Smoke and Whispers

Overview

Praise for Mick Herron:

“Mick Herron never tells a suspense story in the expected way, which is why his new novel . . . reads as much like a puzzle mystery as it does a thriller. . . . Unpleasant things are bound to happen, and they do—but not until Herron has finished surprising us. . . . In Herron’s book, there is no hiding under the desk.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[A] masterful thriller. . . . The intricate plot, coupled with Herron’s breezy writing style, results in ...

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2009 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Signed by author. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 269 p. Audience: General/trade. Signed by the author ... on the title page. Brand New and Unread. First edition/First printing. Ships bubble wrapped and in a box. Read more Show Less

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Smoke and Whispers

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Overview

Praise for Mick Herron:

“Mick Herron never tells a suspense story in the expected way, which is why his new novel . . . reads as much like a puzzle mystery as it does a thriller. . . . Unpleasant things are bound to happen, and they do—but not until Herron has finished surprising us. . . . In Herron’s book, there is no hiding under the desk.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[A] masterful thriller. . . . The intricate plot, coupled with Herron’s breezy writing style, results in superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

When a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads to Newcastle for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zoë Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zoë kill herself, or did one of her old cases come back to haunt her? Why was she wearing a jacket a murderer had stolen years before? And what’s brought Sarah’s sparring partner, Gerard Inchon, to the same broken down hotel? Coincidence is an excuse that soon looks pretty unconvincing. Sarah can’t leave until she’s found the answers to her questions, however dangerous they might turn out to be.

Mick Herron is the author of four previous successful titles. Born in Newcastle and a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he has a degree in English. A resident of Oxford, Mick works in London on future novels.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this assured mystery from British author Herron (Reconstruction), Sarah Tucker, a freelance publisher who also raises ostriches, identifies a body dredged from the River Tyne in Newcastle as her friend Zoë Boehm, an apparent suicide. Tucker, however, doubts Boehm, who worked as a private investigator, took her own life, as the police believe. Instead, Tucker suspects that Boehm's demise was connected with her probes into Alan Talmadge, a creep who targeted middle-aged women and killed them in a way that looked like accident or suicide. Relying on her wits, Tucker takes over the search for Talmadge. She looks into a number of people of interest who were in Newcastle at the time of Boehm's death, including a gangster's son and a prominent businessman. While the climax won't surprise every reader, Herron does a nice job of planting red herrings and making his heroine's amateur sleuthing plausible. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569475645
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mick Herron is the author of five successful titles. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he has a degree in English. A resident of Oxford, Mick works in London on future novels and writes book reviews.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    Competently written, but annoying

    Smoke and Whispers begins well, with a woman's body being pulled out of the Tyne River under the watchful eye of DI Andrew Fairfax. There is a very nice set piece describing the Tyne River, and the city of Newcastle on Tyne after dark,

    All seems well for a satisfying read, if not for the victim in the river until Chapter 2. It turns out, the POV character is not DI Fairfax at all (so why introduce him?). Instead we get to follow, through 19 chapters, drama queen Sarah Bulter, who is the kind of person who expects the entire world to stop spinning while she has her daily tantrum, blundering about through her private emotional maze, which has only a passing connection with the world around her, insulting anyone who happens to be in her path.

    As a movie this might work, with some great looking actress as Sarah; but I am a reader, not a movie goer, and I want a little more than 19 chapters of Sarah's self-absorbed internal monologue. Her investigative technique seems to amount to yelling and throwing things until someone reacts.

    Plot details seemed contrived to me. Sarah happens to stumble into a bar where she encounters, of course, the matriarch of the clan who knows everyone in Newcastle--I do a fair amount of reading, and I have come across this one before.

    Mr. Heron has a good prose style, but I doubt I will read any more of his novels.

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  • Posted February 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A superb investigative thriller

    In Newcastle, England, a corpse is fished out of the River Tyne. Freelance publisher and Ostrich farmer Sarah Tucker identifies the corpse as her friend private investigator Zoe Boehm.

    The police assume Zoe committed suicide, but Sarah takes exception to that conclusion as the woman had a zest for life. Instead she believes Zoe was murdered in a way to make it look like she took her life. With the police seemingly contented with their conclusion, Sarah considers her late friend's inquiry into Alan Talmadge, who murdered middle-aged women but made their death appear to be an accident or a suicide. With the premise too coincidental, Sarah investigates who Talmadge is and if he killed ZoeThis probe makes her a target for suicide.

    The key to this superb investigative thriller is the ostrich farmer who comes across as a rare legitimate amateur sleuth as Mick Herron "sells" Sarah as a detective with a motive. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Sarah identifies the corpse and never slows down as she makes inquiries into her late buddy's last case, which puts a bulls-eye on her head. Although the climax can be seen clear across the Channel, SMOKE & WHISPERS is a fantastic English amateur sleuth.

    Harriet Klausner

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