*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Can you hear it?
A professor of psychoacoustics is found dead in his office. It appears to be a heart attack, until a second acoustician dies a few days later in similar circumstances.
Meanwhile, there’s an outbreak of mysterious illnesses on a council estate, and outbursts of unexplained violence in a city centre nightclub. Not to mention strange noises coming from the tunnels underneath Liverpool. Can it really be a coincidence that death metal band Total Depravity are back in the city, waging their own form of sonic warfare?
Detective Inspector Darren Swift is convinced there are connections. Still grieving his fiancé’s death and sworn to revenge, he is thrown back into action on the trail of a murderer with a terrifying and undetectable weapon.
But this case cannot be solved using conventional detective work, and D.I. Swift will need to put the rulebook aside and seek the occult expertise of Dr. Helen Hope and her unlikely sidekick, guitarist Mikko Kristensen.
There’s something strange in the air in Liverpool.
People are falling mysteriously sick on the Napier housing estate, with no obvious cause. People are packing out Lumina nightclub and yet there’s something very wrong when they dance. It is all bothering D.I. Darren Swift, who finds himself permanently on edge and uneasy, whilst also trying to deal with the loss of his fiancé and his conviction that criminal-turned-businessman, Shawn Forrest, is to blame. These real but vaguely-defined troubles fade into background noise however, as two cases take centre stage in the detective’s life: the court case for a series of murders that culminated in the kidnapping of his now-friend Dr Helen Hope; and the strange and unexplained deaths of local acoustic experts.
This book is the third in the Reprobation series (following Reprobation and Consuming Fire) and there are lots of references and connections to plots and characters from the previous books. That said, I do think this can be read as a standalone too, as I had not read books 1 and 2, yet still managed to easily pick up what I needed to know as this plot played out.
Catherine Fearns expertly balances the tone of the book between paranormal or occult horror and mundanely-explainable police mystery, to create a sinister murder story with many clever layers to it. The reader can almost choose the explanation that most suits them, as the author weaves between the fantastical and plausible, leaving her options open.
Obviously the main theme here is ‘sound’ and the book is infused with it. Noises, sounds and auditory events sing, hum and screech on every page. I found myself fascinated by the concepts presented and hyper-aware of all of the background noises of my own urban life that I normally tune out automatically: traffic hum, passing planes, squabbling gulls, a distant alarm, washing machine, television and the neighbour’s dog barking. I became unnervingly conscious of the persistence of such input and how very terrifying it would be if that was turned against us, by nature (synaesthesia) or by design.
Sounds is a well-written, gripping police-procedural mystery with engaging characters and a creepy sub-story. Definitely a series to watch for occult crime fans!
On the Napier housing estate, there is a sense of intangible yet profound unease. There has been for weeks, perhaps months. There’s a bad vibe here. Even the least paranoid amongst the residents can no longer deny it, can no longer avoid the possibility that they are going mad. There’s something in the air, or the water, or the ground. Too many people are sick, the doctor’s surgery can’t cope with the array of illnesses, it doesn’t make sense. People avoid silence, because the silence is not a real silence. There’s a hum, an almost – almost – imperceptible ringing in their ears, like tinnitus. It’s definitely he mobile phone mast that overlooks the estate. Or it’s definitely the nearby windfarm, that white noise that carries across the waves. Or it’s the train from that new underground station nearby making the earth vibrate. Or there’s poison in the ground, chemicals in the water, coal dust in the air. As paranoia sets in, the possibilities are endless.
– Catherine Fearns, Sound
Find more from Catherine Fearns at her website here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Sound is available on Amazon right now!
Giveaway to Win a signed trio of Catherine Fearns books plus merchandise (Open Internationally)
Prize includes – SOUND t-shirt, coaster, magnet and bar blade, plus signed copies of Reprobation, Consuming Fire and Sound.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.
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