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on 2 September 2012
The high concept of The Twenty Year Death - that it's three books, in three styles, all interrelating is something that seems slightly intimidating and which might come off better as an intellectual exercise than an actual book, but Arial S Winter pulls it off in style.

I wasn't familiar with the writers being pastiched directly, but can see the influences of the decades in which each separate section was set shine through to make a compelling addition to the narrative than runs through each.

It's slightly difficult to review this book (books?!) without mentioning the general concept and format, but it's entertaining throughout. What is refreshing is that because the plot is driven by murders, instead of the modern police procedural approach, the period style writing of each decade means that the psychological aspects of the detectives and the crimes come to the fore, instead of the boring data cruching of modern thrillers, or just sitting back and watching an impossibly competent detective do his or her thing.

The Twenty Year Death is a big book and can seem a bit daunting, but definitely rewards the effort of diving in and immersing yourself in the different decades and styles and stories being told.
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on 2 July 2014
Sublime writing, effortlessly slipping from old-fashioned Agatha Christie sleuthing to Chandler-type gumshoe and finally Double Indemnity noir. Loved it. Bloody big & heavy as a holiday read though - that's why I got it for my Kindle, even when I already had the hardback. And yes it was worth buying twice.
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on 27 November 2013
Wildly ambitious and extremely successful, each of these three books in the style of a famous crime writer is an excellent read in its own right and an authentic recreation of their style. Not only that, each book can be read individually without losing anything and together in a way that adds up to more than the sum of their parts. The kind of idea that shouldn't work, and probably wouldn't 9 times out of 10 but in the hands of Ariel Winter, works exceptionally well.
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on 9 September 2012
The Twenty-Year Death is an outstanding and thrilling crime novel from start to finish! Winter pulls you in from the very beginning. It is a book that you will not want to put down! The Twenty-Year Death (Hard Core Crime)
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on 10 August 2012
The first thing to say about this book is that it is not one book, but three! All written in a different style.

The first story, Maliniveau Prison follows a police detective trying to solve a murder in a small town in France.
The second, The Falling Star, follows a private detective who has been hired as protection for a movie star.
The third, Police At The Funeral, is about a man who goes to hear the reading of his ex-wife's will and accidentally kills his son.

Each story has a simple beginning which is interesting enough, but is expertly written up into something much more complex. The dust jacket is covered with quotes from people saying things about how the author manages to summon up the writing style of other great authors. This may be true, unfortunately I don't know who any of the other authors are. HOWEVER, I found while reading each story I was instantly able to conjure an entirely different picture in my mind.

The book is massively entertaining. I had decided by early on in the third story, that the second story was my favourite. The whole thing was really well written and I could all but hear a saxophone soundtrack in my head. Then I got to the later chapters of the third book and I was back to being torn. It's always nice when you read a particularly intense scene in a book and you feel yourself reading faster as the pace picks up!

I would recommend this to anyone! Definitely 5 stars.

(Full disclosure: I received this free from the publisher to review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not altered by this. In this case I would quite happily have paid for it!)
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I wanted to like this three-act crime novel that was favorably enough reviewed in The Washington Post to make it sound interesting; interesting enough to buy it, which is what I did. Sorry to say that it didn't fully meet expectations, although author Ariel Winter comes off as a competent writer.

"In the style of" writing ultimately doesn't often deliver the same punch as an original in any art form, and that includes literature in all its variations. Each of the three novelettes in "The Twenty-Year..." has some good moments, but overall, it somehow it lacked plot and character vitality. I also found that the connection between them wasn't particularly convincing. That commonality was supposed to be in the person of a Frenchwoman whose life moves from tragedy to tragedy. Somehow though, the character never fully materializes, or least not enough to make the transitions believable.

Ariel Winter seems capable of producing a good, original book in his own style and I hope that he will.
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on 2 October 2012
I do love a good crime novel and the chance to have 3 in one book wet my appetite even more.
I'd never heard of the author up to this point and noticed he'd only wrote a children's book before this so not quite sure how he'd handle the crime genre but to say I was more than pleased would be an understatement.

The book is split into three stories all with a connecting element which I won't discuss as it could potentially spoil plots in each story. Each story has its own unique style which I thought was a brilliant achievement by the writer to do this, each story feels like a different writer so you don't get pulled into a repetitive notion of reading.

Murder murder and murder is theme throughout though and I thoroughly enjoyed the change in eras which each story progresses through, it is one of the many ways the writer keeps the stories fresh and original, there is enough crime set in the modern day to read about so I loved going back to 1940's Hollywood and and 1930's France,was a setting I'd never read through before.

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled now for future publications from Winter, really hope he visits the crime genre again because I really enjoyed this book and recommend it anyone.
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on 15 February 2014
Three books, written in three different styles but involving the same central characters. The problem is that the style of the last story grates harshly, making it very difficult to read- or follow. The first story is average and the second is good- but this is all undone by the heavy 1930's movie style of the last.
All too much for me.
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on 3 February 2014
this book was a gift and the receiver likes it so it hit the spot, buts its a crime novel
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