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River of Darkness Paperback – 30 Jun 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 Jun 2009
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Product details

  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Group Canada; Reprint edition (30 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143171003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143171003
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Product Description

Review

"It's the tactics and the terrain, the morale and the characters that make the difference between an average thriller and one as good as this." Christopher Dickey, The New York Times Book Review
"One of the best mysteries I have read in years." The Boston Globe
"Airth writes with arresting authority and compassion...a major talent." Chicago Tribune
"All the familiar elements of suspense writing are given an unusual and satisfying twist in this grim and fascinating thriller the initial volume of a promised series...A fine, frightening piece of work." Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Readers who are looking for smart, well-plotted psychological mysteries will be delighted." Booklist" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The classic thriller from Rennie Airth now available on CD --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I purchased this book on the strength of the review quotes on the cover and I wasn't disappointed! An original, exciting storyline which I enjoyed tremendously. My one complaint perhaps was that it did take me a little while longer than I would have liked to get into the story and gather an understanding of the characters,but once this was accomplished I just had to keep on reading! I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery and suspense. This story I think will not be forgotten in a hurry.Definitely worth the cover price.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I came across this book by accident in my local library, and although I would normally choose fiction from a more modern era, I am so glad that I made this choice! It's the best crime novel I read all year, and it sent me searching immediately for other books by this author. For me the book had all the essential elements of a good thriller - suspense and a believable plot-line, while combining these with thoroughly human characters. Definitely highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Since reading this book about a year ago, I have been eagerly awaiting the next installment, due out this month. Yes, some of the things I predicted would happen did, but by the time I went on the plot journey through the killer's mind and the investigative procedure, I was surprised! Definitely an enchanting read.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't know anything about this book before I started, but I certainly enjoyed it. It was nice reading something set in the past, the atmosphere so much more pleasant and different to crime-stories about modern life, the pace of life much slower. No mobile phones or fast cars and the main character,Madden, not beeing an alcoholic -which is unusual. The story was very well written and exciting all the way to the end.
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By A Customer on 24 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
On the one hand I found this book both enjoyable and exciting. On the other hand I would have enjoyed it more but for certain clichés. The phrase 'rises well above its formula' from one of the reviews/endorsments qouted on the fly-leaf just doesn't apply in my opinion. I also found the quote 'rich in period detail' a bit dubious too. It ought to imply more than numerous references to women with 1920's style bobbed hair but maybe I just didn't read carefully enough.
I've decided to give the book four stars on account of it being enjoyable enough. I've deducted one star for the use of clichés.
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By A Customer on 15 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is so good I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed it. Inspector Madden is a highly memorable character. The plot beats everything I've ever read. And the language flows beautifully - like a river. I got totally carried away.
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By Elaine Tomasso TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Feb. 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
River Of Darkness is set in 1921 and features Scotland Yard Detective Inspector John Madden, a WW1 veteran, in the hunt for the killer of a middle class family. Normally in novels set in this period and background the killer knows the victims and the suspect pool is limited but this is a stranger killing so the detectives have to use the limited technology available to try and narrow the field, especially when they come to believe they are looking for a mentally troubled serial killer.
River Of Darkness is a well researched novel which deals sensitively with what we now call PTSD and then called nightmares. The horrors of trench warfare and its aftermath obviously play a large part in any serious novel set in the earlies 20s and whilst the descriptions are graphic they are not gratuitous or sensationalist. Both John Madden and the killer, Amos Pike, have come through the war alive but not unscathed. This is not a spoiler as Mr Airth gives us glimpses of his thought processes and actions from early on in the novel.
On the whole I enjoyed River Of Darkness which has an interesting premise, a good plot and likeable characters. There is no hint of the pastiche I was semi-expecting, just a straightforward police procedural. It is interesting to see the detectives dabbling with the new science of psychoanalysis but having to hide it from the hidebound hierarchy of Scotland Yard and the paucity of their technical resources. I also enjoyed their skirmishes with "Sampson Of The Yard" who tries to undermine their investigation and new fangled methods in an attempt to step in and claim the glory. Fictional police politics never change. I wasn't particularly convinced by John and Helen's romance which seems a bit modern.
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Format: Paperback
I remember being conscious of the buzz around this book when it was first publised. For some reason, I never got around to buying it, let alone reading it. When it was nifitily re-issed, it caught my attention again so I bought it. And was glad that I had a second chance to find it, as this is a simply fantastic crime novel. It's part psychological thriller, part golden age country-house mystery. The best comparison I can come up with is to think of a cross between an Agatha Christie novel and a Minette Walters one. It has the atmosphere of a Christie, the psycholgical acuity and brutality of a Walters. Some reviews I glanced at said it wasn't original, which I must admit seems to be true, though thinking further I must also say that I can't immediately bring to mind another book like it. It definitely seems like a book I *should* have come across before, but I think that's just because it borrows from a lot of the crime sub-genres to create something fresher.

The writing is great, the puzzles are great, the detection is great, and the detective himself - first world war veteran john madden, a haunted and thoughtful man - is a wonderful lead characer to read about (even if his very quick-to-form relationship with someone connected to the case seems a little forced and unreal). The secondary officers are also a pleasure to spend time with. The plot moves smoothly, has some nice twists and misdirections, and also has some very shocking, tragic moments. There are superb tensions created, and Airth doesn't spare his readers much at all throughout the course of the book. Really, I can't recommend it enough. It's a satisfying, involving read, and a very good crime novel indeed. I will be very happy to buy and read the second and - imminent - third in the series.
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