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Harm

Narrated by: Annie Aldington
Series: Rina Walker, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Acapulco, 1974: Rina Walker is on assignment. Just another quick, clean kill. She wakes to discover her employer's severed head on her bedside table and a man with an AK-47 coming through the door of her hotel room. She needs all her skills to neutralise her attacker and escape. After a car chase, she is captured by a Mexican drug boss who exploits her radiant beauty and ruthless expertise to eliminate an inconvenient member of the government.

Notting Hill, 1956: Fifteen-year-old Rina is scavenging and stealing to support her siblings and her alcoholic mother. When a local gangster attacks her younger sister, Rina wreaks violent revenge and murders him. Innocence betrayed, Rina faces the brutality of the postwar London underworld - a world that teaches her the skills she needs to kill....

Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie's Poirot and the Duke of Wellington in Sharpe. His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman's Contract and Clint Eastwood's Firefox.

In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth'n'Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also narrated many of Agatha Christie's novels as audiobooks. Harm is his first novel.

©2015 Hugh Fraser (P)2016 Aduible Studios

What listeners say about Harm

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    5 out of 5 stars

One girl's tragic story, amazing writer & reader

Rina Walker's life is anything but happy. What she has survived has made her the strong woman she is today. And what she has survived is really quite dreadful.

Told in the First Person Present as it happens, the setting swings from 1956 to the 70's between chapters in a manner that keeps everything neatly able to be followed.

What is told of some of these dreadful events are done so without emotion, without salacious detail and as almost matter of fact.
The characters are strong, the dialogue consistent and the story quite compelling.
The narrator's voice is ideal for this story - very listenable and she is composed and controlled but the reading flows naturally.

Not a light hearted book, and no happy endings. But well written and I will gladly purchase the next one to find out what Rina does next.

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  • bec
  • 10-12-2016

So good I've already bought the second in series!

Review
I loved this story!
It isn’t often that I get so deeply immersed in a story so quickly. Half-way through the first chapter I knew I’d find it hard to stop reading, or, in my case, listening ….

Rina, beautiful, strangely compelling Rina, discovered that the reason for her abduction was because the drugs lord needed her to kill an enemy. His logic for choosing Rina was because of her ability to attract men and, of course, her job skills. Her pay off would be generous but would she live to collect?

From then on there follows an amazing adventure made all the more hairy by Rina not knowing who she can trust …

The story moves between 1974, Rina’s adult years and 1956, when Rina was fifteen years old and caring for both her siblings and her incapacitated mother, they were living a desolate and demeaning hand to mouth existence. People did what they had to do in order to make life a little more tolerable, Rina, at fifteen years old, committed her first hit.

The story is utterly compelling from the very beginning to the very end, the characters are vibrant and diverse, and the writing style is clean, uncluttered and flows beautifully.
The vivid descriptions of the living conditions endured by the poor are quite moving: the over crowding; the unsanitary conditions and the ever present fear of eviction.

It’s the use of the parlance of those times and the inclusion of little details which adds both authenticity and flavour to the story. Not many people have to “pull the chain” in the lavatory these days, and certainly nobody has to deal with the old telephone kiosks with their button A and button B.

The story stayed with me long after I finished it, wondering how Rina came to be that person who kills for money, the bigger question though is how on earth did the author get me to be rooting for her!


Narrator
Narrated by Annie Aldington, a renowned British actress and voiceover artist. Her talent is obvious from the very start of this high quality recording. For me, one of the most important qualities of a good narrator is the ability to produce well differentiated and consistent characters, a talent that Annie has in abundance. I also admire her ability to portray emotion - or lack of - in her characters, there no overacting here. Excellent job which added to my enjoyment of this book.

(If this review is helpful to you I would appreciate it if you mark as useful)

Source: Own copy purchased from Audible Australia

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-08-2017

A compelling story

Three cheers for Rina! She makes the best of the situations in which she finds herself. Yep, this one will have you sitting in the parking lot, not wanting to click "pause."

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  • SCOTT
  • 19-07-2020

Captain Hastings sheds his good guy persona.

Pretty sure most authors could write a story like this. Sure, some of the backstory was poignant but the gratuitous sex, rape and violence are merely thrown together in search of a meaningful tale. And you can almost feel when Fraser hits the writers block wall cuz time and again someone will show up throwing indiscriminate bullets around that remove the literary obstacles so the heroine can proceed. And he makes sure to check all the PC boxes- every single adult male character (except perhaps the gay one in the the end) is odious. Every one! And only sapphic love is meaningful. Truly cardboard characters that are paper thin. It just feels to me like Fraser is desperately trying to divorce himself from the clean-cut image of his signature character. It's a shame because I feel like he has the chops to do that without churning out a nihilistic gutter tale.

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  • ~Cariad~
  • 26-08-2017

Brilliant!!

I loved this audiobook - LOVED!

My God, housework was never so much fun before audiobooks - these days it'd be impossible for me to even contemplate trying do stuff around the house without one on!!

Straight into what will hopefully be a terrific book 2, I mean one can't really go wrong... gangland London (I literally used to live a couple of streets away from the main streets in the book - and that's always fun to read!), a lesbian contract killer with a dysfunctional family life and history, dual time periods of her young self and Rina now through alternate chapters, starting in the 50's and moving forward through time (a really interesting way to have written it) and the hope of a HEA for Rina - whichever way she swings - is all good for me!!

THEN!!! Add ANNIE "The Dog's Bollocks of Narration" ALDINGTON to the mix and OMFG a whole other level of AWESOME is reached *sighs happily* ...it doesn't get much better than this friends!

3 people found this helpful

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  • KJ Monty
  • 09-06-2017

Nonstop action

Phew what can I say I'm exhausted from listening to this book, it's really nonstop and even though the heroine is actually a murderer I can't help but like her, have downloaded the second book and can't wait to listen.

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  • Teodor Tsekov
  • 16-05-2020

I'm definitely buying the next in the series!

It takes fine skill to have a male writer create a first person female character.

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  • Suzy GM
  • 21-03-2020

Very enjoyable.

I didn’t think I was going to like this book as I’m not keen on a cockney accent but the story was intriguing and so I carried on. I must admit the narration was superb and was quite taken with the main character Rena. Overall well worth reading.

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  • Street
  • 03-09-2019

Different

You'll either like it or hate it - boys own action to the nth degree but with a female "heroine" murderess who goes from one deadly encounter to the next - OTT for sure, often confusing but still strangely enjoyable helped in no small way by the usual excellent performance of Annie Aldington

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  • FELICITY GAINARD
  • 26-09-2017

Lost interest

Found this hard to follow and abit boring ! Only thing kept me going was the amazing Annie aldington queen of narrators , brings any story to life no mattter how boring . Still I don't think I will bother with the next book .