Audio from The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell

Recently, I received an email from someone at Audible.com:

I saw your great review of THE SEVERED STREETS and I wanted to make sure that you are aware that the book is also available as an audiobook from Audible Studios. I’d love to offer you a clip from the audiobook to post on the website alongside the review as multimedia content for your readers.

Seems like a good idea to me! I wasn’t aware that they had the book — but if asked, I’d have guessed they did — what don’t they have? Still, it sounds like a good idea (and hey, she called my review “great”). I added it to my review, but thought I’d throw it up, here, too. Seems more likely that people would see it.

The Severed Streets was one of my favorite books last year (see my review, and my 2014 Honorable Mentions), and I’d strongly recommend you trying it.

Anyway, here’s the clip, sounds pretty good to me. If you’re an audiobook person, listen to the sample. If you’re not an audiobook person, you still might want to give it a try — maybe you’re an audiobook person but don’t know it.

Some Honorable Mentions of 2014

The Day of Lists continues:

Here are the books I wanted to include on my best of, but something kept me from it.

Honorable Mentions should go to (in alphabetical order):

He Drank, and Saw the Spider (Eddie LaCrosse, #5)He Drank, and Saw the Spider

by Alex Bledsoe
My Review
You could substitute Wake of the Bloody Angel here. This series has long-surpassed the gimmick of a hard-boiled detective novel in a generic fantasy setting. Pigeon-hole it however you want, it’s just a good book.
4 Stars

The Lives of Tao (Tao, #1)The Lives of Tao

by Wesley Chu
My Review
Despite the buzz around this, I wasn’t sure I was terribly interested — nor did I really know what to expect. So, so glad I took the chance. A barrel full of exciting, gun-blazing, snarky fun.
4 Stars

Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark FantasyBad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy

by Harry Connolly

My Review
I’m not normally a short story reader, but more collections like this might make me one. Different types of fantasy, all well written, even in the stories that aren’t my cup of tea I found something to enjoy.
4 Stars

The Severed StreetsThe Severed Streets

by Paul Cornell
My Review
Audible.com has provided a sample of the audio book version. Give it a shot, I’m betting 30 minutes won’t be enough.
I was impressed by the first in this series, London Falling, but this kicked it into a different gear. It’s about London as an entity as much as it is about these characters and their opponents — it’s dark, twisted and a little hopeful. Some fine writing here.
4 1/2 Stars

The Intern's Handbook: A ThrillerThe Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller

by Shane Kuhn
My Review
Hyper-violent, comic commentary on corporate cultures with heart. Or something like that.
4 Stars

The HumansThe Humans

by Matt Haig
My Review
Haig’s got this gift for making us look at ourselves with the oddest type of outsider. Ultimately, I realize I’ve read and watched this story before, but I was either finished or nearly finished before I had that insight. Either way, didn’t care, because no one had told it like this.
4 1/2 Stars

The Westing GameThe Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin
My Review is forthcoming
I’ve sat down to write the review of this one I don’t know how many times. I read this dozens upon dozens of times as a kid — loving the characters, the story, the strange little puzzle. And then walked away from it for decades. Reading it this summer was a wonderful blast from the past, and although I felt like I could recite the thing en toto I couldn’t, it still filled me with joy. Not just for nostalgia’s sake, either. This was probably one of my 3 favorite reads of the year, but it felt like cheating to put it on the main list, so here it is.
5 Stars

LandlineLandline

by Rainbow Rowell
My Review
A marriage on the rocks, a career on the brink, a magic telephone and Rainbow Rowell’s charm and heart. What more can I say?
4 1/2 Stars

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple
My Review is forthcoming
First book I finished in 2014, and it’s stuck with me the whole year — even as I struggle to write a review. A strange, impossibly strange and entirely believable world, populated with people I’m convinced could exist — and maybe do. I don’t know what else I can say about this (probably explains the year delay). It’s good. Funny, heartfelt, tragic.
4 Stars

The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell (Updated)

Update: A representative of Audible.com, emailed me to ask if I’d like to post a clip from the audio book with this review. Sounded like a good idea to me (no pun intended). The sample’s at the bottom of this post, give it a listen.

The Severed StreetsThe Severed Streets

by Paul Cornell

Hardcover, 416 pg.
Tor Books, 2014
Read: June 11 – 14, 2014

This Cornell guy can write.

I’m tempted to let that be all I say about this book. Won’t be (because I can’t help myself), but it’s tempting. The other thing I’m tempted to do is copy and paste the first three paragraphs of my London Falling review to start this one — I am a little annoyed to see that I spoke so much about the Bryant & May Peculiar Crimes Unit series last time, because the comparison really hit me repeatedly as I read this book. I hope neither Cornell or Fowler mind that comparison.

Straightaway, Cornell creates a world rich with atmosphere — the his depiction of the tension on the streets of London is visceral, and then when the first murder occurs, you start to wish for something a little less visceral. And that’s in the first handful of pages. Once the focus turns to the team of detectives, it takes almost no time at all to immerse yourself again in this world (one that I honestly was a little fuzzy on when I picked up the book, remembering everything about these characters took a page or two back with them). There’s a bit more esprit de corps amongst them now then when we left them in London Falling, they’ve spent more time together, are more familiar with each other — and, if nothing else, realize that they share something that no one else in the London Police does.

Now they’ve got their hands full, seeking a vicious killer that only they can see. One that seems to have connections to a popular protest movement (think the Occupy movement, but with masks) and maybe to Jack the Ripper. Add all those things together, and you’ve got yourself a real mess. To that, add multiple conflicting goals on the part of Quill and his team, a looming police strike, an overly-inquisitive media mogul, a meddling Security Service, and a city on the verge of riot — and you’ve got, well, I don’t know exactly what it is, but the word “mess” no longer can describe it.

This early in a series, I don’t have any strong emotional connection to characters — particularly in this series, which (to me) seems to lend itself to a distancing between reader and character. But when one of the team makes an unthinkable sacrifice, I realized that distance didn’t exist anymore for me, and I had to put the book down for a brief moment to think about what I’d just read. But I couldn’t keep it down for long and had to pick it up quickly — only to be hit with something worse not that long after.

Which is not to say that this whole novel is an emotional wringer, there’s more humor, more hope intrinsic to this book than its predecessor, while it doesn’t lose any of it’s edge. The celebrity cameo was hilarious in a book not typified by hilarity of any kind. And then it became more than a cameo, which was pretty cool — and then it became, brilliant. I mean, truly brilliant. And I really can’t say more about it than that without violating all sorts of my spoiler policies.

I want to say more about this book, and maybe I’ll come back and revise this later, but for now I’d better leave it at this or it’ll never get done. The Severed Streets is one of those books that will make you want to cancel plans, so you can spend more time with it. From the unnervingly impossible assassination at the beginning to the truly disturbing final sentence, and almost every point in between, this is a killer book — gripping, suspenseful, with no punches pulled on any level. Please let there be more of these soon.

—–

4 1/2 Stars