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on 31 August 2014
When the story start, you fear the worst but Simon Hall soon has you back inside his sense of 'normality!!' A well constructed plot from this talented author. Only let down - very minor, proof reading could be better.
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on 19 January 2013
I really enjoy all of Simon Halls books. It has probably got a lot to do with the fact that I live in the area and can picture and relate to the area he writes about . This being the case I love trying to solve the clues and the banter between the TV crew, I also love El (sleazy character he is) !!!
Looking forward to the next one!
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on 27 February 2013
A little bit like those wishful daydreams that we all had in our youth but interesting to see the local area through someone else's eyes.
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on 1 October 2010
Another intelligent and intriguing novel from Simon Hall, full of so much pace that you won't want to put it down and will want to read each page faster than the last to find out what happens next. I was up until 2.15am to finish it.

If the paragraph above makes you think "that's the kind of story I like" .... this is the book and writer for you.

Simon has developed the main characters of Dan Groves, Adam Breen, Dirty El, Lizzie, Claire etc to quite a high degree in the previous novels and in this book he does not spend quite so much time on the character description. This is not a criticism as it allows the plot to move with alacrity from one jaw dropping moment to the next.

The overall descriptive of the South West locations remains detailed and accurate and certainly helps to draw the reader into the novel, especially if you know the area.

The two `spooks' characters are beautifully created and maintained as cold, calculating individuals and the reader is left in no doubt that they are not as inclusive with their `assistance' to Wessex Police as they could be.

Simon tackles some pretty major issues in this novel and not in a superficial way. The `hot' topics of terrorism, extremists, radicalisation, immigration and the security services are inter-woven throughout the story and tackled with some detail.

The private life of Dan Groves is again intriguing and laced with a certain `black humour' which seems to come direct from the novelist himself perhaps? The arrival of the somewhat mysterious Sarah Jones is intriguing and I wonder if there is more to come from that character?

Overall another very enjoyable and cerebral book from Simon and I found it most enjoyable indeed.

Ps. Simon, it is an offence under section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act to cause any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to be taken by a dog. Max penalty is 6 months imprisonment and a £20k fine. I think Oscar could have a nasty surprise coming!!??
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on 29 September 2010
Simon Hall's latest in the series of The TV Detective is a first rate book. He has come a long way from his first, The Death Pictures', a fast-paced novel that flows inexorably, much like the Thames through its 45 weirs between its source and the North Sea.

The Balance of Guilt feels more like a white water ride.

The story of the bombing of Exeter's Minster tumbled, flared, fired and flamed. Unconscious Dan Groves is a carefree passenger on the train of dreams. I've only read the Prologue and, already, the horses that are my eyes are ignoring the taut reins, waiting to gallop pell-mell to the finish line. I wrote that on a Saturday afternoon. I'm writing this on a Monday evening. The finish line came quickly.

The narrative is relentless. We meet our old friends again. The humour breaks and one-liners are reminiscent of Raymond Chandler. Mr. Hall's 'brushes with sex' are more assured. There are sufficient red herrings to keep a fishmonger in business for a good while. I had to get in with that 'cos Hall's metaphors and similes are pretty damn good!!!

When FX5's Oscar and Sierra are introduced, because of the international implications of the bombing, alarm bells rang. I feared that Hall might be tempted to make it like any number of American films where the antagonism between a local Police Department and the FBI tends to be overplayed and flimsy. But I think it was beautifully penned, very much in a British way and the more real for that.

Good books are like a memorable meal; hours to the plate and minutes to the stomach.
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on 20 July 2011
I have read every one of Simon's books and I did comment on the first one that I felt his style was slightly clumsy and stilted. Whilst I would not dream of claiming responsibility for his continued improvement (!), this knocked spots off the previous novels. Gripping narrative, accurate descriptive passages - I found it very difficult to put it down and can't wait for the next adventure.
Well done, Simon.
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on 4 October 2010
Simon Hall's television reporter Dan Groves is up to his neck in trouble. A suicide bombing, a redical Islamic plot & a secret service cover up. These are just some issues he has to deal with, in addition to his own complicated private life.
Having read all Simon Hall's previous novels I expect a lot from each one...and he always delivers. This one is fast paced & full of real characters & believable situations. Hall's ability to create suspense is outstanding. The Balance Of Guilt has more tense moments in that than other writers achieve in an entire series of novels. While Alfred Hitchcock is the cinema's master tension creator, Simon Hall is surely the master of literary suspense.
The blame for the bombing in The Balance Of Guilt appears black & white, but Hall shows (as in real life) it's a very grey world we live in.
His plot twists & characterisation are as solid as ever. However, it is his honest & highly readable style of writing that make this another superb novel in the TV Detective series. May there be many more.
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on 14 January 2011
I was really looking forward to reading this book because I enjoy reading thrillers and this one is set in my beloved Devon. In the end I only finished the book so that I could feel legitimised in writing a review.
Simon Hall is a correspondent for BBC South West and is known for his slightly unusual and halting delivery. The hero of this book is a correspondent for BBC South West, and Simon Hall's prose is also rather halting and staccato, with many short sentences - many of them without a verb. In other words, the prose doesn't exactly flow. There are passages which I just could not read, particularly the mawkish episode where the hero's dog is ill - a passage which would be better suited to a Mills and Boon publication.
The hero is arrogant, childish, and convinced that the general public are desperately waiting for his next pronouncement on topical events.
The scenario is not invented - it is based on actual events in Exeter in the recent past - but the relationship between the hero and the police is totally unbelievable. All the breakthroughs come from the hero while the police are made to look inadequate. Furthermore the hero is permitted to assist the police with their enquiries into a matter of national security. Oh really?!!
Sorry, but if this is the best of Simon Hall's novels I certainly will not be reading any others. I first gave it two stars because one star just seems a little vindictive - but on reflection, one star is plenty.
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on 5 November 2010
This is simply great fiction. For anyone who has read the TV dectective before, this latest from Simon Hall is another brilliant serving of the adventures of Dan Groves and his partner Adam Breen. The plot begins with an attack on a landmark building in the Westcountry, and anyone who knows and loves Devon will smile as they recognise elements of an event which occurred in the not too distant past. Then you will be off and away with the story, its twists and turns surprising, delighting, and definitely keeping the pages turning quickly!

I agree with other reviewers who say this is his best yet.The book is chunkier than previous works, and this adds to its success, combining the main plot with the long-running story of Dan's personal life in just the right amounts.Can't wait for the next one!
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on 2 November 2010
Simon Hall's writing gets better and better. His latest work in the TV Detective series, The Balance Of Guilt, is a fast paced thriller and gets to the action right from the word go. I'm sure this series would make great TV too, especially with Simon Hall's in-depth characterisation, which describes not just the main protagonists but the supplementary cast as well. The Balance Of Guilt plot twists kept me hooked from start to finish. I can't wait for the next one to be published!
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