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4.1 out of 5 stars84
4.1 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 January 2013
I have read all the Bob Skinner stories and for me this one ranks amongst the best. The title is a strange one, but the meaning behind it soon becomes more obvious as the story goes on. I really liked and enjoyed the way the book was written in the first person, with each of the main characters being given the opportunity to express both their points of view and their personalities. It was interesting to hear different interpretations of a similar theme, and to learn what makes their character tick. The story builds up to a deadly and dangerous climax - but ends on a cliff hanger. Can't wait to get my hands on the next Bob Skinner novel to put my theories to the test. A great read, thoroughly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2012
Written in a different format,but I found it very enjoyable, and was kept in suspense till the end.Would recommend to all Skinner followers.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Written in the first person, Quintin Jardine unveils the investigation of a naked man exhumed from a shallow grave. He has been buried with the care of a person who had a personal interest rather than malicious leading to the key factor of who and why did it occur. Jardine has developed a complex relationship with the protagonists. Chief constable Skinner and his colleagues (Harold 'sauce' Haddock, Dr Sarah Grace,Professor Hutchinson) plus an intriguing personal life with several marriages and offspring. He is determined to find the facts behind the death. The narrative is divided into the characters involved whether police or family. Each chapter leads up to a satisfying conclusion pieced together by the author in an intriguing way that I did not predict.Sometimes lengthy at times but an enjoyable read that keeps the interest and guess work going.
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on 5 May 2015
I love the Skinner book series, and have in fact read them all within the space of a year being introduced to the series rather late. The plots tend to be rather far-fetched and I can't stand Skinner, who is just as self-obsessed, ruthless, arrogant and murderous as the villains he tries to put away. Then again, such people make it to the top, and it is interesting to have a police procedural series written about the man at the top - a chief constable. No, what makes the series interesting is the page-turner style in which it is written and the other characters, whose lives you follow in a story-arc style.The other characters in the series are more like normal human beings, and as a result more likeable. In fact, in this book and its rather unusual format (each of the Skinner series' characters tells their version of events in the first person), they all have almost as much floor space as the great man. Sadly, that strength is the weakness of the book. It takes the "speed" out of the book. Each character rehashes their life story to the reader (stuff that we already know in elaborate detail from the previous books), before offering a bit info relevant to the overall plot of the book. The main reason why I did not enjoy this book as much as the rest of the series is the preposterous retelling and reworking of Skinner's sad love-life. Quintin Jardine likes to analyse, re-analyse, re-re-analyse and then analyse it again in the series. And like Chinese whispers, with each analysis and retelling it becomes slightly different to suit some story agenda. Bob's third marriage (to the ex-first minister Aileen de Marco) was made in heaven, simply because his first wife (Myra) blessed it from up there - so we have been told - over and over again in previous books. For example, Bob was never as happy with a woman since Myra died and her ghost had been (sort of) laid to rest. Now in this book he gets back together with his estranged second wife Sarah, claiming that it is a bad omen that he never mentions Myra to Aileen, but always did (daily) to Sarah. And on it goes. The great Bob Skinner has re-analysed his love-life to such extent again that it feels like it could be the truth (at least for the duration of this book) and he can get on with things again (although his heart bleeds, of course)....What irks me a little bit is the way that Aileen gets portrayed by the author here, as a shallow 2-dimensional politician, whereas in the other books you really took to her. A ploy to spice things up a bit, with Sarah coming back? Did he cleverly not reveal all to us in the past about who Aileen really was? Sigh. Really? The whole love-life element, which takes up far too many pages, is just cheap bad romance fiction. The conversations are full of self-help book psychology nonsense. This is what seriously slows the book down, but also why, I suspect, quite a few other reviewers have said the book feels like "padding" in the series. After having finished the book, I was not sure what I had read; a crime, a romance or amateur psychology book. Nothing wrong with integrating the three, and possibly that's why the interesting narrative structure/style was used, but sadly the integration lacked and Bob's pathetic love-life remake then killed it off.
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As a Skinner reader I felt the last few novels (except Grievous Angel) went off the boil and were rather lacklustre but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I don't normally enjoy first person narrative but I thought this method of alternate viewpoints was really intimate and brought the reader much closer to the characters and the action. It also allows us, the reader, to see the same events from different points of view which 3rd person narrative cannot always do and it is a measure of Mr Jardine's skill that the characters are consistent so we see them and their standpoints from various angles. I think this is a fantastic change in approach and I wholeheartedly approve of it but I don't think I would want to see it in every book because it means, necessarily, that the plot takes a backseat to domestic issues. I can see why some new readers disliked this book. The plot itself is rather slim - the identification of a body, dead of natural causes and the investigation of a dirty cop but has a cliffhanger ending so I'm glad I can move straight on to Pray For The Dying to find out what happens.
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on 9 May 2014
As another reviewer mentioned, the big problem with reading Quintin Jardine's books is that you never want them to end. Yes, they are that good. I have read every Bob Skinner book and every Blackstone book..why did he kill off Oz so soon?..and every single one has been a brilliant read. This one is no exception. Written in a somewhat different format, it still features all the favourite characters.
I'm now into the sequel, Prayer for the Dying, and, as always, just wish it would last me for weeks instead of the days that a Skinner story usually lasts.
To anyone who has yet to discover this author, I can tell you that Quintin Jardine sits comfortably alongside Ian Rankin at the very top of the crime fiction ladder. If you're just about to start your Jardine journey I say...lucky you. You've got close on 30 totally brilliant novels ahead of you.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2012
I have read all of Skinners adventures and have also brain washed 4 friends into reading them. I love the series and how its basically a soap opera. You do feel for the characters if they die/marry/have kids etc.

The storyline has the usual story arcs and crossovers you come to expect, and as usual engaging. But what made it great was how Mr Jardine had one chapter describing a scene from one persons outlook then the next chapter picked up from someone else's take on the same situation, it was really clever. Each chapter is also written in the style of the character, whether Skinner, Alex, Maggie etc so each had a personal touch to the personalities you have read throughout the series.

There have been many comments on the cliff hanger, but there have been cliff hangers before involving Andy, Maggie, Alex etc so it is nothing new. It has certainly not detracted me into not buying the next one, I loved the end, and I cant wait for the next novel.
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on 25 May 2015
Having read every Skinner book thus far, and really loving them, I'm beginning to get very tired of this character. I think Quintin Jardine is just churning out something without actually thinking about the enjoyment for the reader. Skinner used to be a no-nonsense cop, a bit shy, but very likeable. Over the past few books his character seems to have changed. There;s more sex, definitely more bad language (why do authors think this enhances the read?) and a very changed personality. Skinner now thinks nothing of beating the baddies to a pulp, something he never did before. No, I think Skinner should be retired to his home in Spain before the readers stop buying the books altogether. Rebus bowed out gracefully and I think Quintin Jardine should help Skinner do the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2013
another good book from mr jarine the story as usual had many twists and turns easy to read.The only problem might be if this is the first book you have read in the series you might get a bit lost in all the plots
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on 14 September 2013
I WAS a huge Jardine fan. I have every Bob Skinner novel since his inception.
This book, written for some reason in the first person, reads as if it was written by a student fan of Bob Skinner.
Choppy, disjointed, no flow at all, but even worse than this, THERE IS NO ENDING. I checked my book to see if 50 pages had fallen out. They hadn't.
I expect a novel to have a beginning, a middle, and AN END.
Am I, as a money-paying customer, supposed to write the rest of the book myself?
As for all the reviewers who have awarded 5 stars, you are easily pleased;(unless your book had the missing 50 pages).
A big thumbs down.
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Hour Of Darkness (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine (Paperback - 12 Feb. 2015)

Pray for the Dying (Bob Skinner Mysteries)
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