A Place of Execution Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged
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Val McDermid is known for the violence, and tension, of her writing. Both The Mermaids Singing, which won the Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of 1995, and The Wire in the Blood (1997) are monuments to the human capacity for torture (and the psychological profiling supposed to counter it). No less thrilling, A Place of Execution is, however, a different kind of book. On one level, it is about the disappearance of a schoolgirl, Alison Carter, in December 1963: a girl from a tiny Derbyshire village whose disappearance turns into a personal quest for the detective heading the investigation, George Bennett. Resisting comparisons with real events in Manchester (what are now known as the "Moors Murders"), Bennett is confronted with the strange and isolated community of Scardale: a community reputed to be a "a law unto itself", it may well harbour the kind of secret which allows murder to reverberate across the generations. Building slowly with lots of suspense, McDermid takes her readers through Bennett's investigation and the trial that follows, projecting back to the beginning of the 1960s a very contemporary anxiety about the "desecration of childhood". It's an intelligent and compelling move, one that sustains the book's shift to the present and Bennett's return to the case decades later when he tells his story to the journalist Catherine Heathcote. Heathcote is a woman who wants to know; complex, thoughtful, skilfully plotted, A Place of Execution suggests how unsettling that knowledge can be. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an alternate Audio Cassette edition.
'From the first pages, we know we're in the hands of a master this book will earn its author a place in that rare pantheon – the truly literary suspense novel' Jeffrey Deaver
‘Beautifully written … It may be that McDermid will write better novels than this in the future, but I do not see how’ Daily Telegraph
'One of the best detective stories I've read' Ruth Rendell
‘A substantial book and an impressive one, possibly the best McDermid has written and it takes this most accomplished writer into higher territory’ Sunday Telegraph
'A Place of Execution is a wake-up call to crime writers everywhere. A terrific and original novel, brilliantly executed' Mirror--This text refers to an alternate Audio Cassette edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For those of you who remember seeing Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' the first time, you will probably recall wanting to see the film all over again immediately, realising at the end that most of what had gone before was not as you had assumed. So it follows that in A Place of Execution, despite admirably detailed accounts of the investigations into the case of a missing teenage girl back in 1963, which in effect come to a seemingly satisfying conclusion three-quarters of the way through the book, the final quarter which unravels itself 35 years later in 1998 manages to completely dismantle our earlier belief that justice had been done and made me want to read the 1960s part of this book again to see if I could have guessed what was coming. Of course, I already knew that there was going to be a twist to this tale and I took much pleasure in taking guesses as to what it would be; a miscarriage of justice was the most obvious, but that cannot be said to be true because for all human reasons other than legal, justice was clearly served even if there were some unexpectedly high prices to be paid, it later emerged, on the part of more than one victim.Read more ›
However, from the moment I began reading, I was hooked! The winning formula is created by the combinination of a missing girl, a very close-knit community that despises interference from strangers and a story that is set in the early 1960s during the time of the Moors Murders. The atmosphere of the 1960s and the investigation methods used by the police in that period is conveyed very vividly by the author and shows that she has carried out a thorough research before putting pen to paper. An atmosphere of mounting tension is created as the police try to gain new information, despite the hostility of the local folk of Scardale who seem to know more than they're letting on. The characters are all very believable and each one plays their part perfectly by building up feelings of apprehension mingled with great curiosity, giving the reader the urge to keep on reading until the truth is uncovered. By taking the mystery forward to present day, the author keeps the tension mounting and rewards the reader with a very satisfactory ending. Superb!
The basis of the story is the recounting of a 1960's murder case by modern day author Catherine Heathcote. The investigating policeman, George Bennett has always refused to speak about the case but Catherine befriends George's son and eventually he agrees to talk about it. The case was unusual in that a man was found guilty of murder and hanged, yet no body was ever found. This was George's first serious case, he was newly-married, his wife pregnant and the case shaped the rest of his life.
The 1960's story is excellently written - set in a strange, insular, out-of-the-way village in Derbyshire, the sense of place is amazing. The way that the villagers work together to ensure that George's job is made as difficult is possible is very well written. Eventually the case is solved, and a murderer is charged .............. but is that the end?
Back to modern-day and George suddenly refuses to co-operative further and asks Catherine not to publish the book. The remainder of the story centres on Catherine's further investigations into the case, and discovering the amazing truth behind a murder that most people have long forgotten.
I believe that this is McDermid's first stand-alone novel, she is the author of the 'Wire In The Blood' series. I enjoyed every twisting, turning page of this book. It kept me guessing right to the very end.
The story starts off with the disappearance of a girl in the sixties in a very close and isolated community, the police investigation, the trial and then brings us to the present day to a truly stunning conclusion.
My only criticism is that there may seem to be rather a lot of people introduced in the early part of the book, but do not be put off by this. There is plenty of time to become familiar with the important ones, and although there may be some repitition at the trial stage, it is well worth the build-up to one of the strongest and most suprising endings of a book that I can ever remember. When so many books are enjoyable, but are let down by a weak ending, this is one book that does not disappoint, and has to be one of my all time favourites.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Twists and turns a plenty. Great story line and many of the characters diverting the whole story. You seriously have to read this book.Published 1 month ago by juni
I have not finished the book yet but what I have read this must be the most compelling book that I have read by Val Mcdermid the courtroom details are very thorough and accurate... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I came at this book having read a number of the Tony Hill series (which is written by the same author). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim Bowen
This was one of the most impressive crime novels that I ever read in the past 10 years. It made me think about it even weeks after I finished reading. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Mathieu
This crime novel begins in the 1960s and is set in Derbyshire with the Moors Murders as a backdrop. Teenager Alison goes missing and after an intensive search (and ambivalent help... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Wynne Kelly
Excellent storytelling and very well-written. Clever plot, good pace and believable characters. Value for money and excellent read.Published 4 months ago by EdnaJones