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Scared to Live Hardcover – May 20, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339070
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,723,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two gruesome homicides preoccupy Det. Sgt. Diane Fry and Det. Constable Ben Cooper in Booth's ambitious seventh police procedural (after The Dead Place). In England's Peak district, Fry looks into a suspicious house fire that killed Lindsay Mullen and two of her young children, while her husband, Brian, escaped with minor injuries. Meanwhile, Cooper investigates the death of Rose Shepherd, a reclusive woman killed by an apparent sniper-shot through her bedroom window. Both cases yield few clues, and Fry and Cooper run into one dead-end after another. While the link that they eventually uncover between the murders of Shepherd and the Mullens and a notorious Bulgarian gang stretches credulity, Booth compensates with his energetic pace and memorable characters. Genre fans may find a subplot involving psychotic hallucinations clichéd, but few will be able to predict Booth's twisted conclusion. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Crime fiction for the thinking man or woman: powerful...poignant...and damnably hard to put down."—January Magazine

"A modern master of rural noir."—Guardian, UK

“Few will be able to predict Booth’s twisted conclusion.”—Publishers Weekly

From the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

A fast paced story with plenty of wrinkles.
The plot is as complicated and satisfying as ever with multiple characters drawn in great detail.
jon robards
Having read a dozen of the Cooper & Fry novels I can say this is in my top 2 or 3.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on July 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Scared to Live" marks the return of DS Diane Fry and DC Ben Cooper, the protagonists of this wonderful series by Stephen Booth. At the outset Diane is called to the scene of a fire which Diane by some instinct deems suspicious, though there is no immediate evidence to support that conclusion. A woman and two of her children have died in the blaze; the husband was not at home at the time and the daughter was at the home of her grandparents, so those family members were spared. Shortly thereafter Ben investigates the death of a middle-aged woman, apparently a recluse, shot to death by a high-powered rifle in the home where she had lived for the past ten months, with no sign of entry into the house. There are no clues as to who might have done it, much less what possible motive there could have been. The woman had been so alone and without human contact that her body had lain undiscovered for more than a day. These two incidents could not appear to be more different, one of three members of a family in a well-off rural community and the other of a middle-class `spinster' on an Edendale housing estate. But as the investigations proceed, it seems there might indeed have been connections.

There is a wonderful sense of place throughout the novel, with lovely descriptive prose enabling the reader to easily visualize the Edendale area of Ben's birth, the villages of the Peak District and the old mills once so prevalent there: "The back wall of the mill overlooked the river. Its five stories were full of windows--long ranks of them separated into pairs by stone mullions. They were spaced with Victorian precision, but so small and dark that nothing was visible behind the glass. Those windows stared out across the rushing water like blank eyes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the Peak District, Devonshire Detective Sergeant Diane Fry leads the investigation into a deadly fire. She knows that the majority of these infernos are caused by faulty wiring, but whenever a death like this occurs, CID checks into it. In this case, Lindsay Mullen died in her room apparently confused as to how to escape, and two of her young children Liam and Jack died in their beds while the family patriarch Brian got out with minor burns and smoke inhalation as he was trying to get into the house having not been there when the fire began; he is in Edendale General. A third child, an eighteen months old daughter is missing.

At the same time that Fry wishes Detective Constable Ben Cooper had the case as he understands children better than anyone at the precinct, he investigates the apparent sniper death of cloistered Rose Shepherd in her home during the early hours of the morning. Postman Bernie Wilding had stopped to deliver a package, but she failed to answer. His case is going nowhere as no one saw or heard anything. Unbeknownst to Cooper, a witness fails to come forward as Darren Turnbull was sneaking out of the neighbor's house and saw a big black car, probably Japanese stop and take off. Fry's inquiries also seem to go nowhere, but soon her investigation and that of Cooper connect.

Although the link between the Mullen fiery deaths and the Shepherd assassination is a stretch wider than the Atlantic, English police procedural fans will enjoy this fast-paced thriller that rotates investigations until they tie together leading to a fabulous final twist. The cast is strong especially the lead cops and their immediate police support teams. However, it is the cases that grip the audience as suspense mounts while the DS and the DC struggle with difficult investigations in their latest Peak District tale (see THE DEAD PLACE and ONE LAST BREATH).

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl A. Reynolds VINE VOICE on March 18, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
#7 Ben Cooper/Diane Fry police procedural mystery set in the Peak District of the UK. Two major cases are plaguing the local cop shop--a house fire that killed a mother and her two children, determined later to be arson, and thus murder, and the professional-style killing of a sixty-ish reclusive woman in a small neighboring village. No one really knew Rose Shepherd, as she'd moved in just 10 months previously and 'kept herself to herself' as they say. Her history and paper trail was very brief, but Ben Cooper knows if he can find out where the enigmatic woman came from and who she was, he will find a motive for her murder.

Diane concentrates on the fire, believing that if she can solve such a grisly, heart-wrenching crime, it will be a big feather in her cap towards promotion. Ben is in the beginnings of a relationship with a crime scene technician, Liz Petty, and also has to deal with his brother Matt's worries about the inheritability of schizophrenia, which their mother suffered from badly.

I really like this series--the author does a great job of setting the scene in the beautiful Peak District, and I quite enjoy Ben Cooper's character. Diane Fry bugs the hell out of me, but she is at least consistently done. The one thing that I find sets my teeth on edge is that the dialogue at times sounds stilted and unnatural, the characters using each others' names in conversation when they are the only ones in the room and could only be talking to each other, for example. Who does that?

But aside from that one flaw, Booth's stories always read and flow easily, although I figured the ending plot twist out about 2/3 of the way through so it wasn't much of a surprise.
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More About the Author

Stephen Booth is an award winning British crime writer, the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have appeared in thirteen novels set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.

Stephen has been a Gold Dagger finalist, an Anthony Award nominee, twice winner of a Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel, and twice shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. Ben Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author, and in 2003 the Crime Writers' Association presented Stephen with the Dagger in the Library Award for "the author whose books have given readers the most pleasure".

The Cooper & Fry series is published all around the world, and has been translated into 15 languages. The latest title is ALREADY DEAD, published in June 2013.

The series so far:

There's also a Ben Cooper novella:

In the USA, the new HarperCollins digital imprint Witness Impulse will re-launch the Cooper and Fry series in October 2013, starting with the first book, BLACK DOG:

Described as "Dark, intense and utterly compelling" and "Simultaneously classic, contemporary and haunting," BLACK DOG will be available in all ebook formats, including Kindle:

Witness Impulse will then release one or more Cooper and Fry novels every month until August 2014.

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