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Eye Contact (Inspector Harland 1) Hardcover – 13 Sep 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (13 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444739611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444739619
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A chilling game of cat and mouse that should keep you awake long after bedtime. DI Harland is a welcome addition to the growing ranks of British detectives. (Peter Robinson)

Let's welcome Fergus McNeill to the ranks of British Crime fiction innovators; he has found a darker shade of noir (Quintin Jardine)

Creepy, compelling and completely convincing (Erin Kelly, author of THE POISON TREE)

'A gripping first novel' (Irish Independent)

[A] cracking story, set in and around the Winchester/Salisbury area and has a cliff hanger ending which will, I hope, lead on to the next from this author. Great stuff. (www.randomjottings.typepad.com)

[A] confident debut from Fergus McNeill, mixing thriller with police procedural . . . to create a tense, compelling and truly unputdownable read . . . EYE CONTACT is a novel that will have the reader losing track of time. It also ends on an atypical note, adding to its originality. (www.itsacrimeuk.wordpress.com)

A great read and a chillingly clever insight into the mind and motives of a killer. Harland is a welcome new addition to the force of fictional coppers and McNeill a refreshing new voice in crime fiction; on the evidence of EYE CONTACT, we'll be hearing a lot more from them both. (Brian McGilloway)

A tense police procedural from a new author with a promising future in crime fiction (Choice magazine)

'A very impressive debut novel' **** (Star magazine)

An interesting and frightening concept (www.eurocrime.co.uk)

Book Description

Don't look. Or you'll be next. An incredibly commercial crime debut that will make you think twice before you look a stranger in the eye . . .

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Debut novels vary a lot. Sadly a few are dire. Others strike the reader as showing promise and start out well, but get lost a little along the way. A very few really hit the mark, and work extremely well on all levels. Pleasingly, Eye Contact was an absorbing read and definitely fell into the latter category much to the credit of the author.

If there is one single mistake which new authors tend to make, it is to overcomplicate plots. The result is often confused, overlong and unbelievable. However, here Fergus McNeill starts out with a simple premise - a serial killer who makes a game of murder. When he decides it is time to kill, he patiently waits for the next occasion on which a stranger makes eye contact with him. At that point they have nominated themselves as his next victim and he hunts them down. Unlikely - certainly. Impossible - by no means. There is no problem whatsoever in buying into this as a credible scenario and since there is no obvious connection between the victims it must be the police's worst nightmare.

The main protagonists are very capably drawn up and the author really gets under their skin. On the one hand we have the killer, Naysmith. Although predatory, totally ruthless and cold blooded he comes across as a real and rather frightening persona as we learn about both his life and background. In the other corner we have the investigating policeman who is a damaged character - which could be a bit of a cliché as it is by no means an unusual scenario in fiction. In this case he has not got over the premature death of his beloved wife who he still deeply grieves. However, again the characterisation is done extremely well which makes the reader feel that they understand the man.
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By Raven TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 April 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the outset, McNeill eschews the whole run-of-the-mill serial killer thriller tropes, and their turgid familiarity, by bringing to us a serial killer that you wouldn’t really mind going to the pub with for an evening of convivial company. Just don’t let him walk you home afterwards. Naysmith is brilliantly portrayed as both a confident, charming businessman, who has a way with the ladies, but also happy to bathe in the respect of his male peers. However, beneath this persona lurks a wolfish, calculating and devious killer, with his personal credo of selecting a fixed time of day, which when it passes, spells doom for the person to make eye contact with him after this allotted time. Hence, he exhibits none of the well-worn traits of your average serial killer with his seemingly random victim selection, and his propensity for stalking his prey to ascertain the absolute prime time for their demise. He hunts outside of his social group, across both genders, and employs different killing methods, whilst upholding a demeanour of respectability underscored by the tiniest flashes of what his outer skin conceals. McNeill balances both sides of Naysmith’s personality absolutely perfectly throughout, and writes him with such an air of authenticity and knowledge that I guarantee you will be held in a spell throughout.

Pitted against the Machiavellian Naysmith, is McNeill’s police protagonist, DI Graham Harland, who in an interesting synchronicity with the man he hunts, carries an equally intriguing and complex blend of character. There is no doubt that Harland is an extremely dedicated and accomplished police officer, but not far from the surface is the underlying grief and anger he carries one year on from his wife’s untimely death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As others have mentioned, this book was written from both the perspective of the lead detective, Harland, and the killer, Naysmith. Slightly differently from other books written in this way, rather than having one chapter each this had great big chunks of 30 or 40 pages before you got to see what the other one was up to. So if you read on the train, or before going to sleep, you didn't always revisit both sides of the story. This annoyed me greatly and made the story drag.

I agree with other reviewers that the killer's character was the more thought out and explored. The police were one dimensional. We never really got to understand what Harland's problem with colleague Pope was - he only ever uttered a couple of slightly annoying comments that didn't really merit the hatred Harland felt for him. Likewise Harland's sidekick, though caring, wasn't really explored enough and we didn't get much of a picture of him - there wasn't any banter and the book lacked the humour of similar novels of this genre.

I may read the next in the series if I have some spare time, but unless the police protagonists become more interesting it will be my last outing with Inspector Harland.
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Format: Paperback
In 'The Pledge,' Friedrich Durrenmatt's Inspector Matthai investigating the case of a murdered little girl, begins to lose his mind. His obsession with finding her killer drives him to giving up a promising career, and the ending, as in so much of real life isn't all guns blazing, but a sense of missed opportunities.
What is so brave about 'Eye Contact,' and what reminds me of Durrenmatt's brilliant book, is that the author has pitted a cop against a seriously controlled and careful sociopath. Both characters' believability kept me turning the pages when so often I give up on a book early on.
The settings are so real too. More please!
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