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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2012
The Chill of Night is the second of Hayman's novels to feature Detective Mike McCabe, and follows him as he tries to solve the mystery of a frozen body found dumped in a car parked in Portland's docks. After days of struggling for evidence, a witness is found - Abby Quinn, a young woman with a background of mental illness. However, her evidence is dismissed due to her medical history, and she disappears. As the various strands of the case come together, it becomes a race against time to find Abby before the killer does.

It is a solid novel, but unspectacular, not really pushing the boundaries of the genre. McCabe is likeable but not particularly original - a former NYPD detective who studied at film school, before leaving to join the force. His film background means that there are plenty of references to cinema - at times he defines the world in similarities to films and actors. It is also an enjoyable, and well-paced read, managing to maintain balance as the action moves from chases to calmer moments of police procedural, where witnesses are interviewed. Yet the plot seems to hang slightly on coincidence: although Portland is regularly touted throughout the book as a small community, the victim, witness and all of the suspects all know each other. This is surprising only because they come from very different walks of life and their jobs bear no relation. It becomes a stretch, and I felt that the ending was hard to believe because of this.

Another minor issue is that background information is given to introduce the characters for those who haven't read Hayman's previous novel, but it seems this is taken almost verbatim from his first novel, and the repetition of passages becomes irritating after reading The Cutting. McCabe's background and family history is fleshed out slightly more in this novel, but otherwise it does not tread new ground in this respect. The books have a rough chronology, with the events in The Cutting happening a year or so before Lainie Goff's murder, but readers need not pick up one book before the other - they work just as well as stand-alone novels.

Overall, The Chill of Night is an enjoyable thriller and a quick read, but there isn't much of a wow factor - it doesn't add anything new to the genre. Contrary to the previous reviewer, I thought that The Cutting was a lot stronger and had a more cohesive plot, and would recommend reading this first.
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on 7 September 2012
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed James Hayman's first novel, The Cutting, I was really looking forward to this book - I was disappointed! The book didn't really 'get going' until the final few chapters .... long winded and sorry to say it boring. :(
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on 14 July 2013
It’s winter in Portland, Maine and DS Mike McCabe has been called out to a particularly unpleasant case where a beautiful young attorney has been brutally murdered and left to freeze in the trunk of her own car. The murder was witnessed by a young schizophrenic (Abby Quinn) who, when she reports what she has seen, is not believed because she has a history of hallucinations and attempted suicide. A second murder occurs and MM must find the killer before he strikes again. So far, so good - if a bit formulaic. I got the feeling early on that JH was attempting to write a ‘film noir’ (his background is TV and Film) but it just didn’t hang together.

Backstory: Recently divorced, screwed up and world-weary, Mike McCabe is a good-looking thirty-something detective sergeant. He likes a drink. He’s in a relationship with a beautiful young artist who is reluctant to commit because of his job. Uh-huh. OK, it’s a genre – but the trick is to pull it off.

Plagiarism is both the curse and the saviour of the writer. To be an effective writer we must read – a lot. It therefore stands to reason that when we are affected by a piece of good prose we can, often years later, believe we have temporarily been visited by brilliance, and claim it for our own. It’s true, of course, that more than one person can come up with the same thought, idea, design etc independently of another, which is why the copyright laws are so complex but to model one’s central character on someone else’s is a mistake. There are too many parallels with Lee Child’s hero, Jack Reacher.

Eg: McCabe thinks in old songs (with which we are regaled until it becomes irritating), with Reacher it’s numbers. Child likes to give detailed descriptions of place, so with Hayman. I won’t go on but read a Jack Reacher novel and you’ll see what I mean. Then there’s the unbelievable dialogue, along with Lainie’s friend Janey and the two policemen called Will and Bill ..... McCabe, we are told, is known as ‘The Lone Ranger’ – he almost lost me there. Then we have a character doing something in two places at once and someone else saying something she hasn’t been told. Where was the editor?

To be fair there is some good writing here, Abby Quinn is an interesting character who should be developed further and it’s certainly a page-turner. But sadly we don’t care about the murdered Lainie Goff and the suspects have too many things in common; grey hair, similar ages, glasses – and just over half way through I guessed who the perpetrator was. I like this genre but it has to be believable – and for me, this just wasn’t.
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on 31 October 2012
I really enjoyed the first novel of Hayman featuring McCabe (the Cutting) So I decided to buy the second settlement. It is a good book with a good storyline. There is a good mix between the murder story and the personal life of the main protagonist. You get to learn a little bit more about McCabe.
The only 2 things I would criticise are:
- not enough gruesome details and murders.
- you guess who is the murderer about half way through the book

But it s still an easy reading and enjoyable novel
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on 18 January 2013
Similar to Stuart McBride,with funny bits throughout, twist in the end.,Am looking for other books written by James Hayman. Do like a thriller.
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If you like police procedurals this is a good solid example. It follows the the hunt for the murderer of an upscale lawyer. The main characters are very normal and likeable, it is well enough written to keep you turning the pages and the plot is fairly intricate although I guessed whodunit about half way through. I enjoyed it enough to sit up late and make sure my guess was correct. I will read the next in the series.
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on 20 August 2013
Picked this book at random and glad I did. It is a really good read and I just want more of this author. As a crime novel it is excellent and the as the story unfolds I didn't want to stop reading. Would recommend to any crime book lover. It covers investigation, pathology and family insights of the main character. All in perfect propotion.
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on 9 April 2012
If his first book was excellent, the second one is exceptionally; truly unexpected turns of actions and characters, and a very exciting ending; sensationally description of the characters ,really detailed, beautifully finished touches.
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on 16 July 2013
A great second thriller from James Hayman. Mike McCabe is a likably flawed character who has been burned by his first marriage and as a result is a bit of a commitment-phobe, especially as he is in many ways 'married to the job'.

The book has a good plot and a well-drawn main character. I would have given the book five stars but I guessed who the killer was well before the end of the book!
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on 13 July 2013
it was good but not perfect,a bit unrealistic that all the police depts work 24hrs a day without a break,the author gets a lot of tension into the plot and the reader is kept in suspense almost to the end. I will look forward to reading more from James Hayman
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