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The Black Mile

Soho Noir Thrillers, Book 1
Narrated by: Brian J. Gill
Series: Soho Noir, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"This is far and above the best small/independently published novel I have ever had the pleasure of reading." (The Kindle Book Review)
"A talent to be watched." ( Birmingham Post)

What listeners say about The Black Mile

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    2 out of 5 stars

cant believe this it the same author

I can't believe this is the same author as the John Milton and Beatrix Rose series that is of the 'can't-put-the-book-down' or 'can't-stop-listening to the audio because it's so addictive' category.
Also I don't know what the narrator was trying to achieve, maybe getting into the 1940 s.? But it was very monotone and I couldn't listen past chapter Nineteen.

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  • David J.
  • 06-02-2015

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!

5 people found this helpful

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  • john
  • 15-10-2014

History and Drama

Would you listen to The Black Mile again? Why?

The story line was great and the historical background of WWII created a sense of reality.

What does Brian J. Gill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The audio brings the book to life with the regional accents of the various characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

While this was not a WWII book the background of the conflict interacting with the story line was very interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 06-08-2015

Excellent novel

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ann Keeran
  • 11-11-2014

based on fact

Would you listen to The Black Mile again? Why?

Most definitely. It was fast paced and very interesting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Mile?

The description of the murder scenes made you feel like you were there watching.

What about Brian J. Gill’s performance did you like?

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.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Bring history to life

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-09-2014

Marlowe Meets London

What did you love best about The Black Mile?

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.

What did you like best about this 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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MoTheThird
  • 22-08-2014

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Duane K. Laflin
  • 17-07-2020

I wanted to like it, but couldn't finish it.

I am a Mark Dawson fan. I really wanted this book to be great, but it wasn't. It is rare that I purchase an audio book that I do not listen to all the way through, but I gave up on this one. I don't understand the other good reviews. What did they see that I did not? Frankly, I wondered if they might be biased. I would have thought I am biased toward Dawson too, but I still cannot give this book a good review. It seemed as if this might be something Mr. Dawson wrote early in his career, before he mastered story-telling skills. The story is hard to follow. I could not figure out who the main character was, nor if there was a main character. The tale jumps back and forth between different people and their points of view in a way that makes the plot difficult to follow. There is a strange emphasis on newspaper reports that makes things tedious at times. Anyway, I love Dawson's work and truly am a fan. I highly recommend his other work, especially the John Milton series. So this was a big disappointment.

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  • Rob
  • 10-05-2020

Great story, problematic reading

The most annoying thing about this book is the bad pronunciation. The book is littered with them, which a good producer should have picked up. It certainly spoiled my enjoyment.

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  • Whirlpool
  • 24-09-2019

wrong narrator for this book

The narrator struggled with the Brit accents and vocabulary. Maybe a more careful editor would have pointed out the inconsistencies in the pronunciation of "viscount" and "shone".

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  • Sean Bellinger
  • 18-07-2019

Best Mark Dawson Yet

Great period piece. Gripping story against the backdrop of the Blitz. I enjoyed the peformance thoroughly.

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  • Benjibutton
  • 29-11-2014

Better than the rest!

Would you listen to The Black Mile again? Why?

Yes, It is an enthralling story. To get a deeper involvement with he story

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Mile?

Being at the murder scenes

Which character – as performed by Brian J. Gill – was your favourite?

Charlie Murphy

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

London before the Krays was more deadly

Any additional comments?

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • John Grimbaldeston
  • 04-01-2018

Strangulated vowels!

Enjoyable story and an excellent evocation of a period, despite the odd anachronism, but trying to work out the nationality of the narrator becomes a distraction. Accents are generally well done suggesting that Mr Gill has an ear for the way people speak, but in his ordinary speaking voice he must be copying someone like Loyd Grosman as he distorts the language horribly. If a word has an "o" in it he tends to elongate "ooooorange," the "r" in Berwick" is stressed so it becomes "Burrwick," and I didn't realise "Arrskeith" was actually "Asquith" until I read these reviews. I found myself shouting in frustration at this verbal mangling: the chap needs a voice coach or something, or to get out on to the streets and actually listen to people. Incredibly irritating!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline Munday
  • 07-07-2017

Good story but hard to follow...

I love Mark Dawson books especially the John Milton Series but I'm sorry the pronunciation of some words drove me mad and I nearly gave up!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 28-06-2017

The first Mark Dawson flop for me

I've loved Mark Dawson's other works, but I'm giving up on this one half way through.

The main reason is Brian Gill's narration, which is close to the worst torture of spoken English since Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. His mispronouncing of simple words and misreading of phrases has made it unbearable to continue.

The story also seems to have historical inaccuracies, such as the use of plastic sheets and bags to wrap bodies in a story set in WWII London.

Very sorry to have to be so critical, but I'm going to be much more cautious picking new series from old favourites in future.

4 people found this helpful

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  • D H POWELL
  • 24-04-2015

I really wanted to like this book but...

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Crime story lovers who aren't concerned with historical accuracies.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Charlie, obviously but Frank, being the misled innocent got my sympathy.

What didn’t you like about Brian J. Gill’s performance?

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...

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story-line was good; bent cops and masons could have been stale, but it was a good story.

Any additional comments?

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)

3 people found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 05-03-2015

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jenette Hale
  • 06-10-2017

The most unintelligible narrator EVER!

I have never, in 20+ years listened to such an awful narrator!
Viscount Asquith, he pronounces.. get this!
Viz-kont As-kith! CRETINOUS
That's one of around 25+ repeated mispronunciations..
English CANNOT be his birth language!
If it is? Then I've been thinking & speaking Esperanto for the last 50 years!
Are there no audio editors?
I'm disgusted!!
Should a publisher sell a printed book with as many stupid howlers in it they'd be laughed out of every bookshop on the planet!
P.S.

I'm getting a full refund!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Hayward
  • 19-09-2020

Never will listen to another book narrated by Brian J Gill!

Poor and inconsistent try at an English accent, many places wrongly pronounced, even for the period in which the story was set. Many reading mistakes. All the above interrupted concentration on the story, to the point where it has now taken 4 weeks of effort and re-listening to get to where I have given up! Mark Dawson is one of my favourite authors but I shall never buy another audible book if it involves Brian J. Gill!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Street
  • 01-03-2018

Disppointing

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Afraid not, annoying and erratic narration with mispronounced words and muffed phrasing which only served to make a poor story even worse.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

Mark Dawson started well with the John Milton series but they got a bit "samey" towards the end, the Beatrix Rose series were poorly written and seemed to have been churned out for the sake of it.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 18-02-2016

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.

1 person found this helpful