London, 1940: The Luftwaffe blitzes London every night for 57 nights. Houses, shops, and entire streets are wiped from the map. The underworld is in flux: The Italian criminals who dominated the West End have been interned, and now their rivals are fighting to replace them. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, the Black-Out Ripper sharpens his knife and sets to his grisly work.
Henry Irving is a disgraced reporter on a Fleet Street scandal rag. Genius detective sergeant Charlie Murphy is a fresh face in the Metropolitan police, hunting corrupt colleagues but blinkered by ambition and jealousy. His brother, detective inspector Frank Murphy, searches frantically for his runaway daughter, terrified that she will be the killer's next victim.
As the Ripper stalks the terrified streets, the three men discover that his handiwork is not quite what it seems. Conspirators are afoot, taking advantage of the chaos to settle old scores. The murders invade the lives of the victims and victimizers on both sides of the law, as everyone is sucked deeper and deeper into Soho's black heart.
Based on a little-known true story, The Black Mile is a roller-coaster ride of an audiobook.
©2014 Mark Dawson (P)2014 Mark Dawson
"A talent to be watched." (Birmingham Post)
"This is far and above the best small/independently published novel I have ever had the pleasure of reading." (The Kindle Book Review)
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This is my 12th Mark Dawson novel. The Black Mile is as well written as the books in the John Milton series and the Beatrix Rose series, but the subject matter is not as interesting to me. The Black Mile is a police thriller set in London in the early 1940's
I highly recommend all of Mark Dawson's books. Also, I wish that Audible would make all of the Beatrix Rose series available in audiobook format.
"WOW! A great crime story set in the 1940s"
I just finished Mark Dawson’s The Black Mile and all I can say is WOW! I wasn’t sure what to expect at first with this book, since it was a different genre from the other books of Dawson’s I had read (the Beatrix Rose series). There are many things I love about this novel.
First – the actual story is compelling. Too often authors are so interested in creating an action packed thriller that they forget that a compelling, believable story is also required. No amount of action takes the place of a good story. Mark Dawson did an awesome job of carefully introducing you to each of the characters, establishing their particular thread of the story, then weaving it all nicely together. Each of the characters’ threads are interesting and I quickly began wondering how all of these characters related to each other. The story moved along at the right pace as the separate parts of the story came together.
Second – the language. The story is set in World War II and Mr. Dawson did an excellent job of using language, word choice, etc. and it made me feel as though I was reading actual news accounts of what was happening in the story. In many cases I found myself enjoying how well written the story was as much as the story itself. I can’t say that about many books I read these days.
Third – The suspense, tension, and twists in the story. For a book set in WWII, I didn’t expect to be at the edge of my seat. Although the pace in the story is reflective of life in the 1940s, I was surprised at how much tension the author was able to create….and what was revealed at the end took my by surprise.
Finally, the narration of the story was great. The narrator’s voice was easy to listen to and I could generally tell the difference between the characters. The only challenge for this narrator was creating convincing female voices. Maybe next time the addition of a second narrator for the female voices would make sense.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Do yourself a favor – Read it!
"Great setting for a story."
I enjoyed this book. I particularly liked the setting of the story: London during the blitz. Great story line and characters. I wish some story lines had been completed. I hope the next in the series will pick up these story lines. Great work Mr. Dawson.
"History and Drama"
The story line was great and the historical background of WWII created a sense of reality.
The audio brings the book to life with the regional accents of the various characters.
While this was not a WWII book the background of the conflict interacting with the story line was very interesting.
"A change of pace from my favorite new novelist"
I usually listen to nonfiction, not fiction, on audiobook, but among the audiobook novels I've listened to, this is the best.
Not sure I had a favorite, but I identified the most with Charlie Murphy, his jealousy and ambition.
This is the first.
Dawson is my favorite new novelist, but I prefer his contemporary spy novels, which is why this was a change of pace for me. I do love historical material also, but I'm not ordinarily a noir fan - so I was surprised I liked this one so much. I would definitely recommend this book to others, not just Dawson's spy novels.
"Marlowe Meets London"
I've read the book before I listened to the audiobook. The one think the audio does bring to the table is atmosphere. The narrator actually sounded like a British Philip Marlowe and created the Noir-like feel of the story.
The characters are well written. They felt real to me. Also, I didn't know the book was based on a real series of events. Once I knew this, the story felt even more real. Add to this, the blitz and the blackouts were scary to imagine.
The only difficulty I had with the story were the many headlines at the beginning. They read so quickly, and like newspaper reports, that I felt I had to go back just to understand what was going on.
Other than that, a great mystery with many twists and turns.
"A Brilliant Drama Thriller"
The Black Mile is a brilliant novel. Dawson weaves in and out along a series of developed and developing characters. He gives you a story that intrigues you, then tugs at you, then grabs you and drags you through to the very last paragraph. As soon as the story ended, I wanted to start it again just to pick up on the little details he left all throughout the work.
great new series. I love the narrator and Mark Dawson's story line. can't wait to listen to the next books.
"Awesome book keeps you guessing"
This book made me feel like I was there. The end has me scrambling for the next book in the series.
"based on fact"
Most definitely. It was fast paced and very interesting.
The description of the murder scenes made you feel like you were there watching.
Mr. Gill added an extra touch of authenticity with his accent especially when he used what I assume was a Cockney lilt. He made it seem so real.
Bring history to life
This book has everything, prostitution, crooked cops, family problems and murder. Mark Dawson wrote a fabulous story and Brian J Gill brought it to life.
"Better than the rest!"
Yes, It is an enthralling story. To get a deeper involvement with he story
Being at the murder scenes
London before the Krays was more deadly
The idea base of this story is very good and well written, you feel you are in those dangerous times.
Mark Dawson writes well and this book is no exception, the reader will be captivated by the storyline and
empathise with certain characters while recoiling in horror from others.
I found the story fascinating, the fact it is based on a true story is amazing, and, adds to the gritty realism of those dark days.
Thoroughly recommended reading, a far better writer than certain thriller writers who are household names.
"I really wanted to like this book but..."
Crime story lovers who aren't concerned with historical accuracies.
Charlie, obviously but Frank, being the misled innocent got my sympathy.
To be honest, 2/3 of the reason I didn't enjoy this book was the narration! Gill's pronunciation was nothing short of awful! He really didn't get the basics, never mind the subtleties of the Queen's English; talk about two nations divided by a common language! To pronounce Asquith as "Areskithe" and to flick between the long and short "A" in bath in the same paragraph was inexcusable. Too many more to list...
The story-line was good; bent cops and masons could have been stale, but it was a good story.
There were a number of historical inaccuracies that spoilt it: Plastic buckets!, plastic bags on the victim's hands! Tape fingerprint lifting, (1950s at the earliest)
"Poor reading style fails to cast light on the blac"
I was given a copy of this audio version of The Black Miles , in return for an honest review.
I was excited to receive this audio book as I had previously read and enjoyed Mark Dawson's atmospheric police thriller set in war torn London. My mother was a true born Eatender and grew up there, acting as a fire watcher when the bombs fell. I wasn't born until near the end of hostilities but grew up with the destruction very evident around me, the still vacant bomb sites, the street shelters and, of course, my parent's stories. The book catches the general feel of the period well and incorporates the street slang of the time so adding to the colour. The book is also cleverly constructed with news bulletins to help drive the plot. This works well on the written page but, sadly, fails when narrated mostly because of the reading by Brian Gill.
I assume that the idea was to replicate the dipped tones of the 1940's newsreaders. If so, it completely failed. Instead, the narrative was harsh, poorly spaced and there were some strangely pronounced words to add to listener discomfort, such as 'beryl' instead of 'barrel', small details which became big irritants as the book progressed The dialogue, on the other hand, was well performed but was insufficient to make up for the stilted, poor narrative between conversations.
I found it very hard to finish listening to the audio version. Mark Dawson is a talented author and well worth reading. But buy the written version to absorb the atmosphere and enjoy the story.
"Mispronunciation spoils entire story."
Names of places and common words alike suffer and it detracts from the content. The author has, however, tried hard to get vocabulary of the period right.
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