The Blood-Dimmed Tide
Rennie Airth

Review of Book

I have to be quite honest and say that, after looking forward to the second part of the John Madden trilogy for so long, I eagerly devoured the book with a growing sense of disappointment. It wasn't just that the main characters were exactly the same as in River of Darkness, but that they were all far too chummy and cosy with each other. And not only was the plot very similar, but the nature of the crimes and their perpetrator all seemed to be following the same format.

But then, about half way in, the story splits into a direction all its own and it becomes a good old-fashioned ripping yarn, set largely in the Surrey countryside, on the trail of a serial child-killer. As you're taken back into the world of that time you become an observer in the conflict of interests between Scotland Yard and the murky world of pre-WW2 British Intelligence. The tension becomes palpable as Rennie Airth builds up to the next attack until Madden, retired from the Yard for 11 years by this time, is drawn inextricably into mortal danger in the terrifying conclusion. After my initial misgivings, all in all it's a darn good read!

Review of Nat's Reading
This is a much more cohesive abridgement than RoD and so none of the essence of the plot has been lost. Within literally the first two minutes of listening to Nat's reading my unease at the way the story had started was completely dispelled. The first thing that strikes you is the faster pace to RoD and Nat's whole reading sounds more confident, stronger and more full-bodied and richer somehow. The fluency of his reading, as ever, is exquisite and the whole thing is just a beautiful piece of work. Full compensation for the 18-month wait since his last audiobook!

Madden sounds less haunted and grumpy but Nat still conveys his gnawing anxiety and sense of guilt over the case. One or two of his other 'voices' bear more than a passing resemblance to his Artemis Fowl characterizations - the "dim bulb" of a young PC could pass for the whingeing Grub Kelp and Will Stackpole sounds very like dear Foaly! This is just very endearing and certainly no criticism - perish the thought!

Published by
Macmillan Audio Books
ISBN 0333904966
Available on cassette only
Running time 3hrs 20m mins approx

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