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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harvey's Game
Harvey Gillot - that's a name you're going to see mentioned more than a few times in The Dealer and The Dead. There are a number of strands that open up in the book following the aftermath of the war in a little village in Croatia and the work of investigators trying to uncover the crimes and atrocities committed there, but also ones that follow the activity of a UK...
Published on 8 July 2010 by Keris Nine

versus
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars End of the Line? Hope not.
This, the latest of Seymour's marvellous creations is a slight disappointment. I feel the Maestro is losing his steam. Meticulously researched as always, realistic characters, nevertheless the scenario lacks something - maybe because it stretches credulity - or maybe it is because I lack the knowledge to convince me that such an unlikely band would assemble as they did,...
Published on 31 July 2010 by Michael A. Crouch


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harvey's Game, 8 July 2010
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
Harvey Gillot - that's a name you're going to see mentioned more than a few times in The Dealer and The Dead. There are a number of strands that open up in the book following the aftermath of the war in a little village in Croatia and the work of investigators trying to uncover the crimes and atrocities committed there, but also ones that follow the activity of a UK police officer in Serious Crime Directorate, an investigator for Revenue and Customs, as well as the background of a contract killer, and the work of a peace campaigner. And then there's Harvey Gillot, an arms dealer, the figure whose name comes up in each segment and connects them all together.

The set-up is deftly handled if a little drawn-out. There are certainly quite a few threads to interweave, present day and historical, with quite a number of characters, and the author does well from keep them from getting too complicated, but it's at the cost of concision. It takes rather a long time to establish what is in reality a simple situation - a small village in Croatia has put out a contract on Harvey Gillot, an international arms dealer who let them down - no, make that betrayed them - eighteen years ago by failing to deliver an arms consignment that they had paid for and which they needed to defend their village.

Clearly, considering the nature of the characters and the subject matter, The Dealer and The Dead is not light reading. The opening in particular is dark and serious - almost too intense and bleak in its depiction of war crimes, grim discoveries of unmarked mass graves, the contemplation of suicide by survivors - and then there's the activity of a hit-man and an arms dealer who don't really have a lot of time for anything like a conscience. Even those on the side of law and order have their flaws and prejudices.

The pay-off for that much detail and the serious tone in which it is presented would need to be good, and fortunately, Gerald Seymour more than delivers. Again, there's no great complexity to what happens - the subsequent cat-and-mouse situation that develops between the hit-man and the target is also meticulously detailed and elaborated at length, but the devil - the moral and ethical questions that the subject raises - is in the detail and it adds tremendously to the building tension, the author in the process still keeping tabs on what is going on at the same time in the small village in Croatia, keeping in mind the rationale and the deep emotions that lie behind the planned hit.

With that established, the novel is indeed able to lighten up in the latter half with some splashes of dark humour that are well measured and sit well with the characterisation. I daresay the novel could have been tightened up with more rigorous editing to allow it to get to the point earlier - it doesn't really take off until a good 150 pages in - but the build-up proves to be essential to establishing a situation and a mood that would otherwise probably have been lost or been less effective, leading as it does towards a magnificent showdown finale.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars End of the Line? Hope not., 31 July 2010
By 
Michael A. Crouch (Perth, Western Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
This, the latest of Seymour's marvellous creations is a slight disappointment. I feel the Maestro is losing his steam. Meticulously researched as always, realistic characters, nevertheless the scenario lacks something - maybe because it stretches credulity - or maybe it is because I lack the knowledge to convince me that such an unlikely band would assemble as they did, in a ruined Balkan village.
Yet the lead-up to the final denouement, the scenes in England promised much...
This is probably the one Seymour book I would not read again and again. And I do hope he has another books in him.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 20 chapter Seymour classic., 25 July 2010
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
Gerald Seymour has done it again. Is there another thriller writer that can produce a novel each year that is as consistently good as those written by this author?
His style never changes,a complex cast of well drawn characters that are only given dialogue when absolutely nescessary, a narrative that is rich and detailed,locations that are brought vividly to life and,as always with Seymour,the moral ambiguity of the characters' situation.

Harvey Gillott, arms trader, living a secluded life on the isle of Portland, Dorset, finds that a deal he welched on,to provide arms to a village defending a Serbian onslaught in 1991, catches up with him when his name is revealed after a long buried body is ploughed up on a field near the village.The village doesn't forgive and forget. A contract is placed on Gillott that leads to a London hitman being given the job of tracking and killing Gillott.

This is Seymour's 27th novel and there are one or two echoes of previous stories, notably 'The Heart of Danger' and 'A line in the Sand'.But this does not deflect from the originality of the story. What makes his books work so well is the detail he brings to the many complex situations his characters occupy.
Last year Seymour wrote a novel about the Cammora clans in Naples.Within a year, this 458 page book hits the shelves.
Seymour is the best in the business and has been for some time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laboured Balkans Western, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
The book had the feeling of a long drawn out Sergio Leone Western, where we have intense and atmospheric build up for a final show-down, here between a Croatian village, a British hit-man, and an arms dealer, together with a large cast of on-lookers. The general plot was typical Seymour with morale conundrums on relative rights and wrongs, with strongly developed characters. However, the novel dragged for me in the third quarter, and I ended up flicking through pages. There were far too many periphery characters that Seymour laboured such that it broke the intensity. The ending also seemed a bit far fetched. Overall not a Seymour classic for me, and I wonder whether it was edited sufficiently. especially as it came out very quickly after the excellent Collaborator.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redemption on the Kukuruzni Put, 20 Sep 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
"Is there anywhere with no myths and no legends? Have you heard of such a place?" - from THE DEALER AND THE DEAD

In 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence, a small Croat village near Vukovar defends itself against Serb forces. The settlement's only chance for survival lies with a promised shipment of anti-tank weapons purchased with every liquid asset the inhabitants possess. But, a casual act of betrayal means the arms never arrive; the town is captured and brutalized by the invaders. Now, nineteen years later, an old grave is discovered and the survivors are provided a name on whom to exact vengeance. In this part of the world, hatreds are intense and never, ever, die.

In my opinion, Gerald Seymour is the very best thriller author writing today. His stories are sophisticated, complex and ingeniously constructed; the plots are drawn from contemporary world events and evolve in the grey regions of civilization's gritty and grotty margins. I've read all of his books save The Collaborator, which awaits my attention on a bookshelf much like a racked bottle of much treasured, vintage wine. THE DEALER AND THE DEAD may be the best of the author's offerings to date.

As usual, Seymour populates his story with a wealth of deftly drawn characters, none of which could even remotely be considered "super-heroes" in the popular sense. (There are no James Bonds or Jack Reachers. Not even a Spider Shepherd, Gabriel Allon or Nick Stone.) All are fairly ordinary - much like you or I - with personal lives that may incorporate a humdrum job or troubled personal relationships. But all of them, especially the civil servant types, persevere. And it's their perseverance that achieves a sort of nobility even though the victory against the adversity of the moment - indeed, it's the nature of the adversity that falls into the grey area - is ultimately pyrrhic in nature. (That's what I savor in this author's stories - there are rarely absolute winners or losers. It mimics real life.)

Here, we have the aging, bitter survivors of the Croatian community, a retired operative of the Secret Intelligence Service, a small-time London hit man, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office investigator probing arms trafficking, a physician specializing in survivor psychology, a forensic scientist who travels the world uncovering the grave sites linked with atrocities, a Planet Protection activist who crusades against international weapons sales, a detective sergeant of the Serious (or Specialist) Crime Directorate 7 of the London Metropolitan Police charged with thwarting assassins and protecting their identified targets, and an arms dealer with a winning smile. The paths of all will cross at the end of the Cornfield Road (Kukuruzni Put).

Gerald Seymour pens for grown-ups.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong start, weak finish, 5 Aug 2010
By 
Robert M. Sherwood "surewould" (Pound Ridge NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
i've ben a fan since "Harry's Game" and have everything he's written since then.
"The Dealer and the Dead" started out better than anything in a decade or more.
Compelling plot, believable characters, clear build, good pacing and tension.
Began to require too much "suspension of disbelief" about half-way through and had a very improbable ending.
I'll still buy his next one from the UK before it's released here (New York) and will continue to re-read at least one from the 'golden years' of the mid-70s to the mid-90s in the meantime.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Gerald Seymour, 18 July 2010
By 
Errol C. Friedberg (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
The claims in publishers' blurbs that Gerald Seymour is the finest thriller writer alive are no exaggeration. Living as I do in the United States, one has minimal direct exposure to Seymour's books --- a great shame since there must be countless thriller fans in this country who know little if anything about his splendid novels. The price I have paid of having discovered him at a time when he had already published so prolifically was that I became an undisciplined glutton and overdosed.

All his books follow a common theme. In the first 50 pages or so one is introduced to a sometimes bewildering panoply of characters with no obvious relationship to one another. But as the plot unfolds the relationships emerge and clarify. There is always a "bad guy(s)" of course, though this character(s) is by no means the personification of evil as much as a victim of the time he/she lives in and the events that surround his/her life. The same is true of the main protagonists (there is usually more than one in each story). Typically, one of these new-found heroes rises from the depths of a life of cowardice, betrayal, indifference, or some other shameful attitude or behavior that seeks salvation in extraordinary acts of selflessness.

This being said, Seymour is a marvelous writer. His plots are impeccably taut and his prose and writing style are unique. If you are reading this review and have not heard of his work, take my advice and start reading him. But don't bury yourself in his 20 odd stories in an orgy -- as I have done. Pace yourself. Read one or two a year and hope that both you and he remain alive long enough for you to continue to marvel at his style, his moral messages and his cleverly chosen themes (repetitive though they may be), for a long time. The Dealer and the Dead is no exception.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, 11 Aug 2011
By 
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
I chose to listen to the audio version but the first five hours covered the same ground repeatedly and so I lost interest and gave up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and erratic, 27 Sep 2013
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Read Seymour's previous books and found them enjoyable. Not this one though! It is far too long. Lots of 'padding' about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia that takes the story nowhere. There is no direction or sense about succeeding chapters. We have to work out who is speaking and in what context. Then there are sentences written in both First Person and Third Person. It is chaotic and lacks the cohesion and ease most readers want. The plot is dubious at best if not a little silly. The characters are predictable and stereotyped and lack credibility and empathy. There is a reasonable book here but it needs reducing and characters in whom we can believe and don't have silly names. Not recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, dull and uninspired, 29 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Dealer and the Dead (Hardcover)
By and large I am a fan of Seymour but not of this one. I really had to push myself to finish the book. The plot is not really plausible, the characters are charmless and stereotyped and the ending ludicrous.
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The Dealer and the Dead
The Dealer and the Dead by Gerald Seymour (Hardcover - 8 July 2010)
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