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on 15 September 2012
Loved it! This is the third book I've read by Ben Cheetham now, it left a shiver down my spine well worth the money.
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on 25 February 2013
A good read - best recommendation I can gives that having read this book I will look out for more books from the author.
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on 26 December 2011
I enjoyed Blood Guilt- but I couldn't get past the first few pages of this one although I will give it another go. I was put off by the hybrid American/ Englishness of it, which made it difficult to work out whether it's set in the US or UK. Plus, I found the dialogue between the protagonist and his best friend forced and trying too hard to be teenagery. A shame as the plot sounds interesting and I'm sure I'd've liked it.
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on 11 October 2011
Julian has very bad nightmares, well he calls them nightmares but they seem more real than that; more like premonitions. He sees himself rape then murder a teenage girl and can feel the sexual pleasure he gets from this. Julian, a college student, is pretty much screwed up and can't sleep for fear of the dreams returning and terrified that he may actually be the person he becomes in his dreams. Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hide, eat your heart out!

Way back in his childhood (enter mad granny) Julian inadvertently walked in on one of granny's seances and saw gran in full flight; glazed eyes, deep voice, saliva dribbling down her chin - enough to scare any wean! Now that he's older, he fears that he has inherited some of granny's talents for finding murdered girls so when a young girl in his hometown vanishes, Julian can't keep away and becomes entwined in the nasty goings on of small town life that are usually swept well underneath the carpet.

Great story form Mr. Cheetham, well told, fast paced and engaging. Julian discovers that adults aren't always what teenagers believe them to be in this coming of age tale.
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on 29 July 2012
I find it astonishing that this book is written by the author of 'Blood Guilt', which was a brilliant novel, well written and fast paced. By contrast I found The Society of Dirty Hearts a terrible read, I only finished it because I kept thinking that it must get better - it never did.
The main character of Julian wasn't likeable or believable and few of the other characters held water either. The whole storyline and particularly the relationships between Julian and his parents/ex-girlfriend/friends were completely unrealistic and the ending left a whole bunch of loose ends.
I can't recommend this to anyone and am baffled by the inconsistency of the author - hopefully he will return to form with his next novel.
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on 27 August 2011
In this novel, Ben Cheetham has mapped out a large cast and some interesting locations for his profane little morality play. How do you know there's trouble brewing in this town? Well, the fact that the bar is called "The Cut" and you got people running around with the last name "Butcher" should be your first clue. Julian, our protagonist on the cusp of manhood, is surprisingly complex; less than sympathetic some days, occasionally petulant, the random act of heroism, but always utterly human. Some dead-on descriptions ("Face as intense as a knife cut" and my favorite, the simple, but effective "You smell like a fire") make this quick read more memorable, too.

There is an unabashed earnestness and melodrama that comes with stories of adolescence (even one as brutal as this), and this is no exception. But these tendencies are countered by sheer force of narrative, and a genuinely creepy and interesting tale.
Also, I'm not the biggest fan of dreams in fiction, but here they're used as a bit of detective work, which justifies their inclusion.

So, yeah, don't trust the description "a small town where nothing much happens." This town is an abattoir, and Cheetham's David Lynchian descent into small-town secrets was satisfying. Definitely recommended for fans of psychological horror and throwbacks to the salad days of `80s paperbacks.
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on 6 July 2012
Like most of the other reviewers on here, I bought this after having read and enjoyed Blood Guilt and felt quite disappointed.

I found the story engrossing at first but gradually lost its draw and felt the ending was very weak and left far too many loose ends.

It also didn't read right geographically or in tone. It is set in the UK but there are far too many Americanisms throughout the book that I ended up confused and had to go back and check. Also the main character is 19 but doesn't read like it, the maturity of the character seems to change page by page, wavering up and down wildly.

I couldn't recommend this book to anyone, but will watch out for more by the same author as hopefully this was a one-off.
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on 22 March 2013
I finished this just simply because I had got half way through and wanted to see how it ended. Predictably is one word I'd use. It starts off well introducing you to the characters but as the book goes on, the main charatcer (Julian) just gets irriatating and becomes an older version of Kevin the Teenage from the Harry Enfield TV show. Usual cliche of rich boy given everything and not happy with it, Dad who has (gasp) mysterious secrets, mother (dying) whose only wish is for her son and father to "bond", local copper who is a bit too friendly (think Hot Fuzz) and goth teenager who just cant deal with being her. Boo hoo.

The story starts off on an interesting premise (seance) and then quickly gets rid of that and goes into a semi twilight "boy meets girl but boy cant have girl because of mysterious reasons they dont know which leads to boy being an arse for all of the book", through star wars (the character introduced towards the end of the book is sooooo the emporer its unture and even says that he wants to see Julians "dark side" via a teeny bopper romance with the cute girl next door who still oves him despite her being treated like rubbihs by him all through the book.

Lazy and uninteresting; the story is written entirely for shock value (prostituion of under age girls) but onlt scratches the surface which suggests why make the story about it in the first place? Disappointing and not worth reading.
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on 16 January 2013
From the beginning this book had me hooked, it's one of those that has you trying to do things one handed so you don't have to put it down. All the right mixes of suspense and surprise, although I had pieced together parts of the puzzle there were bits that had me guessing right till the last. When you've finished this one, if you haven't already, I recommend reading his other novel Blood Guilt which is equally as intriguing as this one. My only problem now is I need you to write another book Mr Cheetham !!
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on 16 March 2012
Having read and hugely enjoyed Blood Guilt, I was really looking forward to this but was very disappointed.

The plot demands complete suspension of disbelief and the characters really aren't believable. The American slang really grated on me as did the almost Tourettes level of swearing - was the author on a bet as to how many times you can cram the f word into one novel?

I won't be in a hurry to read another Ben Cheetham unless he recovers his Blood Guilt form.
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