Customer Reviews


72 Reviews
5 star:
 (38)
4 star:
 (18)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FineThriller - The Film Awaits!
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...
Published on 1 July 2005 by John Bogie

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but less than expected...
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...
Published on 13 Oct 2002


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FineThriller - The Film Awaits!, 1 July 2005
By 
John Bogie (Airdrie, Lanarkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Straw Men (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
This review is from: The Straw Men (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...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
By 
C. M. Bennett "Caro" (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Straw Men (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
This review is from: The Straw Men (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly a work of genius, 28 Aug 2002
By 
J. Wood "mrdubya" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Straw Men (Hardcover)
Interesting point: most reviewers who view this as a debut novel are giving it 5 stars; those that see it as fourth novel by MMS tend to give it only 4. This strikes me as a sign of just what a great writer he is. Those that are new to him are blown away by The Straw Men, whilst devotees are slightly disappointed that it is only 95% the book it should be.
Personally, I thought it was well worth the read despite the minor qualms. I found the twist at the end was obvious from about a third of the way through, but I did wonder if this is what the author intended. The prose style is, as always, eloquent, witty and intelligent whilst possessing a dark, brutal edge. This, combined with a remarkable imagination, is what keeps me coming back to his books.
This is without doubt the most original crime thriller I have read since Greg Iles' Mortal Fear. It has a plot as complex as Folsom's magnificent The Day After Tomorrow and leaves Thomas Harris standing for believability.
I can't wait for the sequel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
This review is from: The Straw Men (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damn fine read, 28 Dec 2003
This review is from: The Straw Men (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!.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to do a 180 turn or at least a 90..., 25 Jan 2003
By 
S. Holm (Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Straw Men (Hardcover)
Previously I read and loved everything by Michael Marshall (Smith) that amazon could get my hands on, and though I had been warned that this was a brand new deal, I was stunned.
The unique sci-fi setting I had come to associate with M.M.S. was gone, the gadgets and AI's gone, the humor...well no...not entirely gone, thank god.
The Straw Men is a darker, more disturbing piece of work that might easily make a brilliant mystery/thriller/suspense movie in the hands of someone like M. Night Shyamalan.
So... after a series of humourous sci-fi jewels, how do you do a 180 degree turn, or at least a 90, without breaking your neck? Read this novel - the question is answered within. Michael Marshall still enhances his sharp perception of human character and enviroment as well as spoken dialogue, he makes us care about his characters.
Once again - read this, and read Only Forward first.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's been a while......., 26 Jun 2003
This review is from: The Straw Men (Paperback)
....... since anything has kept me up all night, least of all a book.
The Straw Men involves you, and yes, it does come to a climax, of which others may have lesser things to say, but the credible technology usage, the immediacy of the subject matter with its "conspiracy theory" foundations and the damned great big hook drawing you forward is subtly different to mainstream suspense. You can see yourself in it.
The idea is exciting. It deserves a sequel, because the sheer scale of the idea behind the book could never be exhausted in one novel.
Dive in. The normalcy of the underlying plot moves are far outshone by the immediacy of the first person timeline. As good as it is there is room for improvement, so enjoy this book before suffering in wait for the next....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Michael Marshall Smith we're used to...., 27 Aug 2002
By 
N. Davies - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Straw Men (Hardcover)
'The Straw Men' is something of a departure from MMS's previous books of which I am a great fan. This book is more mainstream - aimed squarely at readers of Thomas Harris type books, forsaking the sc-fi elements of his previous books which make them so special.
Having said that, 'The Straw Men' is a perfectly readable thriller, combining MMS's distinct style of writing with a present day real life setting.
'The Straw Men' is a twofold mystery, the main charater Ward Hopkins is trying to discover the circumstances surrounding his parents sudden deaths in a car accident and if, somehow, they are still allive. In California Zandt and Nina (ex cop and FBI agent respectively) are racing against time to find the latest victim of the serial killer known as 'The Delivery Boy' Could the two events somehow be linked?
I wasn't expecting this to be another 'Spares' so I wasn't disappointed by the different style of book that MMS has written, however I did enjoy this book greatly.
Do yourself a favour though - after you have read this book go and read 'Only Forward' or 'Spares' and find out what Michael Marshall Smith is really famous for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Straw Men
The Straw Men by Michael Marshall (Hardcover - 5 Aug 2002)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews