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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Pictures / Evil Valley
Evil ValleyThe Death Pictures
What a surprise to see Simon Hall actually in my local Waterstones signing his books! I am so glad i have discovered this author and rate him as entertaining and spell-binding as my other two favourites - Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connolly.
Reading about the intertwining lives and careers of Dan (the journalist) and Adam (the...
Published on 14 Jan 2009 by VJ

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All that glitters ......
I bought this book on the strength of the fantastic reviews it got on Amazon. Yes, I know you have to be wary of reviews (one man's meat, and all that ...), but this had eighteen, sixteen of which awarded 5-stars and the other two 4-stars; how could I go wrong? Quite easily, it would appear, this book is just awful. Call me an old cynic, but is it just coincidence that at...
Published on 16 Mar 2009 by jbc


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Pictures / Evil Valley, 14 Jan 2009
Evil ValleyThe Death Pictures
What a surprise to see Simon Hall actually in my local Waterstones signing his books! I am so glad i have discovered this author and rate him as entertaining and spell-binding as my other two favourites - Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connolly.
Reading about the intertwining lives and careers of Dan (the journalist) and Adam (the detective) will keep you engrossed page after page - i could not put the books down! Simon offers an intimate insight into the daily routines of journalism and police work. You will find yourself so tense wondering if you can take anymore suspense when you are gifted with light relief of the wonderful Rutherford and the colourful 'Loud'. Reading about my own area added another quality to the stories - so much so you will want to trek along the moors and find the areas Simon decribes so vividly. Can't wait for the third novel due out in September!
Victoria
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All that glitters ......, 16 Mar 2009
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I bought this book on the strength of the fantastic reviews it got on Amazon. Yes, I know you have to be wary of reviews (one man's meat, and all that ...), but this had eighteen, sixteen of which awarded 5-stars and the other two 4-stars; how could I go wrong? Quite easily, it would appear, this book is just awful. Call me an old cynic, but is it just coincidence that at least eleven of the reviewers live in the West Country, as does Mr Hall?
I read a lot of crime novels (William Lashner is my current favourite), and Simon Hall is not a 4-star writer, let alone a 5-star one: his plotting is simplistic, his storyline is ludicrous, and his characterisation is lamentable. Our dashing hero, Dan the TV journalist, has an unfeasible relationship with Adam, the Detective Inspector in charge of serious crimes in these parts. Dan is constantly updated on the current state of enquiries by Adam, and is even invited to sit in on police meetings, interrogations and crime scenes. Strangely, he doesn't take much advantage of this unprecedented access to proceedings; rather he runs around from one outside broadcast to another, constantly looking at his watch and telling us it's such and such a time, but really it's about ten minutes later because his watch runs slow. At first you wonder if this fact is going to be ingeniously interwoven into the plot as a clever denouement device. Eventually you realise this is just one of his little `quirks' --- he wears a cheap watch!
Dan is a tedious character who's a bit too pleased with himself, but Adam scales the rock-face of blandness to reach a peak of vapidness rarely achieved in literature. Don't expect him to use his deductive powers to go chasing after leads; things just fall into place around him, while poor Adam mopes about worrying about his relationship with his wife, who we barely get to know. This is another aspect of Simon Hall's characterisation --- he doesn't do women: Dan's love-interest is Claire, a beautiful young policewoman, and she gets about half a dozen lines and two short phone texts in the whole book.
Misleading as the reviews for this book are, they did at least get two things right: it's described as a page-turner and I've rarely turned pages faster to get to the end of a stupid book. It's also praised for the surprise ending --- I began to suspect how the pieces might fall together, well before the end, but I just couldn't believe we were really heading for such a crass finale. Big surprise .... we were.
Please don't fall for the rapturous acclaim surrounding this book. It really is bad.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Solid but unexceptional, 5 Oct 2014
By 
Frattonlad (Portsmouth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Pictures (The TV Detective Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I fell for the cover image. I thought, from the image of a victim reflected in the lens of a camera that Death Pictures was going to be about a serial killer who liked to photograph his victims final moments. Sadly the title promises more that it delivers. That said there is the nub of a decent writer in Simon Hall and with some careful editing this book could have been a solid three-star read.

The lead character, a TV journalist, is both likeable and has integrity. He has a confused, chaotic personal life (and a watch that is 10 minutes slow. I mention it here just in case you don't get it from the dozen or so times it is mentioned in the story...) but is good at his job and his decent character is refreshing given that journos are usually painted as lowlife scum who love nothing more than hounding people.

My problem with the book is that the two main events do not seem to mesh in any meaningful way and this leads to an unsatisfying outcome. The plots develop terribly slowly (much too slowly for my liking) and there are several conceits used which are simply gratingly repetitive: his boss constantly grinding her heels into the carpet, the number of times he admits he wants to solve the riddle of the death pictures and that damn slow-running watch.

With some paring back this could have been a great read but I can only wonder what someone like Christopher Brookmyre would have done with this tale.

Incidentally, the unstinting praise here on Amazon makes me wonder if there is not a little bit of publisher's jiggery pokery going on as the reviews all use the same terminology which hardly inspires my confidence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping - you won't put it down!, 26 Jun 2008
Believable characters with foibles and traits you can relate to, irony, humour, pathos, beautifully crafted descriptive passages and punchy dialogue. What a triumph from a reporter/writer using his local knowledge to lead the reader through Devon and Cornwall, utilising his considerable knowledge of crime and the justice system to build tension and intrigue. I eagerly await the release of the next book (Evil Coombe) to once again enter Dan and Adam's (and hopefully Dirty El's) world of newspaper deadlines, scoops and the thrill of the chase. Well done, Simon!
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4.0 out of 5 stars THE DEATH PICTURES...........YES!, 24 Feb 2009
By 
Saturnicus "Saturnicus" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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I actually read the next in the series first ("Evil Valley") and this prompted me to read "The Death Pictures". It was certainly the better of the two but frankly, it did not ring my bells. It is a good story, there is no denying that, but I start to lost interest when it gets caught up in the TV jargon. The author is a TV journalist so it is not surprising that his hero, Dan, is likewise.
I will not go into the plot as it will spoil it for the reader but it centres around a riddle in the form of a message contained in ten paintings. A brilliant idea. There is also a second plot surrounding a serial rapist.
I am not sure if the book needed two plots and the paintings on their own would have sufficed and sadly diverting to the second issue waned the attention from the really exciting thread.
Mr Hall, however, it would appear feels very strongly about certain prevalent issues in today's society and no doubt this would explain why he feels the need to put them into his books - all credit to him.
Overall, it was a good read and the tension built up nicely towards the end, however, I found the solution and ending bizarre and somewhat of an anti-climax.
However, do not be put off as you will likely enjoy it.
LOVE HIS DOG! - a great angle that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining puzzle, 17 Dec 2008
This is a brilliant read, with a gripping plot. You will want to try to solve the puzzle of the death pictures before the hero and must pick your way through the red herrings to find the important clues.

This is the first of Simon Hall's books that I have read and he will now feature in my list of must read crime authors alongside Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson and Peter James.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Death Pictures, 26 Jun 2008
By 
Mrs. Justine De Claire "Justine" (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I don't get time to read as many books as I would like.
I quite often start one and do not finish it.
But once you have started this book you will want to finish it.
It is brilliantly written.
It holds your attention from the 1st page right to the last.

Can't wait to read the next book that Simon Hall writes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 7 Nov 2010
By 
Al (Farnborough, UK) - See all my reviews
I bought this book because I had read and enjoyed 'The TV Detective', which is the re-written start of this series. The story itself is quite good, but the book has a number of significant flaws, many of which become increasingly irritating as the book progresses. Some of these were present to some extent in the first book and I think it's a case them wearing a bit thin in a second book. It is certainly not a 'gripping psychological thriller' as billed on the front cover; at best it is a decent story that chugs along slowly.

The main character is Dan, a TV reporter. He just grated with me more and more as this book progressed. I think the author is trying to portray him as an unlikely hero or an 'ordinary man in the street', but he actually comes across as a sad, inadequate loner. In reality he wouldn't last 5 minutes as a crime reporter and he certainly wouldn't be able to solve crimes that the police are struggling with.

The writing style is quite poor. For instance, there are constant references to Dan's watch, which is permanently 10 minutes slow. At least once in each chapter Dan will look at his watch and think something like 'the watch said 9 o'clock so it must be 10 past'. This wore thin with me after the first dozen or so times I read it.

Similarly, every time Dan's female boss speaks to him we get a description of her grinding the heel of her stiletto into the carpet. Again, this wore thin after the first dozen or so repetitions.

The book is padded out with far too many asides, which just detract from the storyline (and the storyline itself is the best thing about this book). For instance, whenever there is a dialogue between two people each line of dialogue is followed by 1-2 paragraphs of filler - inconsequential text that could and should have been left out. The result is that the pace of the book is slowed down and the impact of the dialogue is lost. These fillers do not add to the drama, they detract from it.

The basic premise of this series of books is flawed and the standard of writing is not good enough to distract the reader from this. The idea of a TV reporter being invited into the core of major police investigations stretches credibility to breaking point. The detective feeds key facts about ongoing cases to the reporter for broadcast and at one point, when the detective is interviewing a murder suspect he takes the reporter in with him instead of a second police officer. Totally ridiculous.

I can accept some 'poetic licence' in a book, but this one goes way beyond credibility and claiming it is a 'gripping psychological thriller' is a joke.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down..., 14 Oct 2009
By 
I picked this book on the basis of the synopsis (and the front cover!). It has to be the best read I've had for a long time. The writing style is great, easy and compelling to read and the book is exceptionally difficult to put down. One of the great twists is the relationship between DCI Breen and TV reporter Dan Groves, which gives the detective and crime books style a totally new approach. The plot itself is brilliant and you can't help feeling that you're actually in it rather than just reading it. Won't say any more except go and read it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars the good ones inspired me to keep going, 9 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Death Pictures (The TV Detective Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
It took me a while to get into this and I was on the point of giving up when I read some of the reviews, the good ones inspired me to keep going, the bad ones seemed to be rather unfair, so I battled on and did finally get into it. I found the ending rather incongruous, but on the whole was well written. It might be one I don't read again...
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