yet “Chasing the Dead” is where you need to go. If you have then I can tell you that you are in for a real treat with this one. For all the reasons I’ve stated above and then some. Don’t miss it.

**source: Netgalley**
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on 25 July 2015
Like most of Tim Weaver's books you don't necessarily need to read the previous novels in the series to enjoy any one of them. This fifth outing stands out to me as his best yet. I also really enjoyed his fourth book which was actually my first taste of this talented author. I then went on to read his first three books which had more graphic violence than I'd ideally like but still didn't stop me enjoying the books. The third was perhaps the strongest of his first three books but also the most violent. The fourth book had been my favourite up to now but his fifth is as good if not better. This fifth book also has comparatively little gore which I really do prefer.

Fall from Grace starts as a mystery, why would Leonard Franks, a retired policeman, just disappear from his remote Devon home on a quick visit outside for more firewood? David Raker who is the main character throughout the series of books is an investigator whose passion is the missing. He takes on the case and it soon develops into a fast moving twisty thriller that I didn't want to put down.

Tim Weaver is a little like a more complex Linwood Barclay. His writing draws you in, painting a picture without feeling you are drowning in description. The pages fly by at times when the action hits. The plot of this book is complex without being overly so. There are some editorial mistakes so it isn't perfect but what book is? I cannot leave any less than a brilliant five stars! Now off to start number six!
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on 10 September 2014
This was the first book in the David Raker series I have read and it was very easy to read as a stand alone novel. Tim Weaver writes impeccably with a wonderful grasp of what the reader wants in my opinion. A very good plot that twists and turns wonderfully adds to what is good in this book.

When Leonard Franks and his wife Ellie leave the clamor of London for a dream retirement on the seclusion of Dartmoor, everything seems perfect. But then the dream shatters. Late on a January afternoon, only two years into their new life, Leonard leaves the house to fetch firewood - and never returns. Nine months later, he's still missing.

With the police investigation dead in the water, Ellie and her family turn to David Raker. Raker tracks down missing people for a living. He knows how they think. But nothing can prepare him for what he's about to find.

Leonard's disappearance is out of the ordinary, no clues were left behind as to where he went, why he went or indeed did he leave or was he taken, it seems he vanished into thin air on the moors of Dartmoor not far from his home. It seems an impossible thing, yet it happened.

Leonard is a retired high ranking police officer and his daughter, Melanie Craw is a police officer too. Melanie has come across David Raker in the past, in her career under different circumstances and it is she who asks Raker, with his private investigation skills to find her dad.

As Raker begins his investigation there are a lot of brick walls and diversions, it's not a clear cut path for him at all. This is where the author really shines with his writing as he hold the readers interest during each and every moment of the plot rolling out. It's fascinating to watch the pieces of the puzzle start to come together as we watch Raker dig deep to find answers.

With a cast of strong characters, Fall From Grace is a memorable read, a slightly different take on most crime books I read, it's interesting having it coming from the angle of a PI rather than an entire police team. The characters are fascinating, many of them dual sided with depth.

This is a book where nothing is as it seems, it keeps you guessing all the way along, even to the very end. I could not predict the outcomes and situations that Raker was going to come up against, very cleverly inserted into the book. Just when I thought I had it all worked out I would be flipped on my head to realise I had worked nothing out. It really doesn't expose it's secrets easily this book.

The plot is excellent, it moves at a steady pace, with consistency. Some of the settings for the story are fascinating and I liked the way there was so much movement from location to location. From metropolitan London streets to the moors of Dartmoor, to little towns in Devon and more. It had me sucked in to the scenes well and truly.

As Raker uncovers more than he bargains for and the answers start to come to light the final few chapters really move along with plenty of revelations and action as long hidden secrets and lies are exposed and the victim, perpetrator and bystander roles all seem to meld together until you don't know what is what. But then the mist clears again.

My ONLY criticism in this book is I felt the ending was a touch rushed and it was a bit of an info-dump, lots of conversation and things being revealed but it felt a bit forced, again, it's a minor criticism as the book is an excellent read.

It's not a graphically violent crime novel, it's pure sleuthing and it's done with finesse and style. I can highly recommend this book to both old and new fans of the David Raker series, and newcomers to the books don't be shy either, I will certainly be reading more of this series now I have had my first taste of it.

4.5 stars for Fall From Grace. A very good read.
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David Raker makes his fifth outing as the Private Investigator that locates missing people, a thorn in the side of the Metropolitan Police because although he normally finds what he is looking for it is done by playing by the rules, but now a member of the force is looking for his help in tracking down her father Leonard Franks.

The trail for Franks is set across Dartmoor where he and his wife Melanie moved to enjoy a retirement in an oasis of calm after years of top level policing in London. David Raker takes the case and sets about putting the meagre clues left behind to work out what had happened to a man who appears to have disappeared into thin air.

I have only read the third book in this series, Vanished, which I awarded five stars, and in the meantime I’d forgotten quite how much I enjoy the quality of Tim Weaver’s writing. As a reader I care about David Raker, the plot is full of twists and turns with danger appearing to lurk around every corner but at no point did I feel that the tale had veered off the path of reality. Don’t get me wrong, as in Vanished there are some characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight, let alone on a dark night, but once unravelled their motives are understandable.

Underpinning this book are the secrets kept hidden along with relationships of almost every description: friends, colleagues, partners, parental and sibling and at no point do any of these feel out of place but instead add to the complexity of this novel.

To break up the current investigation into Franks death we are treated to some psych evaluations going back many years, the purpose of these isn’t immediately obvious but even while I was waiting for this to become clear they add to the feeling of menace that threads through this book.

This can be easily read as a stand-alone book, although like me, you may regret not reading the books in order as there was quite a big piece to the story arc that I missed by not reading the fourth book, Chasing the Dead. I am now going back to the beginning to read this set in order, the writing is too clever and too captivating for me to miss out on a single sentence of Tim Weaver’s writing, he has now sealed his position of an author whose books I need to read.

I want to say an enormous thank you to Penguin Books (UK) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion. Fall From Grace was published on 14 August 2014.
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