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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
124
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2014
I found this book very tedious. It appeared to be written exclusively for upper class people, with references and jargon that was not clear to me. It jumped around too much so that the plot was difficult to follow.
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VINE VOICEon 6 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was curious to read Mark Lawson's fiction, being only familiar with him via his press journalism and his day job presenting Front Row and the like... he's somebody I like in that context so I was interested to see if that would translate to his fiction. Happily, it does: The Deaths is a really rather dark social satire on the British upper middle classes, full of the sorts of cultural references you'd expect from Lawson, but it's also a good novel on its own terms - one that does a surprisingly adept job of juxtaposing a murder investigation with a slew of humorous set pieces, throughout both of which runs a highly effective satire of the post-crash British elite: the four rich couples in the fictitious Bucks village at the heart of the novel are absolutely nailed far as I can tell- weekly spa visits and the rest. Only slight gripe was the cringe worthy sex scenes, the Achilles heel of so many otherwise faultless novels.
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on 7 January 2015
I wasn't sure about this as I started to read it. I had my doubts about the people I was being asked to care about. However, I carried on reading it and I'm very glad I did. It has something to say about the state of the nation and it was very moving and left me thinking.
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VINE VOICEon 19 February 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Anyone familiar with Mark Lawson’s interview style on the BBC Radio 4 daily culture show, Front Row, will recognise his dark tinged sense of humour. The novel sits on a fine line between crime thriller and social satire. There’s whiffs of JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy here, social climbing, dark secrets and crime in suburbia. The characters in The Deaths are almost all vile and much of the plot involves the rich vile people getting away with things.
During a book club session within the novel one of the characters says that she wouldn’t want any of the characters as a friend. Would you want any of these characters as friends? Probably not but it’s fun to peer over their shoulders, revel in their awfulness and get away quickly into the real world, where people can’t be that bad.
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on 4 April 2015
I was very disappointed with this book, stuck with it right to the end, hoping it would get better, but it didn't. I thought it got no where with the story line and I had to make notes about the characters as they were not very memorable. All the time there was hope with a big build up but it never came, even when the murders and suicide happened. I personally thought the coffee delivery man had done it. Very disappointing. Star rating, one star.
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on 25 September 2013
Lawson clearly chose a "murder mystery" genre on which to hang his novel, although it isn't the standard mystery, as we know pretty soon what is going on. The question facing the reader is which of the four fairly awful rich families which constitute the cast has been destroyed by the fairly awful husband/father/breadwinner who has decided to turn his gun on his own. To lengthen the suspense there are a number of unlikely factors (could all four families really have the same complement of dogs?) and a few un answered questions at the end (how did the bankrupt family sort things out? It would take more than changing from Waitrose to Lidl). It's a heartless piece of writing, with a sour sense of humour which makes it readable but not really enjoyable.
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on 30 September 2014
Had low expectations and rattled through the opening chapters -before I realised it was really rather good and that I wasn't doing it justice.
The writing is fresh, funny and original with a well constructed plot. It's not really a who dunnit as such but a wryly comic, faintly mocking look at the smug wealthy.
Characterisation is spot on though none of the "eight" are particularly likeable.
It is such a good read that I didn't want to finish it. The ending is thought provoking.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mark Lawson is an entertaining and perceptive cultural critic...but alas, he is not a good novelist. My views of this book are similar to those of the previous two reviewers. I did warm to one or two of the main characters but the problem is that one gets so much of them: we see them on the train to work, at the gym, on holiday, at parties, at a clay pigeon shoot,in the bedroom and in endless other scenes that do not advance the plot or reveal much about them except at a superficial level. There is some perceptive social commentary buried in this book but it is bloated beyond belief, with detail piled on detail in an effort to appear as 'contemporary' as possible in its references to life in middle class England in the second decade of the century.There would have been a good 200 page novel in here somewhere.
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on 17 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mark Lawson has chaired a lot of late-night review programmes on Friday on BBC2, among other timeslots, and he's always the genial, likeable host. Sitting down, he's more-or-less the size of his guests, so I was a bit taken aback when I actually met him up close and personal. He is enormously tall! As a reader I know that Mark likes good crime fiction, because he's penned many a complimentary review in the past and he's always to be found at the annual Harrogate Crime Festival.

So, does 'The Deaths' fall into the genre? Sort of, being both a crime novel and a social satire. You would expect no less from the big man.

This is well-plotted, hits most of its targets, and at times it's very funny. Definitely a book to read if you wish to take a break from the gritty noir-ish side of the crime fiction scene.
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on 4 January 2015
An excellent and engaging read . Enlightened and amusing insight into the pressures of middle class life and middle aged marriage. Liked the plot and the characters - well observed and plausible. Very funny yet sad in parts. Aside from the "teenage monologue", there were some spelling and grammatical errors overlooked by spell/grammar checks.
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