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Publisher's Summary

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own... one of the 12....

When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad.... but why?

Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of The Sherlockian and The Alienist.

©2012 Alex Grecian (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Yard

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    866
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    734
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    267
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  • 2 Stars
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    39

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Know what you're getting into

I love victoriana-pulp recreations and enjoy large doses of even mediocre formula stuff. This was just too grisly, anachronistic and plodding, with weak dialogue and windy speeches-- made worse by the breathy narrator - Is he even British? Was he holding his nose as he read this one?

It's ann perry paced, without her charm. I put up with grisly in crime novels if other elements make the listen worthwhile and IF the gristle is necessary for the story - here it seemed part of the formula, thrown in like seasoning according to a recipe.

This screams first novel - which usually doesn't put me off a series if there is promise in plot, character atmosphere or good dialogue, but I won't rush to download the next in this series. Interesting (I didn't say well-developed) characters and Victorian verisimilitude (second hand from other novels?) are the only strengths here. I endured to the end only for tidbits about evolution of the Yard and cameos of historical figures. For me this scored very low on the ratio of listening pleasure/hours yardstick.

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable annoying book

First off, why over 100 chapters, plus several "interludes". Author with ADHD?

I give this book overall 4/5 stars for the multitude of interesting characters, multiple intertwining storylines and good pacing. I had to take 1 off for annoying anachronisms and some heavy-handedness in the writing.

The time is 1888 Victorian London, when the Scotland Yard detectives are facing bad PR after not solving the Ripper case and their small team is tasked with 10,000 disappearances a year in the city. A fellow detective is murdered, and they want to provide "closure" for his family. Closure? Did they really say that in 1888? Did they use the term "forensic technology"?? And so on. And most people familiar with Victorian London have heard of Henry Mayhew, so why confuse readers with a half-witted character of the same name (but not the same social researcher and writer)? The real Mayhew died in 1887. Strange choices.

The Hammersmith and Day detective characters are strong enough that we may see a sequel featuring them, but I hope they won't discover DNA or blood spatter analysis ahead of their time.

62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration, Book Needed Some Work

Set in London in the late Victorian era after Scotland Yard had signally failed to capture Jack the Ripper, this story of a warped killer, a body found in a chimney and a detective's body found in a trunk at a railway station is both interesting and frustrating.

First I had no problem with the narration. Toby Leonard Moore did an excellent job separating out the various character's voices. He did women's voices quite well in my opinion.

The one who fell down a bit was the author. There's a pretty long discussion on the Amazon product page which addresses some of the problems. It's spoilerish, beware.

I thought some of the characters were well written. It was the plotting and the lack of historical research that would cause me annoyance. The plotting lacked focus. The end of the mystery was not as satisfying as I hoped it would be. It wasn't unsatisfying in a literary/artistic manner. I was just left scratching my head and wondering about why certain things had been included when they eventually didn't even arise to the level of a red herring. They were just fillers.

Aside from factual forensic anachronisms the author has the wife of a Scotland Yard inspector suggesting that a man call her Clare within minutes of having him show up unannounced and alone at her front door. This happens again with another (male) character asking a female character he has just met to call him Mike within minutes of meeting. That just won't wash. It's also more distracting than whether or not the correct substance was used to raise latent finger prints. Oh, and the hospital scene with the patient who had his throat slashed? That was not only just gross, it was also medically impossible.

I would give this author another chance but I think he needs to work on plotting and research.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it! Set in the time of Sherlock Holmes.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Yard to be better than the print version?

No idea.

What other book might you compare The Yard to and why?

The Alienist, the Anatomy of Murder, White City

Have you listened to any of Toby Leonard Moore???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but also a book to savor at leisure since a book like this does not come around very often.

Any additional comments?

More Victorian Era mysteries that are not romantic fantasies and are not formula based. More like this! I get annoyed with the female hero that seems to be always ahead of her time and always outsmarts the stupid men. Too formula and predictable and too numerous. I want a plausible but exciting and intellectually stimulating book like this. Very interesting and transported the reader to my favorite time period. Great story.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Did not listen long

I stopped reading after 4 hours. Murdered children and mutilated women can quickly become too much for me. This is a dark and ugly world ??? no cozy mystery. I feared the worst at the beginning when the horribly scared face of a woman was described by a policeman as ???a bit fetching??? lending ???character.??? The scar was later described as ???began under Esme???s hair and ran diagonally across her forehead, jumped over her left eye and exploded in a starburst on her cheek before commencing down over her chin, her throat, and disappearing under the top of her ??? nightgown. The endpoint ??? was a crater where Esme???s left breast had once been.??? ???Fetching.??? Perhaps the author needs ???character.???

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Coincidences galore

It's always a bad sign when a story requires amazing coincidences to work out - and this one piles them on top of each other until my eyes hurt from rolling so often. Too bad, because the premise and characters were pretty good. Hopefully the author will get better with more experience - I may check out the next one in the series before I give up entirely.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Atmospheric Tale

Imagine a Sherlock Holmes mystery in which Holmes never appears, and the weary Inspector Lestrades and Gregsons must soldier on as best they can to solve their cases on their own, and you have The Yard.

This compelling novel accomplished everything I'd hoped. There's a clear sense of the challenges (in public relations as much as actual detective practice) faced by Scotland Yard in the wake of the Jack the Ripper murders. There's a well-researched sense of place in the descriptions of London, and especially the East End. The plot emphasizes the turning-points experienced during this unique moment in history, from the evolving understandings of mental illness to the first steps in modern forensic science. Most of all, this mystery -- or series of mysteries -- delivers sympathetic, well-drawn characters who represent a variety of different walks of life and habits of thought and degrees of power/powerlessness. Knowing "whodunit" early on was a bonus for me, so I could focus on the details of characterization, setting, and theme. If I could make any criticism of this lovely, atmospheric work, it would be that some of the loose threads ended up too neatly tied at the end. That's a small quibble indeed. Anyone who fancies a gaslit, Gothic tale very self-aware of its unique moment in intellectual history -- unencumbered by much of the tedious romance-as-window-dressing seen in many contemporary mysteries set in Victorian times -- likely will enjoy this as much as I did.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen!

If you could sum up The Yard in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, authentic, compelling

What other book might you compare The Yard to and why?

To some degree, the Anne Perry series set in a similar (maybe a bit later) era. This one was deeper, though, and really made you feel you were in at the start of a great series, and at the start of modern forensics.

Which character – as performed by Toby Leonard Moore – was your favorite?

The main guy, of course! Walter!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ahhhh....nothing! Very enjoyable listen. I like strong voices that handle different characters and accents well - male or female.

Any additional comments?

Hope to see more from this author!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Adept and Engrossing

Audible Channels makes it easy to be a news junkie, and I developed a major addiction at the start of 2017. Each morning, I'd start with The New York Times. I'd move onto The Wall Street Journal. In the afternoon, it was The Washington Post. If traffic was really bad, I'd finish with the BBC News Hour. I was getting anxious, depressed and angry, desperate to break a downward spiral into dystopian real life- but i was trapped. I started half a dozen listens and couldn't find the right book.

Alex Grecian's "The Yard" (2012) finally broke the cycle. I was transported from the hard, bitter glint that is Los Angeles in the spring to Victorian England, just after Jack the Ripper has (maybe?) mutilated and murdered - or murdered and mutilated - the last of his unfortunates. Scotland Yard has formed "The Murder Squad," a Baker's dozen of determined investigators (and one phantom detective long since retired to the country, still collecting his pay).

One of their own has been killed, mutilated and abandoned in a railway trunk at a busy station.

Grecian's characters are interesting and complex, with back stories firmly rooted in a culture, environment, and class that is long past. Inevitably, his story teaches everyday history - but subtly. It's not until you notice the chimneys of the historically renovated and maintained Victorian mansions in your town and wonder how they are cleaned now that you realize some of Grecian's characters two centuries ago made their living as sweeps. History isn't just Kings and Queens, battles and disasters - it's how people heated their homes, washed their clothes, shopped, furnished their houses and make a living.

The mysteries were engaging, and Grecian does a good job of dissembling. The answers aren't easy or quick. Some of the characters - well, I'm sure we'll happily see them again.

As an American, I wouldn't know if the accent was accurate. I did occasionally have trouble telling one character from another, which was annoying. However, I'll definitely listen to more in the series.

[If this review helped please press YES. Thanks!]

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Violent and dry

Just too many disturbing elements in this book to be enjoyable. I enjoy mysteries and detective stories, particularly those set in Victorian times. I am well aware of the dark side of that period of time in London. Still, the violence described here made me not want to finish the book. As I debated whether to go on, I realized I didn't care about most of the characters, with the exception of Highsmith. The author doesn't go into much detail about the personal aspects of the main characters; what they looked like, or anything that made me want to get to know them better. I can't think of a better word to describe the story but dry. Violent and dry. I am on chapter 32, so must be close to the end, but just do not want to go any further. That never happens!

5 people found this helpful