A Song from Dead Lips (Breen and Tozer) Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013
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'A first-rate police thriller set amidst the seamy underside of the swinging sixties ... The totemic year of '68 will never seem the same again' C. J. Samson. (C. J. Samson)
'Convincing atmosphere, lively dialogue and a fun cop duo unite Beatlemania, English racism and the Biafran war' The Times. (The Times)
'Excellent ... authentic, often humorous ... The Sixties have been examined and presented every which way, but A Song From Dead Lips manages to be something fresh, both in this regard and as a detective novel' Killing Time Crime. (Killing Time Crime)
'Excellent' Mail on Sunday. (Mail on Sunday)
'Excellent procedural ... A gripping story, with two appealing protagonists and impeccably researched period details deployed throughout' Laura Wilson, Guardian. (Guardian)
'London in 1968 is an evocative setting and Shaw skilfully re-creates an era of social turmoil and class conflict' Sunday Times. (Sunday Times)
'Superb characterisation, a vivid recreation of the era, its sights, sounds and prejudices make this a highly enjoyable and readable debut for the pairing, although with Tozer threatening to return to the West Country, a series seems a shade ambitious. I trust that Shaw, who is certainly a name to note for the future, has a plan to subvert this and we shall see this original and likeable couple again soon' Crime Review. (Crime Review)
About the Author
William Shaw was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, grew up in Nigeria and lived for sixteen years in Hackney. He is the author of the acclaimed Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London: A Song from Dead Lips, A House of Knives and A Book of Scars. For over twenty years he has written on popular culture and sub-culture for various publications including the Observer and the New York Times. He lives in Brighton.
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Top Customer Reviews
Breen is sent to investigate the murder of a young girl, her naked body discovered in a St John's Wood alley. She has been left by a block of flats backing onto Abbey Road, the recording studio where young girls congregate to wait for the Beatles, and also close by the house of an eminent African surgeon. This atmospheric crime novel will take you from Apple Scruffs, to building sites, through to fund raising for the war in Biafra; to both the city and country, as Breen refuses to accept the obvious suspects as the correct ones. Breen and Tozer are fantastic characters, both with their secrets and demons to deal with. I sincerely hope that they will appear together in future novels, as this was so enjoyable and well written. Lastly, if you enjoy crime novels set in the 1960's you might also like Kiss Me Quick.
Set in 1968 around Abbey Road at the time of Beatlemania, this story will strike several chords with those who can remember the period. Others may find it hard to credit the sexism, casual racism, ubiquitous chain-smoking, unchallenged bullying at work - in short, general political incorrectness, and it is unsettling to realise how unthinkingly one accepted it at the time.
Beneath a fairly conventional police detective drama there lie some serious issues such as police corruption in the 1960s and the cynical British reaction to the Biafran war, of which I was to my present shame then completely unaware. There is also some quite strong character development behind the stereotyped attitudes of the police officers, and the crude workplace humour and rivalries. After building up to a dramatic climax, the author clearly leaves the ending open for a sequel or two. Apart from a feeling that the subplot relating to Prosser is handled in a rather rushed way, and the quality of the writing, generally good, occasionally slips, I recommend this novel and intend to read the sequel, "A House of Knives".
The main police protagonists, DS Cathal Breen and WPC Helen Tozer are well-drawn and carry the weight of the plot with ease. Breen is a deep and thought provoking character, set apart from his more brutish colleagues in the murder unit, often being at the brunt of their misplaced humour or vitriol. At times he shows a distinctly more human and empathetic approach to both victim and the suspects, and genuine physical responses to the criminal acts he bears witness to. The interplay between him and the ballsy Tozer, the first woman assigned to the murder unit, is beautifully realised combining a mixture of humour, camararderie and emotional involvement, which makes the scenes between these two in particular, one of the most satisfying aspects of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is atmospheric and has some good aspects to it. The plot though struggles and is somewhat mundane. Characters are a little uninspiring and it wouldn't be a classic mystery.Published 6 months ago by Tullow Man
Set in London at the tail-end of the swinging sixties, A Song from Dead Lips captures not only the changes taking place at the time, but also the rump of old conservatism and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rob Kitchin
I can remember the sixties and I think this is a pretty good portrayal of that time. However, as a crime novel, it didn't really work for me. Read morePublished 11 months ago by GeordieReader
Excellent storyline. Hoping to read more of Breen & Tozer. Great characters. Love the 60's era.Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer Brycie Grigor
Very enjoyable with interesting characters. I particularly like the young rookie female cop although, as this is set in the sixties the male cops are chock full of sexism. Read morePublished 12 months ago by sally seagull
I enjoyed this book as it was from my era and i could relate to many of the things said and i love being took back to those days , the only thing that spoiled it for me was the one... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mary Hatt