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3.9 out of 5 stars
27
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2013
I really enjoyed this book and found it difficult to put down. The characterisation was very real and the story gripping. Would definitely recommend.
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on 23 June 2009
Having read the blurb on the back of the book, I thought this was going to be a fairly predictable read that followed pretty much the same basic plot as numerous other thrillers. Wow, how wrong was I ? It really kept me guessing right until the end and even then, I was way of the mark ! I loved the way the "good guys" and the "bad guys" were not totally clear cut and the interaction between the different characters. It reminded me a bit of the film "Shallow Grave" but with a much more realistic storyline - it gave me the shivers because I could really imagine being in that situation and trying to work out what to do, exactly like the characters in the book. Some of the descriptions were haunting (sorry, no pun intended !). I couldn't help thinking this would make a brilliant film or TV series so I was hardly surprised to read that Neil Cross is lead scriptwriter on 'Spooks' and other TV programmes. I whizzed through this book in a few days, reading way after I decided to stop every night because I always wanted to find out what was going to happen in the next chapter ! It's a real page-turner
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I read my first Neil Cross book about a year ago, and since then have been seeking out other books by this remarkable writer. Neil Cross specialises in complex psychological novels in which ordinary people get involved in highly disturbing crimes. His ability to capture the horror of suburban man as he is sucked into unresolvable conflicts is second to none.

In Burial, a young man called Nathan goes to a party, where drink and drugs flow freely. Nathan is about to break up with his girl-friend and hooks up with Elise, an appealing and friendly young woman who seems to be happy take over where his previous girl-friend left off. Nathan also meets Bob, an old acquaintance who offers to drive Nathan and Elise out in his car to a remote spot where they can take more drugs and have what seems (mistakenly) to be a good time.

I have no intention of spoiling this book for other readers and must stop my description there. But it will do no harm to say that Nathan ends up years later with a horrendous situation to deal with involving the exhumation of an ancient corpse, the concealment of appalling secrets from his wife, and an attempt to sort out Bob, who now has a terrifying hold over him but has also degenerated into a shambling and confused wreck. Half-way through the book, the reader suddenly sees that the whole situation is so impossible for Nathan to deal with that there seems to be absolutely no resolution other than some sort of nuclear option. It is at this stage that the reader's late nights begin.

There is so much to this book. It deals with human behaviour under extreme pressure and Neil Cross seems to have got completely into his characters as he describes their torment. I can only recommend it to anyone who has got bored with more run of the mill books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 September 2009
Bob sometimes turns up unexpectedly in Nathan's life over the years, right from when he was sharing a room in a run-down house full of ex-rock guitarists, bikers and doleys. The first time they met Bob was doing `research' on occult phenomena and Nathan wasn't much impressed. Four years later Nathan works for a snide and bullying disc-jockey who has a right-wing late-night phone-in radio show and Bob turns up at a Christmas party in the DJ's country mansion - and that's the night when all Nathan's troubles begin. Nathan's fed up with his girlfriend who's dancing groin to groin with the DJ, but then he meets up with the beautiful, half-smashed Elise and they somehow end up being driven off together in Bob's car. They have awkward sex while Bob looks on. Elise seems up for anything and doesn't protest when Nathan climbs out and Bob gets in. But something goes wrong and Elise is suddenly dead. Bob says she must have had something wrong with her - she's had some kind of fit. They drive into the undergrowth and Bob and Nathan bury the dead girl in a shallow grave.

Nathan's nightmares begin. Suddenly afraid of the dark and spooked by Bob's occult interests, it is some time before he is able to live a normal life. But fate intervenes and Nathan finds himself deeply attracted to Elise's sister.

Thrillingly compulsive, this story has more to offer than mere twists and turns for there is a disturbing aura of creeping unease as events unfurl and Bob and Nathan find themselves entwined ever deeper in a mire of their own devising. You may not like it, but you won't be able to resist turning the next page. Counter to all one's expectations, the ending is somehow deeply satisfying.
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A claustrophobic thriller about a death that literally haunts a young and relatively innocent young man and his hideous friend, a PhD student and paranormal investigator. Nathan, the protagonist, deals with what's happened and makes a life despite everything - in fact, he makes a rather good life, a life that, if the death had never happened, would not have come about. Can he deal with the implications of that knowledge?

I could see how ...more It's certainly a page turner.

A claustrophobic thriller about a death that literally haunts a young and relatively innocent young man and his hideous friend, a PhD student and paranormal investigator. Nathan, the protagonist, deals with what's happened and makes a life despite everything - in fact, he makes a rather good life, a life that, if the death had never happened, would not have come about. Can he deal with the implications of that knowledge?

I could see how the paranormal shades would come to colour the book, in fact, I was expecting rather more of it than we got but the twist at end came as a real surprise to me - maybe that's because I don't read or watch many thrillers. It certainly read as though the author had the TV market in mind.

The quality of the writing is often a little shaky with repetition and a goodly number of clichés, but if a darn good plot is all you need, then this is a darn good plot, reasonably well executed and will keep you turning the pages for sure.
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on 7 May 2011
This is the first novel by Neil Cross I've read, and I found it very enjoyable. The subject matter is somewhat sordid but the author creates such a great what if scenario that you are compelled to keep reading. If you liked the film `A Shallow Grave', you'd like this, and the book also reads a bit like a British version of Richard Laymon's entertaining horror novels.
The `hero' of the book is Nathan who seems to suffer from making one bad mistake after another, his life fully out of control. It's hard not to sympathise with him, even if he does make some silly decisions. The characterisation of the novel is wholly believable however, as people in real-life do make strange and often catastrophic decisions.
My only real complaint about this book is that it's too short, and the pages just fly by, yet it's a good and often unpredictable thriller. I'll read some more of Neil Cross's books though.
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on 28 July 2012
A friend lent me this book and I'd not read anything of Neil Cross's work before. Nathan has a really bad night at a party hosted by this then boss who is obnoxious to put it mildly. Only Nathan and Bob - a casual acquaintance know what happened that night and they agree to never meet again. Then Bob turns up on Nathan's doorstep some years later...

A finely worked tales with a feeling of dread for what must go wrong at some stage we follow the secret life that Nathan has created for himself. While maybe not appealing Nathan is not a bad character (and is well written). A good thriller with some lovely touches of humour in and although I did take a stab at the outcome I was only partly right! I'll certainly look at Neil Cross's other work with some interest.
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on 22 January 2010
This is the only Neil Cross novel I have read. It starts slowly, builds up a good pace, but fizzles out to a disappointing ending. Once the story got going I couldn't put the book down, I was intrigued to discover how the main character, Nathan, was going to extricate himself from the horrific situation he allowed himself to be manoeuvred into.I honestly could not believe that anyone could be that stupid. The plot made excellent reading, up until the part where they moved the buried body - that is where it all fell down.The ending was very predictable. Having said that, I shall probably read more Neil Cross - on the strength of the middle part of this one.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 January 2011
A Party at his bosses house starts going wrong for Nathan with his girlfriend throwing herself at his minor celebrity DJ boss, it goes from bad to worse when he ends up in the woods with an old acquaintance Bob, sharing the pleasures of a young girl in the back seat of a car who ends up dead.

I found myself drawn into this novel surprisingly easily, the characters were well written, in particular the creepy Bob who I found quite disturbing. The storyline moves along at a good pace and kept my attention to the end, which sadly I didn't feel lived up to the rest of the book. Nonetheless a recommended read.
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VINE VOICEon 31 December 2009
This novel started promisingly enough, and was pacey and readable. But I agree with the reviewers who complained about the unlikeable main character, and his unlikely relationship with the ludicrously naive Holly. As the second half of the novel progressed, I found it increasingly hard to believe in the plot, and the ending was a let-down. It felt as though the writer hadn't been sure how to finish his story, and took the easy (if less than satisfactory) option. Having said that, a lot of the writing was good, and I would be happy to try another novel by this author.
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