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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: This is 'The Seventy Seven Clocks'!
This book is, in fact, the first 'Bryant and May' book. It's plot and characters were later rewritten as 'The Seventy Seven Clocks'. I thought at first that I had discovered a previously unheard of Bryant and May book, but the plot is virtually identical! I'd stick with the later book as the characters are subtly different in this one which makes for a slightly uneasy...
Published on 23 Aug. 2008 by Mr. A. J. Bond

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Victorian macabre in modern-day London
Not his best book by far but still entertaining and full of pro-London trivia and history. The ending is a massive suspension of disbelief but the whole story is well paced and contains the usual motley crew of characters that populate most of C.F.'s London based stories. Better books are Psychoville and Disturbia.
Published on 4 May 2000


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Victorian macabre in modern-day London, 4 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
Not his best book by far but still entertaining and full of pro-London trivia and history. The ending is a massive suspension of disbelief but the whole story is well paced and contains the usual motley crew of characters that populate most of C.F.'s London based stories. Better books are Psychoville and Disturbia.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: This is 'The Seventy Seven Clocks'!, 23 Aug. 2008
By 
Mr. A. J. Bond "Orsino" (Warrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
This book is, in fact, the first 'Bryant and May' book. It's plot and characters were later rewritten as 'The Seventy Seven Clocks'. I thought at first that I had discovered a previously unheard of Bryant and May book, but the plot is virtually identical! I'd stick with the later book as the characters are subtly different in this one which makes for a slightly uneasy read for anyone who has read the rest of the series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Good Day, 22 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
Last year's release of Christopher Fowler's "Full Dark House" brought his recurring characters, elderly police detectives Bryant and May, back to the forefront of his writing. With another four Bryant and May novels planned as his next releases, one of which is already available in hardback, and another due later this year, the thought took me back to their first novel in a "starring" role, the now twelve year old "Darkest Day".

Jerry Gates is from a successful London family. Much to their disgust, particularly her mother's, she has taken a job as a receptionist at London's Savoy Hotel. She's quite enjoying her job, until a guest collapses and dies in the middle of the lobby and then when another has his throat cut in the on site barber's salon. In between, the second man's brother throws acid over a painting in the Tate Gallery and then explodes on an Underground train.

It soon seems that someone has a vendetta against the Whitstable family, one of London's most established business families. One by one, family members seem to be getting killed, regardless of anything Bryant and May can do about it. It seems no-one knows who is killing them and no-one can work out why. Even the family themselves can't, or won't, give the detectives any indication that may help them solve the crime, even to save themselves.

The basis of the story is a very interesting idea. While it may not be wildly original in generic terms, the specific parts are very nicely done. The murders themselves are frequently a nice touch and often quite novel and the reason behind the mystery, when it becomes known, is not something I've ever seen elsewhere. Couple this with Fowler's love of the history of London's history and a nice sideline into Gilbert and Sullivan and it makes the theory behind the novel quite enticing for any murder mystery fan.

Unfortunately, the execution isn't nearly as well done as the idea might suggest or deserve. Although there are some pretty interesting and gruesome murders and parts of the premise are pretty nasty, this ends up being pretty much a fairly straight detective story. As a result, there is a lot of back story and this seems to take up a lot of time, when the most interesting parts are watching the crime unfold. If the parts that weren't part of the solution were twists or mis-directions, you might forgive the author for this, but most of them are merely background or feel like padding, which makes the story drag on for longer than it needs to and has the whole book feeling very slow paced. Indeed, it's almost twice as long as most of his other work and it feels even longer than that at times.

Fowler has not worked to any of his strengths with "Darkest Day". He has always been best at making the normal man look over their shoulder at what may be behind them by writing about things that could happen to them, but there's none of that here. While it's set in a modern London that could be inhabited by many of us, the situation is pretty fantastic and you can't see any of these things happening to or around you. Again, this may not be a bad thing if the author can keep you distracted from the unreality of the situation by ensuring it sweeps you away, but the pace isn't high enough and the problem not tricky enough for this to be true.

Of all the Fowler novels I have read, it has been the two that feature Bryant and May most heavily that have been the most disappointing. If he is to write several more, I can only hope they are either far better than "Darkest Day" or interspersed with Fowler writing to his strengths. If this is to be the standard of them, I can see me going off Fowler in a major way.

If you're a fan of police thrillers, there are a lot better ones around. I can recommend Mark Billingham or Ian Rankin's "Inspector Rebus" novels as better examples than Fowler. If you're a fan of horror, you'd be far better placed reading Fowler's other work, which is far, far better than this. I'd always recommend Fowler, but I can't recommend this. If you've discovered you're a big fan of Fowler's work, it may be worth a look for curiosity, but there's no other reason to read it.

I think that the author's own words about "Darkest Day" sum things up perfectly well. On his website, he says of the book "I was unhappy with the result" and you can see why.

This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the intelligent reader !!, 1 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
I've finished reading this book for the third time. It just gets better !! The prose and characterisation are superbly witty and the plot is so wonderfully complex. Thanks, Christopher. I enjoy all your books - but for me, this one is definately the best !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly absorbing, 15 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
This book had me in its grip from the first page, as the chilly, "something-is-about-to-happen" atmosphere surrounds the reader throughout. The plot is watertight and stirs you to the point of disbelief on numerous occasions. This book will take it out of you, but it's certainly a trip to remember. Don't forget to leave the light on!
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4.0 out of 5 stars such fun, 1 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
Such dark fun , it was a shame to finish it . As usual Fowler gives such detail to London . So remember eating nachos in Arizona in Camden too , this is really the london I know and love .
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 5 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
Probably one of the best books I've ever read... Gripping, scary as hell, hilarious at turns, with a plot so deliciously complex it puts all other horror novels to shame. If you have not read this book, you're being very unfair to yourself.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL MET SIR, 14 Feb. 2001
By 
dave-hill@talk21.com (City of Dreaming spires.(Oxford,England)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darkest Day (Paperback)
OLD SCHOOL DETECTIVES BRYANT AND MAY ARE PULLED IN TO INVESTIGATE A STRING OF BIZZARE MURDERS IN LONDON,WHILE BRYANT EMBRACES THE ADVANCE IN MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND POLICE METHODS, HIS PARTNER IS LOST IN THE PAST.THE WELL MATCHED PAIR OF OLD AND NEW BEGIN THEIR INVESTIGATION WITH A MURDER IN A FAMOUS LONDON HOTEL,WHICH LEADS TO A TRAIL GOING BACK TO VICTORIAN ENGLAND AND A FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION,USING UNSAVORY BUSINESS METHODS. BY FAR C,F`S BEST YET.
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Darkest Day
Darkest Day by Christopher Fowler (Paperback - 7 April 1994)
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