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on 29 January 2011
Having read and enjoyed The Hanging Shed, I went back to read the author's earlier novels. This is the first Danny Macrae story and what a cracker it is. Gripping and compelling from the very first page..wonderfully drawn characters set against the background of immediate post war London and a plot that will keep you clicking the 'Next Page' button until the early hours.
I'm now about to read the follow up, The Unquiet Heart, which will no doubt be equally enjoyable.
My only query is..where on earth has Gordon Ferris been hiding all these years? As a storyteller he is up there with the best and in Danny Macrae and Brodie (from The Hanging Shed) he has created two superb characters who can certainly live on through many more books.
Not to be missed and at the Kindle price, an absolute bargain.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 April 2016
I've read a few of Mr Ferris' books and liked them - but I've got to 48% on this and I'm giving up. It was first published in 2007 so I'm assuming it's one of his earlier books - and I feel that it shows in a certain naivety in the plotline and characters.

I've put "annoying" as my title because I'm halfway through and I've spent most of the book being irritated by what I would term "Scooby Doo moments" - you know, when there's a haunted house with a murderer inside and yet they STILL have to go in for reason that don't seem plausible to the viewer.

I don't think this will spoil the plot (but stop reading now if you are concerned that it will) but if you were (1) someone with gaping holes in your memory and (2) there is a sadistic local cop who has it in for you and (3) you keep dreaming of a violent crime against a woman that, in your dream, you feel like you committed - would you really, really collect newspaper articles about someone in your area murdering women in a similar fashion? To most "normal" people that's just asking for trouble. I didn't do it - but I'm keeping a scrapbook on the gruesome details of something someone else did. Honest guv.

The problem is (and Gordon has probably cottoned on to this by now) once you've hit a seam of implausibility in a book it's often hard to get beyond it. It's possible this is something that won't come back to bite our character in the behind - but I can't bring myself to read on to find out.
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on 24 May 2011
After reading through this book in record time, it's clear to see why Gordon Ferris is the "new kid on the block", so to speak. Born in Kilmarnock, Gordon's Scottish roots are portrayed to some extent through Danny McRae, although you'd never tell the author was a former accountant by trade! For those of us too young to have experienced any or the aftermath of WW2 (me included) this is a salient introduction to life in the immediate post war period. On his website, Gordon talks about storytelling being about "life, death, love, justice, revenge", well he covers all of these in this novel and all in under 300 pages. That's what differentiates this book from the plethora of the 21st century espionage genre titles on sale today, it manages to convey all those things in a strikingly short amount of space. Before you know it it's over and you just want to get on with the sequel.

Danny McRae is not your typical all out action super hero with bulging biceps and good looks. The opposite couldn't be more true. You could say he is damaged goods, badly savaged by the Gestapo after being caught on duty somewhere between the French and German borders. He is so badly beaten he loses all recollection of one year of his life - the problem is it's a pivotal year of his life that explains his implication in several murders. Gordon Ferris therefore does a great job of intertwining life in the immediate aftermath of the war with deceit, betrayal and the hunt for a serial killer all whilst delving into the deep psychological impact of an ex war participant.

A good book should always want you craving more, the fact I just downloaded the Danny McRae sequel "The Unquiet Heart" says it all. I hope it's as good as the first. Kudos to Amazon and the kindle for making this such a bargain, it makes you wonder why people even bother watching all the garbage on TV these days, the kindle really is the future.

Enjoy!
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on 5 August 2011
This is a good read - Danny McRae is an excellent character with an an interesting back story, a real emotional depth underpins his motivations, aspiration and desperation. He's strong but scarred, has physical and mental issues and is far from the 'superman' of many action thriller protaganists. He makes mistakes and is led by heart and groin in true red blooded male fashion. He's also laconinc and immensley likeable.

With such a strong character it's a shame that the plot and it's themes seem a little limp in comaparison. In fact the twists and turns or reveals are often at odds with the main plot and intial set up. I found the revelations about family relationships and sexual misadventure to be alomost an editorial afterthought - something to add spice. I may be wrong, no matter, it's how it appeared to me. I also found the heavily noir / chandler esque opening very painful. It read mroe pastiche than homage and was glad when the pretence of some 40's US detective styling was dropped!

As the reader i found i was only rooting for Danny, no other character really illicited much sympathy and so the suspense seemed only based on this central character. Did he didn't he... is mad, sane or what? - This works ok until you realise its marketed as "Book 1". Danny might be around for a few more of these. The premise for Danny's involvement is never fully dealt with, it's very very contrived as to how he begins investigating and how it all links back to him and his past. The fact that it does makes the book very compelling, the memory loss and Danny's impending sense of madness is well done and it is the quality of this element of the book that kept it at 4 stars - as i found the reason for Danny to be invilved so fundamentally thin.

There are a host of good characters that support the narrative from the stereotypical police brute to the engagging and hilrious Oriental madame. Time and place are well created and dialogue dealt with in a crisp, efficent but engaging way.

I have and will continue to recommend Ferris to others, he's a new name and a good writer in the UK thriller market and despite the odd plot and believability issues a very well rounded writer.
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on 5 January 2014
Gordon Ferris is one of my favourite authors. Having read the Douglas Brodie series, in which his uncle, retired cop Danny Mcrae, makes regular appearances, this is the first novel chronicling the earlier life of Danny himself.

Set in London just after the war, Danny is a former Glasgow policeman who has returned to the UK bloodied and broken from the torture and beatings of 16 months as a PoW in the horrors of Dachau.

Having set himself up as a Private Investigator, his biggest challenge isto unlock the secrets of the last 16 months which his mind has mercifully blocked out. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear tgat the only people who can assist him in his quest have very much their own reasons for ensuring the past remains firmly under lock and key.

A compulsive potboiler from beginning to end!
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VINE VOICEon 18 May 2013
This is a clever tale, and the start of a new Gordon Ferris series.

Danny is an ex-policeman who has returned from the war damaged, with memories of times spent in a concentration camp after being captured as an Allied spy.

An unlikely client presents to him as an effectively broke private eye - and pays him a huge sum of money to find someone. And the someone to be found is the very person Danny has wanted to find since his repatriation after release from the camp at Liberation.

Set in the London of the immediate post-war period, the weather, climate and mindset of the population is well explored, as the complex and clever tale unfolds. Giving away more would be a spoiler, sadly, as the tightly woven story needs followed at its nerve-wracking pace with no clues to where it is actually going.

Perhaps not as clever or plausible as his Major Brodie series, this is still a good start for a new character.
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on 20 January 2011
I read The Hanging Shed first, and then came back to read Gordon Ferris' first two novels, in sequence.

The first - Truth Dare Kill - is the introduction of a private investigator Danny McRae.

All the way through the book I had in my mind a concrete hold of the situation and absolutely loved the story and the relationships. I loved the double crossing and the crime/mystery. But all of that was no patch comparison to the last paragraph and indeed the very last line of the book.

It made everything instantly slot in to place and I spent a good half an hour afterwards going over everything in my mind and doing the good old penny drop.

Absolutely brilliant opener for the double hitter. You must read this first if you are to get the full experience from The Unquiet Heart. He references many things from this novel in it, and if you haven't read Truth Dare Kill, you won't get the added insight.

I am thoroughly enjoying Gordon Ferris' work. I just wish there was more of it.
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on 27 April 2011
I read one of the authors other books (The Hanging Shed), and enjoyed that so much I downloaded this one.

Well it didn't disapoint. Again, it is set just after the war (WWII)and there are some parallels to the The Hanging Shed, but it's a very good book in its own right.

The hero of the day is a veteran who can't remember 12 months of his life due to a wound he suffered in the war. Now he works as a private detective and is hired by a beautiful woman who has "lost" her lover. But as you would expect all is not what it seems and is his past life coming back to haunt him?

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll finish by saying that Gordon Ferris can write, and is an excellent story teller.
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on 7 February 2012
It took me a few pages to get into this, I realised I haven't read many first person narratives and it takes a while to get used to being inside someone's head. It takes some skill to write a book in the first person and this author manages it - you need to want to spend several hours in intimate company with the person, you don't need to like the person but they have to engage you and any inconsistencies would jar. In this case I did end up caring about what had happened to Danny McRae and how he might react as he started getting answers.

But to the book itself - post-war London is an area that has not been covered much in fiction or history and it's fascinating being taken into the world of weariness, grief and menace that was the lot of the victors of this particular war. It feels as though London and it's people are still trying to shake off the grey brick-dust from the bomb-sites.

The story had a good pace and avoided the trap that some crime fiction falls into of presenting too many red-herrings. The characters are for the most part believable although the relationship between two of them didn't quite ring true - unfortunately this relationship is crucial to the story (so I won't give any more clues), on the other hand the final twist explaining the relationship between Danny and the girl (you're right, I can't remember her name).

Certainly good enough for me to download The Unquiet Heart, another Danny McRae book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 November 2012
A very cleverly-plotted novel featuring war-torn hero Danny McRae who is struggling to make ends meet as a private investigator in post-war London. It gradually emerges that McRae had been imprisoned by the Gestapo having been caught on an operation for the SOE. As a consequence of the torture he suffered at the Nazis' hands he has completely lost his memory of the final year of the war, and he still lapses into brief periods that are completely blacked-out from his mind. Meanwhile, a new Ripper seems to be stalking London, brutally murdering prostitutes. McRae begins to fear the worst, and resolves to try to find out exactly what befell him during that missing year.
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