- Paperback: 220 pages
- Publisher: Reality Asylum Books (September 4, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780971867314
- ISBN-13: 978-0971867314
- ASIN: 0971867313
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,334,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dial 999 Paperback – September 4, 2010
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Propelled forward by the distinct voice of the book's tenacious hero, Dial 999 succeeds as a mystery on all points and sets the stage for what should be an intriguing series. --L. Alsonso, The US Review of Books
A cozy mystery this is not, but if one wants to travel back in time to feel the edgy intensity of London at the height of the punk scene, this book is pitch perfect. --Rachel Jagareski, ForeWord Clarion Reviews
Gritty. Edgy. Authentic. Dial 999 is a fantastic breakout novel for Hyacinthe L. Raven. --Andrew McAleer, ed. of Crimestalker Casebook, author of The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists
From the Author
This is the first book in the Jon Hunter Mysteries series.
Here's my favorite pre-release reader review of the book:
H. L. Raven's first Jon Hunter novel is a blistering crash course into London's late seventies punk sub-culture. The story opens at a party in a squat. When a junkie dies, our transatlantic record stall employee finds himself taking on sleuthing duties that the police are unconcerned with. The mystery deepens and friends of Jon's get sucked into the vortex in between seeing incredible punk shows. If you didn't catch the Buzzcocks in their youthful glory, Raven has recreated a ringside seat for you. The action is tense, the characters alive and the dialogue crackles. My mother (who lived in London at this time) was amazed at the authenticity of speech. There's a new voice in town and she's created a new genre: punk noir. If you care about the punk scene or love a good mystery, put the kettle on and pick up this novel. But be warned, Raven leaves us wanting more: more of Hunter's philosophical quest that sees him so far from home, more of Máire's Irish past and more mysteries to resolve. By turns dark, funny, dangerous and sweet, 'Dial 999' has me longing for the next installment in this projected series.
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It's excellent genre fiction using a rather unique angle to create a mystery that needs to be solved. It had me fooled and I like to think I can unravel most plots. The indication is there that this might form part of a series, I will certainly look out for the next one. Nice job by Ms Raven.
The plot bubbles constantly and it was impossible to predict what would happen next - which is always important to me. I'd really recommend this.
Some of the reviews I've seen of Dial 999 seem to kind of miss the point. The first, and most important, thing to know about this book is that it's a mystery novel. Nothing more, nothing less, and more to the point, it doesn't try to be. This is straight-up genre fiction. If you walk into it expecting Cormac McCarthy (or Joyce Carol Oates), you're going to be disappointed. Genre fiction, by and large, is plot-driven rather than character-driven, and this distinction is writ large in mystery oftentimes; pick up any ten books published in the last decade by Five Star, Poisoned Pen, Leisure's mystery line, etc. etc., and you'll be able to level the same criticisms at them. It's like attacking Ed Lee novels for having too much gore--you can do it, but why bother? All you're doing is letting the people who are looking for gore and/or fast, plot-driven novels know that this is where they want to go for their next fix.
Set in London's burgeoning punk scene in 1977, Dial 999 is the story of Jon Hunter, an American expatriate who's fallen in with a group of ne'er-do-wells. They hold jobs during the day that give them just enough money to buy punk records and drink heavily at night while listening to them, and all is right with the world--until some of those on the fringes of the group start dying of heroin overdoses. Suspicion is immediately focused on the homeless, possibly schizophrenic dealer who supplies the harder-core folks, but when a woman who's never used drugs before is found overdosed, Jon, his girlfriend Mary, and their two closest mates decide it's time to take matters into their own hands.
The action starts off fast and gets faster as you go along; the book only knows two modes, full speed ahead and stop, and somewhere along the way it loses the brakes. This isn't a criticism by any means; if you're looking for a book that will keep you awake turning pages, look no further. I finished it in two sittings. Yes, some character dimensionality is sacrificed along the way in service to the breakneck pace, and I do wish there would have been one more clue dropped towards the beginning of the book as to the killer's identity (to be fair, there may be one I missed, but I don't recall seeing anything), but overall it's as good a mystery as you'll get from the bigger mystery-only imprints. The subtitle hints that this is the beginning of a series, as do a couple of scenes towards the end; I'm looking forward to book two. ***
The plot revolves around a group of friends living in 1977 London, and is told from the point of view of an American expatriate who gets caught up in a series of mysterious deaths and very dangerous incidents, and takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of things.
"Dial 999" provides a fresh take on the classic "whodunnit" tale while also offering a glimpse at the punk scene of the 70's. Rich with detail and you-are-there action, the writing brings the era to life even for readers who may be unfamiliar with the subculture.
The story is immediately engaging and will keep you guessing until the final, suspenseful moments. I found it nearly impossible to put this book down, and kept sneaking in time to read a bit more whenever I could! I highly recommend "Dial 999" to fans of mystery & suspense stories, fans of classic punk, and anyone who appreciates a good read.
Dial 999 grabbed my attention from the first page....but I could not figure out "who done it". Very intense.