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The First Cut: A Novel of Suspense Paperback – September 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006073535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060735357
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Martha Browne is a woman with a mission--to exact her revenge on the man known as the Student Slasher, who brutalized her and left her for dead. With a suitcase full of disguises and a partial memory of her attacker, she sets out on an odyssey that takes the reader into her mind and weaves past and present in a tense, intricate narrative that builds in suspense until its shockingly violent denouement. This reissue of one of Robinson's early novels, The Final Cut, which was never published in the U.S., shows the promise of an author (Close to Home) whose command of his craft was fully realized in his subsequent books; until his next new title is published, this haunting psychological thriller should keep his dedicated fans busy. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

A university student in Northern England is the first to fall prey to the "Student Slasher" in this intricately constructed, stand-alone novel of suspense and revenge, originally published in the U.K. as Caedmon's Song. Robinson, author of the Inspector Alan Banks series, tells the parallel stories of Kirsten and her path to healing ("It was inside where most of the damage had been done") and Martha Browne, an author who arrives in seaside Whitby on a mysterious mission. Kirsten's story is told in past tense, moving from the attack forward to the present, and alternates with chapters about Martha settling into a B and B and determinedly going about her deadly business. Robinson's plot is one of slow revelations—subtle details begin to explain Martha's actions and Kirsten's mental and physical changes—offered with a masterful sense of timing. In the latter part of the book, Susan Bridehead joins the others; the three women then weave together the disparate strands of Robinson's plot. Characters and author alike are interested in matters of the intellect: quotes from Coleridge, Yeats and others abound, and knowledge gained in Kirsten's linguistics class supplies the chief clue that brings the women together in a battle with the killer at the knuckle-biting end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Peter Robinson's award-winning novels have been named a Best-Book-of-the-Year by Publishers Weekly, a Notable Book by the New York Times, and a Page-Turner-of-the-Week by People magazine. Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire but has lived in North America for over twenty-five years. He now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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The characters are well drawn and the plot moves at a good pace.
Amazon Customer
Such a depressing novel that I couldn't finish it: too many books and too little time.
Carol Tillis
It wasn't hard to figure out the ending about halfway through the book.
avid mystery reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This, the fifth novel by Peter Robinson, was originally published in England as Caedmon's Song. It is not part of Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks series but is a suspenseful psychological study of a young university student, Kirsten, who is brutally attacked and mutilated and must start her life over again with a new, darker perspective. Interwoven with Kirsten's story is the story of Martha, a mysterious young woman who arrives in Whitby, on the Yorkshire coast, intent on a grim pursuit of her own.

Gradually the two story lines converge in a fascinating narrative pattern. This is a haunting psychological suspense story that is difficult to put down. The author is a master of describing the Yorkshire scenery, here leaving behind the dales of his earlier novels to depict a brooding and picturesque coastal town that previously inspired Bram Stoker while he was writing Dracula.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
A young final-year English student is viciously attacked and left for dead by her assailant in a deserted city park as she is walking back to her flat from a end-of-year student party. There are practically no clues and the victim has little memory of what happened. Peter Robinson creates here a wondrously psychological and suspenseful tale of one woman's attempt at trying to put the pieces of her shattered life back together and her quest for revenge.

This novel is rich in detail. Normal families and tourists are contrasted with the victims whose lives will never be the same again. Mr. Robinson makes the Yorkshire coast come alive. One can taste the bad food that England is famous for. His attention to detail is beautiful. There are "orderly riots of roses." A character's [Keith's] eyes "really were a sharp blue, as if he had spent so much time staring into blue skies and oceans that they had taken their color from the water and air." And Robinson describes the moon as "almost three-quarters full. . . It seemed to float there like an incandescent jellyfish just below the water's surface."

Mr. Robinson artfully weaves together the stories of three women-- Martha, Kirsten and Susan-- into a page-turner climax, and makes interesting observations along the way on Thomas Hardy. It's obvious-- at least in this case-- that revenge is often neither pretty nor precise, but oh, so final.

You'll read this novel in one sitting.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By SDRTX on October 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
THE FIRST CUT is an early work from Peter Robinson sans Alan Banks. It is a psychological thriller that alternates the narrative between two surviving victims of "the Student Slasher", a serial killer who brutalizes female university students in a grisly manner. This is tightly woven, suspenseful story of revenge told in tandem from two perspectives until they merge for a satisfying climax.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an absorbing, intelligent psychological thriller. I appreciate the fact that much of the story unfolds in "real time." It isn't just a cut-to-the-chase type of tale. You sit watching, waiting with a character as she sits alone, looking out the window of a dingy tearoom. This pacing allowed me to be there - to be her.

Which leads to another exceptional quality about this book. The author is a man, yet remarkably, he doesn't stand outside his female characters, appraising them, making them stand as models on parade before the reader. He empathizes with his female characters; he walks with them; he inhabits them. This is unfortunately a truely rare ability among male mystery writers - or, for that matter, male writers in any genre.

The First Cut is the first Robinson mystery I've read. But you can be sure I'll be tracking down all of his other titles.
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By Bryan Ibbotson on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed ths book and realized half way through that I had read it before . Good lord if I carry on like this I will be able to hide my own Easter eggs. please tell me I am not the only one to do this with books.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An ambiguous and terrifying story of a young woman who survives a horrific attack by a sexual deviant. The description of her injuries is chilling and will continue to disturb some readers even after the book is concluded. it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Once I understood the arc of the story, I was totally hooked. The characters are well drawn and the plot moves at a good pace. If you are old enough to remember the time before instantaneous and immense streams of real time information, you will be fascinated by how a crime and criminals might be unresolvable. And you might be surprised at how you feel about that.
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By Nancy G. Hutchison on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Robiinson is one smooth writer. Reading his series is like drinking your favorite coffee drink, it tastes good and goes down so easy. I recommend this author and this book.
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By Clue on September 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not feel this was as good as I expect from Mr. Robinson. Don't get me wrong, this is a good read, just not 5 star stuff.
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