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The Lonely Dead Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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Praise for The Straw Men: 'Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun in the world of the suspense novel, along comes one hell of a nasty spider call The Straw Men. It's brilliantly written and scary as hell. Be the first on your block to stay up all night with this one; it's a masterpiece, reminding us that even paranoids really do have enemies.' STEPHEN KING 'A staggering, suspenseful journey through the darkness of American crime ! succeeds in revitalising the serial killer novel with assured gusto! A new beginning for a major British writer, whose crime debut instantly moves him into the Thomas Harris division' Guardian 'Brilliantly plotted, stunningly written ! I read this in one go ! if this isn't a hit, I am a monkey's uncle. And I don't think I am'. Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Michael Marshall is a full-time writer. His novels include The Straw Men and Only Forward, and he also writes short stories and screenplays. Two of his earlier novels written under the name of Michael Marshall Smith, Spares and One of Us, have been optioned by major Hollywood studios. He lives in North London with his wife.
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Ward Hopkins, ex CIA agent, is a man with a secret past, and he is determined to confront the murderers of his parents and trace the whereabouts is his lost brother Paul “The Upright Man” a deranged serial killer. His parents had been murdered by a group that his father had belonged to 35 years earlier...”the Straw Men, and believed themselves the only portion of humanity uninfected by a virus promoting social conscience above the cold-hearted individualism they believed inherent to our species. Whether they genuinely thought this, or it was just a convenient cover for acts of violence and depravity, was not clear.”
John Zandt, former LA homicide detective has his own special agenda for seeking out The Upright Man, an enforcer under the auspices and protection of The Straw Men. His daughter Karen was brutally murdered by him, and he seeks revenge whatever the cost. Adding to the intrigue is Nina Baynum, FBI agent, and former friend and lover to John Zandt.
What makes for a good thriller is the author’s ability to capture the reader’s attention from the first page and to retain that enthusiasm throughout a multi layered tour de force journey straddling the coasts of America. What on the face of it seems like a complex novel is made eminently readable by a very direct and approachable writing style. I found myself richly involved in the storyline whether that was in the cold mountain forests of Washington State, the Verona logettes of Bill and Patrice Anders, or the corridors of the Seattle Fairfew hotel where “Miss Katelyn” the night manager meets an unexpected intruder with murderous intent. This second book in the trilogy also imparts a little history on The Straw Men and it seems their ancestry reached back many hundreds of years..”The Straw Men were here back in the 1500’s? Get real. They were here long before that. They got here first, Ward. They stole America from the locals four thousand years before anyone else knew it was here”.
This is truly a wonderful read, a thriller with elements of the supernatural, and a storyline that pulses excitement and thrills at every page. The ending when it occurs is perfect and leaves the setting poised for the third and final instalment. If you only read one thriller this year let that story be The Lonely Dead...of course I am presuming you have already enjoyed its predecessor The Straw Men. Highly highly recommended!!
John takes a bit of a backseat in the unravelling story. His character is darker this time around, as he works more from the shadows. Drawn into it by seemingly unrelated murders, Nina's helped along in her search by Ward. How she manages to keep her job I don't know. There are always a lot of people willing to keep things quite (not in my world).
As the book reaches its conclusion, some characters die, others exposed for whom they really are. I never did get the bit about the `mythical creatures' or the herbs, maybe something to be explained in book three. The ending wasn't as final or satisfying as `The Straw Men'. More questions are answered, particularly dealing with Paul's background and early childhood, yet other major characters lay stagnant. Like the ending of a chapter, you eagerly turn the next page. In this case, buy the next book.