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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In 1940s London, Hitler was the least of your worries
If you thought that wartime London was all Vera Lynn, black-outs and rationing, think again. The Black Mile immerses you in a 1940s city that you will scarcely recognise, a London fighting demons unrelated to the infamous dark clouds. Dawson has done his research and the result is a credible and fast-paced thriller. The compelling characters and expertly crafted tale of...
Published on 30 April 2012 by Hovereader

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Past imperfect
This was a readable tale but the 1940 setting did not come off believably. The slang, although accurate, felt uncomfortable since the context and overuse felt contrived and unnatural. There were also too many errors of fact or unlikely events. A few examples:"
A single engine Hurricane was shot down "engines trailing fire".
Plastic bags that had not yet been...
Published 21 months ago by Mike O'D


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In 1940s London, Hitler was the least of your worries, 30 April 2012
This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
If you thought that wartime London was all Vera Lynn, black-outs and rationing, think again. The Black Mile immerses you in a 1940s city that you will scarcely recognise, a London fighting demons unrelated to the infamous dark clouds. Dawson has done his research and the result is a credible and fast-paced thriller. The compelling characters and expertly crafted tale of murder, corruption and violence will hook you in and keep you guessing until the very last chapter.

Five stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Past imperfect, 3 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
This was a readable tale but the 1940 setting did not come off believably. The slang, although accurate, felt uncomfortable since the context and overuse felt contrived and unnatural. There were also too many errors of fact or unlikely events. A few examples:"
A single engine Hurricane was shot down "engines trailing fire".
Plastic bags that had not yet been invented were used to bag hands and heads.
London street tarts were wearing nylons in 1940 which is unlikely since nylon stockings were first introduced in the US in May 14 1940.
Tea was the common hot beverage and not coffee. Whiskey should probably read whisky.
Auxillary should have read auxiliary.
The eminent Sir Bernard Spilsbury would probably have erupted at being addressed as 'Doctor' by a lowly cop. Death by strangulation could hardly be called 'immediate'. Henry had petrol "sloshed over his head and shoulders" yet was barely burned even though the warehouse had been torched and there was time enough for several minutes of fisticuffs outside.
Occasionally there was dodgy writing. For instance;
"A pair of rats scampered into the garden as he approached. He opened them and peered inside..."
"Charlie took out his handcuffs and shackled his wrists together behind his back" If he had done this then Regan might have got away!
"Charlie took opened it:"
Having nit-picked, I actually quite enjoyed the telling of this tale despite it being a very bumpy ride for plot, characters and facts.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 22 April 2012
This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended to read this by a friend, and was unaware of the author Mark Dawson, so I went into it not knowing what to expect.

The book is compelling,and I happily created time in my day to read it. The level of detail, the unexpected twists & turns keep you gripped from start to finish. The 1940's lingo brings a reality to the setting and the grimy side of Soho was brought alive.

I have read the book a second time, testament to how engaged I became with it.

I will be looking for, and reading more, from this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Black Mile, 29 Dec. 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
This novel, set in 1940 London, combines the story of the Black-Out Ripper with the beginning of the Blitz and police corruption. With London under attack night after night, people are jumpy enough without a serial killer on the loose. Yet someone is killing prostitutes under the cover of the black out and Detective Inspector Frank Murphy is told to find the culprit quickly. However, Frank is having other problems. Firstly, his fifteen year old daughter runs away, after he orders her to stop seeing a young man with a criminal background. Secondly, he is involved in assaulting Italians who have been interned and his brother, Charlie, gives evidence against men in his squad in order to get promoted. Charlie is eager to get out of uniform and join plain clothes - eager enough to court the displeasure of his fellow officers in doing so. In this excellent, and atmospheric novel, Frank and Charlie Murphy are both attempting to solve the murders, even though they cannot work together. There is also a reporter, Henry Drake, who wants to use the case to salvage his career. However, things are not as clear cut as they first appear and this case may end more careers, and lives, than it saves.

I really enjoyed the setting of this book. London during the beginning of the blitz is recreated very well, as is the atmosphere of the police department during this time. The police have their mentors pushing their career, covering each other's backs and are as heavily involved in dubious activities as the criminals they are chasing. There is also the influence of the Freemasons on the police force, as Charlie is taken under the wing of Alf McCartney. Drake offers a different view of the situation; his profession allowing him to tackle events from a different angle. The book has a fast moving plot, which is nevertheless interesting to follow, with plenty of twists and turns and excellent characters. This is the first in a trilogy of Soho Noir books and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, Gripping and Engrossing, 4 May 2012
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
The Black Mile is a highly accomplished book. It kept me gripped throughout with detailed, interesting characters and a fascinating plot, all set against an involving 'set' of 40s Soho.

And just when you think you've worked it out, there's another twist to keep you gripped.

The book is like a 40s, Soho, English style Homeland or Killing ... I loved it
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, suspenseful, historically spot-on, 28 Mar. 2012
By 
Brian Levine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
An excellent slice of the Soho underbelly circa 1940 when London was suffering from the Blitz and Hitler was not the only issue facing the police-force: a nasty killer running around slashing and murdering young girls on the game for no apparent reason.

Dawson plunges us into a world replete with war-time lingo and small-time crooks, a smart and swiftly-moving police thriller that is at the same time much more than a police thriller. He never shies away from the grim bloodiness of the murders committed, nor the grimy depravity of war-torn Soho.

This is a great read on a number of different levels: five stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Paperback)
This is really not my usual choice of genre, but I really loved this book. The colloquialisms added a great atmosphere to the story (I did have to look a few of them up) and the descriptive scene setting with all the period detail was wonderfully vivid without being too overbearing on the plot (Ian McEwen take note). The psychogeographical imposition of wartime Soho on streets that I know so well was great fun for me to visualise as I am familiar with many of the locations in the scenes, I loved the level of historical detail.

It seems to have been a complaint for some reviewers on here that there are some loose ends which are not tied up at the end, but this is precisely why I found the ending so satisfying. I hate predictable, neat endings or feeling that I have been deliberately manipulated into one conclusion purely for the purpose of an author then creating a lazy twist. This book kept the suspense going right up to the end and then beyond, which made it all the more rewarding for me. I have just ordered another copy as a gift.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Audio version. Scandal, corruption, gangs, prostitution and murder to name but a few, 30 Dec. 2014
This is the first audio book I've ever read. Despite not being a fan of audio books I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced story of life, the criminal underworld, wartime in 1940's London. The main storyline follows the police investigation of the 'Blackout Ripper' which uncovers a gangland underworld of pornography, prostitution, scandal and corruption involving some high profile government faces. A journalist reporting on the police enquiry becomes a suspect after women he's talked to during his enquiries are murdered and he has information the police need but the criminals do not want them to have, including some very incriminating photographs !!!

I received this audio book from the author in exchange for an honest review. It rates an excellent 4.5* from me. I will certainly be purchasing more books from this series as I'm already a fan of this author's Milton series. Well done Mark Dawson, keep em coming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good fast moving story., 10 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
Although I enjoyed reading this book, and found it hard to put down, the author is far too young to write about the period unless he employs an 80 year old to help with research. Far too many errors, one of the outstanding ones being a 1940 body bag being made of plastic!!! too many to enter here. Another, an American sports car in England during the war, I think not, even if one existed at that time, only sports cars I remembered were either British like MGs or SS Jaguars, and the rare Italian Alpha Romeos, non of which qualified for petrol coupons if my memory serves correctly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Victor Meldrew" likes it!, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
I was born in 1944, i.e. four years after the year in which the book was set. However, things were not that different from 1940 (with the big exception of the war!) during my childhood, so I looked forward to a story set long ago in an era I could more or less remember. I was not disappointed. The story "felt and smelt" of 1940. However, as I read on, my immersion (increasingly deep) in the story was jarred from time to time by anachronisms (factual and temporal) and Americanisms that had not migrated to England till well after 1940, if at all. As examples of anachronisms, gramophone records were not made of (flexible) vinyl, rather than brittle shellac, till the fifties, police cars had bells rather then sirens, gramophones were never referred to as "gramophone players", and beer came in bottles rather than "beer cans". As examples of Americanisms, drunken crowds were not "sauced", "Ms" was not used as a title for ladies in newspapers till the seventies, police did not "badge" people, coshes were not called "saps", suspects did not (and still do not) "lawyer up" and - horror of all horrors - a policeman wearing "patent leather tasselled loafers" in 1940 (if he could have acquired same) is unthinkable! (I exaggerate a bit there!)

Anyway, as I got further into the book I managed largely to suppress being disturbed by these blemishes and, by the time I had finished, I had formed the conclusion that it was a damned fine novel in spite of the blemishes. Also, I realised that I was maybe even being a bit of a "Victor Meldrew" in thinking of these things as blemishes, especially taking into account the facts that (1) much of the jargon used in the book clearly was from long ago and (2) the author indicates on his author's page that he spent some of his youth in the USA. That is, people much younger than me would probably not appreciate or even care about the errors in question, so I should stop being such a miserable old so and so. Nonetheless, if only to avoid his older readers being able to avail themselves of the opportunity to moan, the author might consider getting his final draft of any future novel set in the same era subjected to a sort of "era editing" by someone of sutably advanced age.
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