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The Company of Fellows [Kindle Edition]

Dan Holloway
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

"the plot rattles along at a great pace with enough twists to keep the most restless armchair detective guessing...add another cracking book the illustrious tales of this most murderous city. Do yourself a favour and pop into the shop to pick up a copy and enter the the dark, disturbing and at times depraved world of The Company of Fellows" (Review by Blackwell's Bookstore)

The Company of Fellows is a psychological mystery set in the dark heart of England's oldest University. The perfect read for fans of the Hannibal Lecter novels, Val McDermid, Minette Walters, Mo Hayder or P D James.

In June 2011, The Company of Fellows was voted "FAVOURITE OXFORD NOVEL" in a poll by the world-famous bookstore Blackwell's and the paperback was given a window and front table display.

Tommy West was a brilliant academic, until a breakdown stopped him in his tracks 12 years ago. He has reinvented himself as a successful interior designer. His new life is comfortable, in every way, and safe. But life without the intellectual challenge is slowly suffocating him.

Charles Shaw is a world-famous professor of theology and sensualist: unpopular with all his colleagues, loathed by his ex-wife and, as of five minutes ago, dead.

As a student, Shaw was Tommy’s mentor. Now Tommy must draw on the professor for inspiration one more time in order to find his killer. But all he has to go on are a handful of papers for the controversial research the professor was working on when he died.

The unspeakable truth about the Professor's death lies buried in the past: somewhere between the night his daughter was born - and her twin sister stillborn - and the day Tommy broke down. But for Tommy the past is a dangerous place, a long way from the safety he has so carefully built for himself. Can he find the answers before time, and his sanity, run out?

Product Details

  • File Size: 3201 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,579 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing content -- not for the squeamish November 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm giving this two stars because it was very well written, otherwise, I'd give it only one.

I admit that I'm squeamish and have a vivid imagination. Some of the descriptions in this book, I really wish I had never cast my eyes on. I ended up flipping through and skimming to the end, skipping largish chunks, because I found it so disturbing. Most of the characters were beyond unlikeable, but were downright repellent, but that wasn't what I found such a turn off. The worst bit, I cannot repeat here or even hint at what it was, it was so repugnant and nauseating.

I don't read only cozy mysteries -- when in the right mood, for example, I also can enjoy Jonathan Kellerman, whose books often deal with uncomfortable and dark subject matter -- but this book was, for me, off the charts in terms of how disturbing it was. YMMV, as they say.

The book may have many merits which my disgust has erased from my memory. If you would like an accounting of the book's virtues, read some of the 4- and 5-star reviews.

I deleted it from my device and from my account.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling June 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I know Oxford and was looking forward to reading this. I was not disappointed.

Tommy West is not like you or me. He's better than us on so many levels - intelligence, deductive reasoning, erudition, taste and incredible physicality. He does have one characteristic that mitigates all those rather unbelievable talents and turns him from some sort of superhuman figure into someone we can sympathise with.

Dan Holloway has created a memorable character in Tommy. Someone who fights his demons, who struggles to stay on the right side of sanity, who almost cracks under pressure. Tommy's inward battles run alongside murder, academic integrity - and the lack of it in some instances, and a complex plot which continues to surprise right to the end.

Other reviewers have mentioned gut-wrenching descriptions in the story. I read those parts, too and they were extremely disturbing. I'm not sure the most depraved and grisly descriptions actually added anything to the story. I found them slightly out of kilter with the rest of the narrative and could have enjoyed the book just as well with something a little less disgusting.

The extreme content in one part and far too many typos and mistakes stop this from being a five-star read for me.

Even so, I'm looking forward to the sequels - and hope for a more comprehensively edited offering next time.


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery with a psychological edge April 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dan Holloway's Oxford based thriller `The Company of Fellows' is a bit more than just a murder mystery. It delves into the psychology not only of the principal players in the drama but into the psyche of the city of Oxford itself.

The main character, Tommy West, lost his opportunity to become an academic because of his unstable mental health. When he is drawn into investigating the circumstances of the death of his mentor, Professor Shaw, he is forced to open old wounds not just for himself but for others which threatens the precarious balance of his own personality.
The stories of the various characters in this book are revealed slowly as they deal with this crisis in their lives. There's Emily, Tommy's long-lost love who is now a cop; Professor Shaw's daughter Becky, who draws Tommy into his quest; Professor Shaw's enigmatic wife and a number of erstwhile colleagues. As Tommy follows a murky trail the situation becomes darker and more dangerous. Some of what he learns about the people he has known for years is shocking and it's all Tommy can do to keep his head from unravelling.

One of the things that really drew me into this book is the detail. Oxford itself is a character in this story. You can tell the author knows the place, knows its nuances, its airs and graces and its seamier side. Then there's the meticulous description of cooking a grouse, stories about wine (posh wine, as the author has averred) which is bound up into Tommy's personality as he concentrates on the task at hand to keep the hounds of insanity at bay.

The reader is kept guessing through a series of twists and turns throughout the book. The tension builds inexorably so you have to keep reading to find out what happens next.
I really enjoyed the book. I expect I'll read it again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging; harrowing; satisfying April 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
It begins so quietly, this novel. So unostentatiously. Granted, there are two corpses in Chapter 1 - it is a murder mystery, after all - but there is little, at first, to indicate that The Company of Fellows is anything other than just another detective story set in Oxford, following in the well-worn footprints of Morse.

The writing is a good deal better than Colin Dexter's, which is to be expected. But in other respects the early chapters came as a surprise. For Dan Holloway is a tireless and selfless champion of alternative, edgy, indie writing (some of it, it must be said, a long way removed from his own literary calibre). Yet here he seems to be embarking on something more mainstream - an honest to goodness murder mystery, a thumping good read which manages to remain thought-provoking, told with flair, panache and insight.

It isn't that simple, of course. Holloway's calm, unemotional prose draws you along until you find yourself enmeshed in a harrowing ethical dilemma. And here it does get edgy, in content if not in style. The reader will need a strong stomach and colossal control of their own emotions to read beyond a certain point, but, despite the enormity of his subject matter, Holloway handles it with sensitivity and humanity. Moreover, he is not being gratuitously scatological: he has a reason to go where he does, though not every reader should be expected to go there with him.

There are many different Oxfords, in literature as in life. One suspects this particular Oxford, with its blend of rarefied collegiate life and thriving alternative culture, would be more familiar to Sergeant Hathaway than to either Morse or Lewis; certainly Holloway himself is very much at home there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twists and turns
This is a thought-provoking book with a complex and interesting protagonist. I've read some reviews from people who said the subject matter made them squeamish; I don't really... Read more
Published 13 months ago by doodlegirl
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better
I found the premise engaging and wanted to like this psychological novel more than I did.

Unfortunately, the descriptions of the Oxford community are more developed than... Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by John R. Lindermuth
3.0 out of 5 stars The good and the bad
The Company of Fellows is a thought-provoking book. Dan Holloway did a very good job of developing a plot which is far different than other crime novels I have read. Read more
Published on December 21, 2011 by SRMyers
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow-paced pretension
This edgy (a despicable sex act is mentioned) mystery was ruined by the pages of redundant details that had very little bearing on the story. Read more
Published on October 1, 2011 by Bun
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Thrillers of the Year
This is a mystery/thriller with a decided dark, psychological edge. Fans of Hannibal Lector and Silence of the Lambs will enjoy this one. Read more
Published on September 22, 2011 by James A. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars The ethics of pleasure
Almost a travelogue of Oxford University, complete with the intrigues and egos of the intelligentsia, this complicated story of death, divorce and desire leaves little to the... Read more
Published on July 17, 2011 by Patricia Hester
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel
Dan Holloway is a very talented writer with an endless stream of incisive and deep insights into the human condition. Read more
Published on June 29, 2011 by Pete Morin
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
As other reviewers have pointed out this is an intelligent literary thriller. The structure is sound, if a little linear, and it does hold the interest. Read more
Published on June 22, 2011 by Cuba
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Oxford Crime Novel...
I thought I'd try this book after enjoying the same author's great literary book Songs From The Other Side of The Wall. Read more
Published on May 29, 2011 by J. Everington
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