Read Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham Online


SHE KNOWS WHAT IT'S LIKE. . . . At first, the murder scene appears sad, but not unusual: a young woman undone by drugs and prostitution, her six-year-old daughter dead alongside her. But then detectives find a strange piece of evidence in the squalid house: the platinum credit card of a very wealthy--and long dead--steel tycoon. What is a heroin-addicted hooker doing withSHE KNOWS WHAT IT'S LIKE. . . . At first, the murder scene appears sad, but not unusual: a young woman undone by drugs and prostitution, her six-year-old daughter dead alongside her. But then detectives find a strange piece of evidence in the squalid house: the platinum credit card of a very wealthy--and long dead--steel tycoon. What is a heroin-addicted hooker doing with the credit card of a well-known and powerful man who died months ago? This is the question that the most junior member of the investigative team, Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, is assigned to answer.But D.C. Griffiths is no ordinary cop. She's earned a reputation at police headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, for being odd, for not picking up on social cues, for being a little overintense. And there's that gap in her past, the two-year hiatus that everyone assumes was a breakdown. But Fiona is a crack investigator, quick and intuitive. She is immediately drawn to the crime scene, and to the tragic face of the six-year-old girl, who she is certain has something to tell her . . . something that will break the case wide open.Ignoring orders and protocol, Fiona begins to explore far beyond the rich man's credit card and into the secrets of her seaside city. And when she uncovers another dead prostitute, Fiona knows that she's only begun to scratch the surface of a dark world of crime and murder. But the deeper she digs, the more danger she risks--not just from criminals and killers but from her own past . . . and the abyss that threatens to pull her back at any time....

Title : Talking to the Dead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345533739
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 337 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Talking to the Dead Reviews

  • Jean
    2019-01-21 05:50

    I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last to observe that Harry Bingham’s DC Fiona Griffiths is an odd duck. Was she born that way, or did something in her two-year “illness” as a teenager cause her to become different from her peers on the police force – or from her family or most other folks, for that matter? Talking to the Dead is Bingham’s first novel featuring the unusual DC Griffiths. She’s young and inexperienced, but incredibly intelligent and efficient. Until she assists on her first murder case, she has been digging through paperwork on an embezzlement case involving a former cop. Boring, but as Fi says, sometimes boring is good.The murders being investigated involve a prostitute and her six-year-old daughter. Rather than being repulsed at the gruesome scene, Griffiths is motivated by the victims and what they have to tell her. Of special interest is the credit card that is found at the scene. It belonged to a rich businessman – a man who died in a plane crash many months earlier. Or did he?Fiona Griffiths has so much potential, and she has difficulty living within the strict bounds of rules and regulations imposed upon her by her superior officer. So when she is told to stick to the embezzlement case, that is what she does – except that she is so capable and types her reports so fast that she has plenty of time to go off on her own investigation. She just can’t help herself! Her instincts are “spot on,” as the Brits say. She’s quite clever, too, sometimes too clever for her own good. She takes far too many liberties and could find herself in legal hot water, but if we suspend belief – remember, this is fiction – her schemes work quite well. For someone who supposedly lacks social skills, she does amazingly well when she needs to.Where Fi really feels inadequate is in her inability to feel fully human. She isn’t sure that she has “normal” feelings. She never cries. She has had relationships but has never been in love. While there were aspects of the police work that felt rather unbelievable to me, I found myself intrigued by this quirky, insecure, hardworking young woman who, in the end, proves to herself and to others how strong and plucky she really is. I’m not just talking about her dedication to the victims of drug dealers, human trafficking, and violence against women. Fiona discovers so much about who she is, and that shows her to be brave indeed.4.5 stars

  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2019-02-19 00:38

    Fiona Griffiths, known as Fi, is a young woman in a Wales police department, a detective with good intuition and analytical skills. She is also harboring a dark past, which periodically clouds her sleep, emotional clarity, and her thoughts. Told in the first person, she states that her social skills are a bit off (but I don’t see that, only that she tells us), and that she struggles mightily with a challenging mental illness, which is revealed in gradual doses. Fi is currently investigating a case involving the heinous murder of a woman and her young daughter. The bodies were found in a dicey part of town, where they were living, but the mother possessed a credit card of a wealthy businessman who died in a plane crash. Thrown in the mix are prostitutes, a dirty cop, and other typical tropes from the world of crime/police procedurals. Fi is also grappling with reaching out to others, opening up to new friendships and romance.As a crime thriller, this didn’t keep me interested. The events were too expository, and only occurred through Fi’s second-hand communication, but I didn’t feel inside of the action, and, to be honest, the action that did happen was derivative of hundreds of other police thrillers. The events were banal, and had a shopworn feel to it. The pace also crawled. I never felt one compelling moment in the book. Moreover, Fi’s predilection for talking to the dead, rather than stir my interest, came off as rather flat.What did keep me reading was Fi’s voice, which was warm and intimate and sounded as if it were in the room with me. She enticed me at intervals to continue reading, if for no other reason than to learn more about her emotional history and breakdown. What I didn’t believe was how she got a job in the police department as a detective! Perhaps Wales is more lax than the US, where psychological testing is mandatory for all incoming officers to the police academy.This is the first book in a series that will feature Fi Griffiths as the main character. Although the writing was competent and serviceable, and Fi is quite comely and, even arresting at times, I am not persuaded to continue on with the series. I wasn’t impressed by the payoff of this one, and only partially rewarded with the unveiling of Fi’s past.

  • Rachel Hall
    2019-01-31 04:37

    Meet Detective Constable Fiona "Fi" Griffiths of the South Wales Police.. An acknowledged work in progress according to her ex-clinical psychologist and the most endearing loose cannon readers will ever meet! A nightmare to manage for her superiors but primed with an inquisitiveness which make her a risk worth having on any team. Four years after joining the police force and now amongst the ranks of CID, DC Fi Griffiths is no more predictable and bemuses and exacerbates most of her colleagues in equal measure. Lacking in social skills and all at sea when it comes to pinpointing her emotions, her often awkward and misguided instincts also make her utterly heartwarming. A prize-winning philosophy graduate from Cambridge on the one hand, but disarmingly naive when it comes to tact, intuition and popular culture. If you asked Fi why she joined the force then her reply would probably focus on her insatiable need to make sense of things, from inane idioms to life's bigger dilemmas. Fi is packed top to toe with quirks, idiosyncrasies and self-doubts; she questions herself more fiercely than any of her superiors and she is a stubbornly driven investigator when she gets a sniff of something that unsettles her. However, Fi's continued questioning and unorthodox methods can reap rewards, and when something gets under her skin she is a woman possessed, and the scene of a horrific murder at 86 Allison Street, coined Operation Lohan, leaves her on the warpath.Operation Lohan.. A dead mother and her six-year-old child amid a filthy squat in Allison Street, Butetown and the young girls life terminated in an utterly brutal way are identified as occasional prostitute, Janet Manzini, and daughter April. Only six weeks previously Janet was on the straight and narrow, making a home for her daughter, off the drugs and with things looking positive, so why has she ended up sleeping on a soiled mattress amid the detritus of a squat? Finding the platinum Visa debit card of the deceased steel and shipping magnate Brendan Rattigan, amid the squalor at the location seems a bizarre coincidence. A dead card, reported lost and more than likely picked up by one of those that frequented the squat leaves a distinctly bad taste in the mouth when you consider than Rattigan and Manzini would hardly be frequenting the same circles or even sides of town. So, how exactly this has come to pass nags at Fi and her unsettled feelings in connection with the young April impel her to look further. Besides, Fi is bored with poring over the financial irregularities of ex-copper and embezzler, Brian Penry, and Fi doesn't do bored well! Fi's solution? Work like a crack accountant to get on top of Penry's unearned monies to free up precious time and do her own digging into the squat where Janet and April's lives were eradicated. When she manages to find a connection between Penry and Rattigan this sets her onto the trail of various nefarious characters of the local underworld, from small time drug pushers to violent hard men and pimps who make the lives of the prostitutes intolerable. But the more she learns, the more sinister it all begins to look and finally climaxes in a grandstand finale!DCI Dennis Jackson is the officer in charge of handling Operation Lohan and attempting to keep Fi in check. Frequently irreverent, lacking in any kind of feminine wiles, Jackson's eyebrows are on overdrive when he is listening to Fi and her latest endeavour. Much of the added amusement is in seeing the reactions that Fi elicits from those that cross her path. Nothing in beyond Fi in pursuit of the truth, from fabricating evidence to putting words into witnesses mouths and readers will vie for her all the way. The first person narrative delivered by Fi is what sets this crime debut apart and elevates if from the mediocre to an exceptional piece of literary crime fiction. Through the eyes of Fiona, Bingham delivers a suitably acerbic view of colleagues and police culture alike and the narrative fizzes with energy and wit. As Bingham allows Fi to drip feed readers choice extracts from her chequered history and introduces her family and characters from her past by the end of Talking to the Dead you start to realise that Fi isn't so much an oddball as a wonderfully conflicted modern heroine. DC Fi Griffiths takes readers on a 101 emotions class as she uses her bodies reactions and physical occurrences to extrapolate her feelings... Racing pulse and shallow breathing might just be fear and watching Fi respond to her signals is inspired. When Bingham reveals the actual extent of Fi's dissociative disorder in the later stages of the novel it feels much less of an issue and meeting the character beforehand leaves the label feeling superfluous. Meet Fi Griffiths the cop, not Fi Griffith the delusional freak! I am glad I didn't know full extent of her condition at first as the experience is far richer for seeing how she works round the issues she faces. By the end of Fiona's first murder she has broken every rule in the book, notched up a romance and discovered a hell of a lot about herself! As a Detective Constable, Fi is at the lowest grade of CID ranking and it is more common for authors to follow a character operating at a higher level and readers gain a real insight into much of the routine work which is essential to every investigation. Seeing things through the eyes of Fi allows readers to appreciate how a police investigation is a sum of all the smaller endeavours by each of the team, and conveys the camaraderie that this fosters. I also rather admired Fi's willingness to do the legwork that her role demanded as so often authors resort to the stereotype of portraying an academic entrant to the force as a jumped up and arrogant character who thinks the day to day jobs are well beneath them.Talking to the Dead has a wonderful sense of place and Bingham delivers a tribute to the lowlights of the city of Cardiff as Fi flits from one to the other and her investigative work takes her into some increasingly dangerous situations. Cardiff is a city where squalor lives side by side with the upwardly mobile, as evidenced when Fi scoots between the two and the flees for the sanctuary and security of her parental home and distinctly roguish father. Bingham provides an excellent ensemble cast, both colleagues, family and those on the dodgier fringes of society and it was wonderful to see the Fi's obvious ease with her family which was brilliantly touching. Despite her lack of the requisite alcohol and cocaine addictions that seem to proliferate so many crime fiction protagonists, Bingham has however given Fi one suitably tongue in cheek vice - a reliance on dope! In the words of Fi, "F**k feelings, trust reason". I, for one, am with her all the way!It is with thanks to my friends on Goodreads for introducing me to this series and recommending a meeting with the brilliant DC Fiona Griffiths!

  • Kristin(MyBookishWays Reviews)
    2019-02-11 04:56

    You may also read my review here: Griffiths is bored of the case she’s working on, going over the financial records of an ex-cop turned thief, when another case comes up, and it’s about much more than theft. A prostitute and her young daughter are found in a squalid house, and the manner of murder of the little girl is horrendous. Something about the case captures Fi’s attention, and she begins to insert herself into the investigation any way she can. Focused, intense, and a little strange, Fi is determined to find out who killed this little girl, and the killer may be connected to her current case. A credit card belonging to a very wealthy man, who supposedly died in a plane crash, is found at the crime scene and it turns out Fiona’s thief may have more to do with this case than she initially thought, but he’s keeping things close to the vest. Unfortunately, Fi has a tendency to go off on her own, at the consternation of her boss. As she follows the clues and turns up evidence of abuse and victimization of the most horrifying kind, she also has to confront her own mysterious past.Talking to the Dead is told in Fiona’s voice, and what a voice! Brilliant, odd, and very self-aware, Fiona is as fascinating, maybe even more so, then the actual case she’s working. Yes, this has all the hallmarks of a procedural, and the desire to see justice done for these women, and especially for the little girl, April, is strong. However, it’s also a study of a young woman still finding her way after a horrible experience with mental illness as a teenager. For Fiona, every emotion, every feeling is a gift, because she went so long without feeling anything. Her struggle to live a normal life (or be a part of Planet Normal, as she puts it) is poignant and bittersweet, and the author keeps you guessing about the origins of her illness until the end. The author navigates Fiona and her world with a deft touch, and yet doesn’t shy away from her willingness to see justice done and go to nearly any lengths to do just that. Talking to the Dead reminded me quite a bit of Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, mainly because of the protagonists, but also in how Harry Bingham uses the Welsh setting to contribute much of the mood and heft to the story, while brilliantly profiling a driven woman that is so often at odds with herself and her world. I’m officially a Bingham fan, and will eagerly look forward to his next novel.

  • Maureen Carden
    2019-01-24 04:00

    Since this has been out for awhile, I'll just leave a few quick words. I loved this book and I hope the rest of the series continues as it has begun. Clever plot, highly original character, and great secondary characters too. What more can you wish for? Now if only I could learn to pronounce the names and place names of Wales.

  • Julie
    2019-02-10 04:42

    Rather late coming to this series, but I won't let that stop me. I like Fiona Griffiths, an irreverent, cheeky DC in Cardiff, who is also a little bit mutinous, with a more-than-healthy-helping of self-doubt. She fades in and out of Planet Normal, as Bingham describes it, wrestling with a haunted past that had her institutionalized in a mental healthcare facility for two years when she was a a teen. At the same time, she is also fearless, in contradiction to her insecurities, allowing her to achieve much, and get justice for the victims, in spectacular fashion. This all rather sounds like "girl super hero" but there is nothing cartoonish about this novel at all. Well written and fast paced, it is an excellent police procedural which leads you quickly and deftly through the crime, with no gaps, no dropped threads and a satisfying conclusion, all things which a good detective novel should be.===========It's funny how seemingly-throw-away lines from an innocuous little detective novel can worm its way into the unconscious. Here I am, two days later, and I woke up at 3 a.m. thinking about a scene that occurs quite early in the novel:"I used to draw a lot as a kid. I probably did flowers like you."No comment again six times over, which makes for a lot of silence in one small living room.I don't know if I did draw a lot as a child. Because of the illness in my teens, my childhood seems like something viewed over the other side of a hill. Little snippets come back to me, but I don't know where they've come from of if they're true. I've got a story about my past more than actual functional memories of it, but for all I know, everyone is in the same position. Maybe childhoods are things we live through once, then reconstruct in fantasy. Maybe no one has the childhood they think they've had.It must have come to mind because I fell asleep reading Proust, he also worming his way into my subconscious, in the hazy droning of things past, ... or things lost? I was also affected deeply by yet-another-seemingly-innocent scene: At the victims' funeral, Fi reflects on their lives:Janet and Stacey both ended up in care because their parents were crazy, sick, violent or useless. In effect, they never knew their parents. The state took over. ... That's part of what hooks me about The Janet and April Show. Janet had a crap life and she fought to give her kid a better one. She failed and yet it's not her failure that captures me but the depth of her trying. What matters is the depth of her trying.

  • CarolineFromConcord
    2019-02-07 23:53

    I loved this book. As I closed the cover, I was sure I'd give it my first five, but after thinking about it, I realized there was one thing that didn't quite work for me. It didn't make sense that the clearly loving parents of troubled Welsh police detective Fiona Griffith didn't tell her a family secret until she guessed it in her mid-20s. They thought she hadn't been ready for it, and she agreed, but I can't believe that during the two teenage years when Fiona suffered a dramatic puzzling breakdown, they never even told her therapists.This detective novel starts off with a mystery about a mother and child murder, and as Fiona pursues her quixotic hunches in her quixotic way, asking questions the handbook says she mustn't ask, the isolated murders grow into a huge ring of evil. Probably because she is so different from other people, Fiona puts two and two together in ways no "normal" person would consider. A boring investigation into embezzling -- and unaccounted-for cash in the embezzler's bank -- leads to clues that guide Fiona to someone connected with the murders.I love the author's style. He is funny and serious. He only reveals what he has to as he peels back the onion, but you quickly get the sense that you are in good hands and that inexplicable remarks will be explained to you on a satisfying need-to-know basis. There is a lot of grisly business, which I don't love, but all along I felt that the book would end on a hopeful note for victims.Can't wait to read more in this series. Fiona is super.

  • Linda Strong
    2019-01-25 00:47

    Another new author for me ... another author I know I will keep reading.Talking to the Deadis all about introducing Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths who is a mystery herself. Fiona is known for her spurts of genius ... and for her need at times to not follow the rules. She is definitely a young woman of contrasts.She is working her first case ... a prostitute and her young daughter are murdered. Found under the bodies is a credit card belonging to a man who died a year ago. The book is full of action ... murders, secrets, lies. Has a bit of everything from drug dealers to human trafficking.I enjoyed the book as it kept me interested, but its the last chapter that riveted me. No spoilers... but it did answer the burning question of who is Fiona Griffiths and what makes her the way she is.I will definitely be reading the next in the series ... I need to know how her life will proceed from here.

  • Christine
    2019-02-04 02:54

    I heard about this series last year and was rather intrigued about Fiona. Essentially the book is very reliant on the rather strange and fascinating DC Fiona Griffiths. Fiona is a Cambridge educated detective constable in the police force in Cardiff. She is a maverick and has her own peculiar way of viewing the world. Quickly you start to understand that Fiona will go out of her way to solve a crime. She puts herself in danger, yet she is incredibly vulnerable at the same time.From the start, Fiona explains that she had two years of ill health in her teens. It becomes apparent that this is because of mental health reasons. We see her communicating with the dead murder victims, actually talking to them. She has difficulty with her emotions. She cannot express them or understand them, in a ‘normal’ way. Fiona seemed to me to be possibly on the autistic spectrum, from the way she presents. I could not help but be drawn to her.The storyline takes us to ex-coppers who are on the make, the murder of a dead woman and her child in a brutal way, to sex workers and the ugly grim side of the Cardiff area.A very readable, quirky start to a crime series. I liked Fiona and her voice.

  • Lainy
    2019-02-08 00:51

    Time taken to read - 9 days Publisher - OrionPages - 384Blurb from GoodreadsThe first novel in a powerfully original new crime series featuring a young policewoman haunted by her own dark past.It's DC Fiona Griffiths' first murder case - and she's in at the deep end. A woman and her six-year-old daughter killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there's another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry - and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found..My ReviewThis is the first book in what I assume will be a series, if it isn't already, and this is our introduction to DC Fiona Griffiths. A young girl and her mother have been murdered, the young girl brutally so with a credit card found at the scene of a millionaire who previously died in a car crash. This is Fiona's first case and she is determined to unearth the killer. The case has lots of dangerous links and skulduggery which Fiona will go to any length to uncover, including putting herself in great danger.Fiona is a complex character, there is a 2 year gap from her life and CV that she won't talk about. She is a quirky character who is at ease more around corpses than she is living people. At first I felt the book was hinting that she was in some way able to talk to the dead due to some of the things she says and does however, sadly that is not the case. It is more linked to this mysterious two year gap and it takes forever, I felt, for us to get it that.She is a loose canon to be honest her behavior, for the most part, is dangerous and chaotic. The story is mostly about Fiona, her issues with people, her past and the case I felt, took a back seat to it all. When the murder inquiry is the topic in the book, it is long drawn out, very procedural and almost boring for large parts. I don't think the story is badly written, on the contrary and when you finally discover what Fiona is hiding, a lot of her behavior makes sense, although still a tad weird. I have to mention the cover, I am not normally one to comment on them but this is what drew me to the book, the inlay is a vibrant shade of green as is the writing and it is cut to emphasize this. I honestly don't think this series is for me, unless now we have the back story the future books will be more focused on the case. When the investigation comes to a head, it did pick up in pace but by that point I was 9 days in and just happy for it to finish and get find out what Fiona was hiding more than who was the killer to be honest.This is my first dance with this author and whilst I won't be rushing to buy his next I wouldn't rule out reading him again. I must also point out that lots of people loved this book, it isn't a gore fest, it is centrally focused on the main character and building her up which people do love so give it a chance. For me though, it is a 2/5 this time.

  • Zoeytron
    2019-01-30 01:50

    Oh, I like this Fiona Griffiths character. The most junior on the investigative team of a Welsh detective unit, she became a copper because she wanted to make sense of things. Fiona is blitzkrieg fast on a keyboard, 'a one-woman work monster', and she thinks a civil question deserves a civil answer. The murder mystery is okay, but far more intriguing is learning what it is that makes Fiona tick. She becomes numb at times, she cannot cry, her habitual default attitude is prickly - she refers to it as her cactus-like charm. Her oddball ease with the dead is disconcerting, but we learn why before the end of the tale. Comparisons are being made between Fiona and Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander; Fiona is not as out of hand, not as noticeable. What we are told at the outset is that she experienced some sort of a breakdown in her teen years that left her with a disconnect from emotions and a decidedly awkward way with social situations. The parallel with Salander comes in with the damage she has suffered, her predilection for bucking the rules, and her out and out gutsiness.The writing is wonderful, the pacing is just right. Well done! This was a first-reads giveaway, thank you.

  • Kristen
    2019-02-19 07:54

    What an astonishing book. I absolutely loved it. Fiona Griffiths is a complex, amazing character. Her voice, characterized by her dry, and irreverent humor, is also removed. I guess what I mean by that is that the author tells us this story through Fi's voice, but although it is told in first person, and there is still a distinct feeling of separation. Bingham has done an utterly brilliant job of immersing the reader into a character almost impossible for average people to immerse in. What feels, and from a literary, and writing standpoint like too much telling and not enough showing, is actually a faithful representation of a character with Cotard's Syndrome: a condition marked by a severe level of depersonalization and dissociation. I am extremely impressed by the author's ability to pull this off convincingly, and to create such a likeable heroine in the process. And even though the average reader likely cannot relate to some of the distressing symptoms that Fi experiences, the average reader can find common ground in the mundane parts. This is 2 big thumbs up from me.

  • Cathy Cole
    2019-01-23 03:48

    First Line: Beyond the window, I can see three kites hanging in the air over Bute Park.The crime scene is a sad one: a woman killed after a short life ruined by drugs and prostitution... and her small six-year-old daughter lying dead beside her. The only thing that marks this crime scene as unusual is one small piece of evidence. Why would a drug addicted prostitute have the debit card of a very wealthy man who's been dead for months?Police headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, has more important cases to focus on, but there's one person who can't let this one go: young Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, who's got a reputation for being odd. She can become intensely focused on certain aspects of an investigation, and she doesn't always pick up on social cues. And everyone has heard about that two-year gap in her past.... (Psst! She had a breakdown. Mind-- you never heard it from me!)Even though she has to get called on the carpet by her superior officer and told that she must do as she's told (no ignoring bits of the investigation that bore her, no haring off on some wild idea that she's gotten), Fi Griffiths has all the hallmarks of a brilliant, intuitive investigator. Told to check out the dead man's credit card and nothing more, Fi rapidly heads off on her own investigation because she's positive that dead little six-year-old has something important to tell her.From the very beginning, Fiona Griffiths grabbed my attention and my sympathy. Throughout most of the book, her mental state is dealt with mostly by hints and innuendo, but the deeper she dives into this investigation, the more obvious it is that something is very wrong with her. From her flashes of insight and her way of putting clues together, to the way she counts the backwards and forwards "if's" in her name, to the way she tries to begin a relationship with a fellow officer, Fiona is an endearing-- and sometimes maddening-- creature.She tries so hard to come down to Planet Normal-- to know when to laugh and how to smile at the right times-- that I couldn't help but want to get to know her and help her. So many times throughout the book, Fiona's thoughts would sing across the page and make me smile in recognition... or make my heart break. This is one incredibly memorable character, and I have to know more about her.The fact that she's involved in a complex and dangerous investigation doesn't hurt one bit either. I couldn't put the pieces of it together and had to rely on Fiona's intuition to get us through. On his website the author states that he's working on more books in the series, and that is very welcome news. One thing that I would hope for in the future is that Fiona learns a bit of caution. The way she plows ahead into danger without waiting for backup-- although it fit the situation-- would mean that she would have a short life expectancy in the real world. Since she's a compelling character who's grabbed my interest in both hands, I want her to live for a good, long time.

  • Bill Kupersmith
    2019-02-17 01:02

    My five stars are a little generous but I liked this book much better than any of my four star choices. I have been trying to find a book featuring a police detective as fascinating as Tana French's Cassie Maddox and S. J. Bolton's Lacey Flint, and Fiona Griffiths in Talking to the Dead belongs in their league. She has a most unusual back story, though I wish the author had not waited to the end to unload most of it, and a rare mental condition which enables her to communicate with dead crime victims. Just how she does that is a trifle unclear, whether "the communication of the dead" should be regarded as a paranormal experience or the after effects of mental illness. There are always some readers who have no patience with anything supernatural and you can read some of their reviews on Goodreads. Those of us who inhabit a more spacious and interesting world find Fi's gift enviable. I hope she does not lose it in sequels.Fi is most emphatically a kick-arse chick, though if you mess with her it's not your arse that'll get kicked, but your testicles, throat, and knee caps. Before the book is over, I felt Fi was trifle over-endowed with lethal abilities. She is the only DC I've encountered with her own personal unarmed combat trainer, and she manages to obtain a firearm and learn how to use it in a very unlikely manner. (It was a serious omission that the author did not tell us the make and calibre of the weapon and Fi's references to cartridges as "bullets" was annoying). She also deals with stress by smoking, and the reader will have figured out what she smokes before the author has her tell us. And she grows the ingrediants in her garden shed.So whilst I am not quite as attracted to Fi as I am to Cassie or Lacey, I'd certainly like to see more of her.

  • Rich Stoehr
    2019-02-19 06:43

    Let's keep it simple - I think Fi Griffiths would appreciate that.Fiona Griffiths is one of the most compelling investigators in recent memory, right up there with John Rebus. What makes Detective Constable Griffiths so interesting is something best left discovered, like most of what makes Talking to the Dead such a worthy novel. Suffice it to say that she's a multilayered, occasionally frustrating, often surprising, and fully realized character, and I loved reading her voice, crafted to perfection here by Harry Bingham in wry humor and staccato bursts of prose. She is revealed steadily, deliberately, layer by layer.She's also the perfect narrator for this story. In Talking to the Dead Harry Bingham brings us gradually into the dark underbelly of Wales, through the tragic and brutal death of a mother and her young child. In discovering what brought them to the dirty flat where they were found and why they were killed, and why she feels such a connection to April, the little girl, D.C. Griffiths discovers much about herself. Even the title of the book is revealing, but you won't know what it means until the last 60 pages or so. It's a story that needed to be told, and for once it's told in just the right way.Talking to the Dead gets to the heart of why I think we enjoy mysteries so much. The answers to the mysteries of why people do the awful things they do are keys to unlock the mysteries within ourselves. It's not an end, but a beginning.To say more would be to give too much away, and this is a story I want you to discover for yourself. Trust me - it's well worth it. Harry Bingham has done a fine job here of telling a cracking good story, and introducing a new character. I'm looking forward to more from both.

  • Kira
    2019-01-21 04:53

    DNF @ 21%This is definitely a case of it's me not you. It's okay, but I'm soooo bored. I just can't bear to read the rest. And Fiona creeps me out since she is very comfortable around dead bodies.

  • Merve Özcan
    2019-02-01 00:36

    Bu sendrom. Bu kız. Kıvrak aklı. Güzel kitaptı doğrusu. Asıl gelecekte neler olacak onu merak ediyorum. Çok sonra. Okuyup göreceğiz sanırım. İngiltere'deki silah kanunu garip geldi. Sen niye polisin elinden silahı alıyorsun ki? Doğruysa valla ben şok ben iptal.

  • Katy
    2019-02-08 00:52

    Book Info: Genre: Mystery/ThrillerReading Level: AdultRecommended for: Fans of mystery/suspense/thrillers novels with great characters.Disclosure: I received an ARC galley paperback from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Synopsis: SHE KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE. . . .At first, the murder scene appears sad, but not unusual: a young woman undone by drugs and prostitution, her six-year-old daughter dead alongside her. But then detectives find a strange piece of evidence in the squalid house: the platinum credit card of a very wealthy—and long dead—steel tycoon. What is a heroin-addicted hooker doing with the credit card of a well-known and powerful man who died months ago? This is the question that the most junior member of the investigative team, Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, is assigned to answer.But D.C. Griffiths is no ordinary cop. She’s earned a reputation at police headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, for being odd, for not picking up on social cues, for being a little overintense. And there’s that gap in her past, the two-year hiatus that everyone assumes was a breakdown. But Fiona is a crack investigator, quick and intuitive. She is immediately drawn to the crime scene, and to the tragic face of the six-year-old girl, who she is certain has something to tell her . . . something that will break the case wide open.Ignoring orders and protocol, Fiona begins to explore far beyond the rich man’s credit card and into the secrets of her seaside city. And when she uncovers another dead prostitute, Fiona knows that she’s only begun to scratch the surface of a dark world of crime and murder. But the deeper she digs, the more danger she risks—not just from criminals and killers but from her own past . . . and the abyss that threatens to pull her back at any time. My Thoughts: I am willing to admit that one of the reasons I chose this particular book is because it is set in Wales, a country in which I have been fascinated since I was a pre-teen reading the Chronicles of Prydain and the Dark is Rising series and learning about all sorts of interesting Welsh legends and lore. Admittedly this is a mystery thriller, not fantasy or legend, but it’s still set in that magical country, so here I am... As I started reading it, I found I really liked Fiona, the main character. She has a wry way of looking at things that I found very appealing. She’s working on an embezzling case and has this to say about accountants: “Accountants come in pairs these days. A middle-aged man in a dark suit and a sheen of perspiration, plus his younger accomplice, a woman who looks like her hobbies are arranging things in rows and making right angles.... Just to make my arguments even more effective – and to annoy the female accomplice – I seize the moment to make a mess of the papers in front of me. No right angles anywhere now. No rows of anything.”I found this particularly amusing because I used to do this sort of thing to a particularly persnickety coworker myself, once upon a time. Then just to mess with them some more: “To celebrate, as I’m showing the accountants out of the building, I shake hands with the female accomplice very earnestly and for three seconds longer than she is comfortable with... As she’s retrieving her hand, I give her upper arm a quick squeeze and fire off a for-your-eyes-only smile at her.”I tell you, I just really liked Fi – she’s my kind of lady! I also quite like her father, a delightful, happy man, whose favorite thing is whatever it is he happens to be about to get or, as Fi says, “A gift, that. To have as your favorite thing whatever it is you’re about to consume. Dad has a new favorite thing every day, often more.” Overall this author does a great job in creating memorable characters to which the reader can develop a certain attachment, be that positive or negative, so that was well-done.Like a lot of these types of books, there is some wry humor mixed in here to help break up the tension. For instance, “It’s not much use being mostly good enough when your occasional lapses include heroin, prostitution, your child being taken into care and ultimately murdered. Whoops, April dear, sorry about that.” Or when Fi mentions to her boss that she’s just wildly speculating about something, he replies, “Wild speculation is exactly what we expect from our officers.” The pathologist “fusses over this summary. It’s all too clear and sharp for him. He starts qualifying every statement and then starts adding riders to his qualifications.” I love this sort of backhanded, dry humor. Another place that amused me was when Fi got lost in the hospital after visiting the pathologist (some details about that in the following paragraph). “At one point a nurse stops me and asks me if I’m all right. I say, “Yes. Quite all right,” but I say it too loudly, and I go squeaking off down the yellow vinyl to show how all right I am... I find myself at a T-junction in the corridor, wondering how to find the exit, then realize I’m staring directly at a large black-on-metal sign which says WAY OUT →. I treat this as a clue and pursue it all the way to the main exit....”This sort of dry humor keeps the tension of the overall story from growing out of hand and overwhelming the reader’s enjoyment of the story, which really is quite tense and at times almost frightening.There were a few bits I want to call BS on. The pathologist is described as fussily pedantic, but then comes out with this beaut. “...We’ve tested urine and blood for drug use. Urine tests were negative for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, PCP, and various other substances. We detected low levels of alcohol and methamphetamine... A clearer positive result for heroin.” I might be completely out of my mind, but heroin is an opiate, and methamphetamine is an amphetamine, right? So, how can a “fussily pedantic” person first say the tests were negative for opiates and amphetamines and then turn around and say they were positive for methamphetamine and heroin? Then he pops out with this ridiculous theory about heroin overdose: “When somebody starts taking heroin, the body does all is can to counteract the effect of the drug. When the drug is taken in a familiar environment, the body is prepared for the toxic assault and is already doing its best to counteract it.... If you pull them away from their home environment, the body’s defense mechanisms haven’t been primed to respond. Result: Even an ordinary dose – the same dose as the user was tolerating in the home environment – can become lethal.”First of all, heroin is not toxic – any toxicity comes from whatever the seller has used to cut the heroin. The body doesn’t fight against heroin – it craves it. It becomes addicted. And this whole “being primed in a familiar environment” nonsense is just … ridiculous. Like the ritual of preparing to take the heroin wouldn’t be enough to “prime” the body? Admittedly this is an ARC copy, so maybe the final stage of editing will get rid of some of these inconsistencies, but... that bit, coming early in the story, made me feel really iffy about continuing – those sorts of inaccuracies put me off at an early stage in reading. However, I persevered. And I’m very glad I did! The ending was wonderful – we receive tantalizing little hints about Fi throughout the book, and it’s all wrapped up nicely at the ending. Plus more amusing descriptions, like that of her friend, Lev, who she says moves like a cat only, “...I imagine that whoever first developed that queen of clichés never spent much time looking at cats, who are always licking their bits or finding new ways to scratch themselves.” At any rate, in deference to making an already long review longer, I must say the ending really made any potential problems with the beginning worth getting through. Fans of mystery/suspense thrillers will really enjoy this story, and I think it does a particularly good job of creating a likable and relatable main character. If you’ve been hesitating over this book, hesitate no longer! I recommend it.

  • Suzy
    2019-01-24 01:38

    I have mixed feelings about this book, so 3 stars is about right. DC Fiona Griffiths is being hailed as the next edgy, outsider crime novel protagonist. Fi, as she's called, is odd, isn't understood by her co-workers, is constantly questioned by her boss and hints at some sort of break with reality in her teenage years. She's a rogue cop, striking out on her own in the cases she's working on. She is on an embezzlement case and works her way into a case of murdered prostitutes. One of the murder victims is a 6-year-old daughter of one of the prostitutes and Fi develops a passion for solving this crime for her sake.What I liked: I liked that the story was told in Fiona's voice. First person doesn't always work, but for this one I thought it was effective. Her mental illness gives her insights the average person would not have and creates an obsessiveness and laser focus that are the key to solving the cases she's on. The solving of the crime, her family situation and her psychological back story are well-told over the course of the book, which kept my interest. I was rooting for her much of the book in her quest to protect these disadvantaged women. And the setting, Wales, is a character in and of itself.What I didn't like: The things she does on her own are definitely edgy and help her solve the crimes, but to me are not credible. I think she would have been fired from the police force long before the things she works on in this book. Like Stieg Larsson, Tana French, John Burdett and Lee Child - the authors of edgy crime novels - the crimes are gruesome and hard to read/hear about. The crime was solved well before the book was over and the rest of the book explained her mental illness. I wish they had culminated at the same time . . . I lost interest after the crime was solved. The afterword where the author explains that her mental illness is real, although rare, seemed defensive vs. explanatory.I think I've developed edgy, gruesome crime novel fatigue. I'm starting on Maisie Dobb's 4th book in the series. More my speed right now.

  • Janebbooks
    2019-02-08 02:00

    Water. Duck's Back. Paddle On.Paddle on. And that's what Bingham's quirky female detective does.We meet Bingham's new rookie copper at her job interview with the Cardiff, Wales police department. Fiona Griffiths, age 26, recent Cambridge graduate with a degree in philosophy, gets the job. Her boss thinks she's bright enough and may be "a couple of cases away from being a phenomenal officer or a right pain in the arse." D. C. Griffiths is different: she "works like a bluebottle" and she's probably a vegan and may be bi-sexual. She drives a white Peugeot coupe Cabriolet with two seats and a soft top. Diagnosed with Cotard's syndrome as a teen, she has little chance of a relapse for she constantly strives for Planet Normal by drinking peppermint tea.We learn of her first cases in first-person narrative. Detective Constable Griffiths is assigned the tedious task of getting the goods on a former Met cop injured in the line of duty who steals money from a Catholic boys school. But she's really curious about the top squad case: A prozzie and her daughter are found murdered at a local squat with a millionaire's platinum bankcard lying nearby. So she segues into that case, too.Did I tell you that D. C. Griffiths is blunt? Well she is. She asks the millionaire's wife if he liked rough sex (he's presumed dead after a plane crash). And inquires of the fellow girls of the night if they knew the millionaire....sorta out of the blue. And in case you think she's another Lisbeth Salander as SansSerif, a "Vine Voice," does in her review on August 5, 2012, read the author's retort in the comments. He would much rather you compare his Fiona to Claire Danes' character in HOMELAND.And in case you are wondering where Fiona talks to the the first short paragraphs of SansSerif's excellent review. Very may chuckle when she tells us Fiona is "comfy in mortuaries."

  • Hallie
    2019-02-02 00:00

    With Detective Constable Fiona “Fi” Grffiths, Harry Bingham, author of “Talking to the Dead,” finds a sweet spot in crime fiction — a female protagonist with stunted emotions, a passion for protecting women (think Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander), outsider status (think Denise Mina’s “Paddy” Meehan), sheer guts, and an unstoppable drive to follow her own instincts even when it means breaking every rule in the book (think Lee Childs’s Jack Reacher).Fi has no idea what it feels like to cry, and when she’s investigating the brutal murder of a prostitute and her young daughter, she feels an odd kinship with the dead. She doesn’t talk to the deceased, but she experiences a kind of peaceful guidance while in the presence of a corpse that she fails to find among the living. With her analytical mind, hobbled emotions, and prodigious work ethic, she sees connections others miss.Set in Wales, this is an intensely first-person novel. It’s anything but boring spending three-hundred-plus pages inside the head of this emotionally numb creature with a razor-sharp wit, a mind on hyper-drive, and a yearning to inhabit “Planet Normal.” As she tells the reader in something of an understatement, “I’m not that good at feelings. Not yet. Not the really ordinary human ones that arise from instinct like water bubbling up from a hillside, irrepressible and clear and as natural as singing.” Did I mention? The writing is terrific, just literary enough to make you catch your breath but not so eye-catching that it detracts from the storytelling. Review first published in The Boston Globe, 11/11/12

  • Pat
    2019-01-25 02:55

    I just could not get into this book. I would find myself reading a part and not understanding at all how I got there so I would go back and re-read sections to see if I missed something. I almost stopped reading because it seemed to be so disjointed and the main character, Fiona Griffiths, seemed to be so erratic. At the very end, the author presents the why's and what-for's that help to better understand Fiona but by then it was too late. I did not care and was glad to have the book done.

  • Maureen DeLuca
    2019-02-11 07:55

    This is a very hard book for me to rate. Sometimes I think it is a 4 , going on 5 - other times a 3 going down to 2. Odd.... just like the main character in this book, Fiona Griffiths. "odd" is only one word to describe Fiona.Fiona is hired as a detective constable which is the lowest rank in the Wales police department. She is working on one case, where a 'cop' or 'copper' as they say is being charged with embezzlement- then another case pops up where a woman dies of a drug overdose and her young daughter is also killed- and in that case a credit card of a wealthy man is found at the murder scene. There are 3 things going on here, and throw in Fi (Fiona) Something about her (FIona) is different than others but it is fairly subtle. It is obvious enough, however, so that her colleagues wonder what makes Fi tick. Fi is very smart, a Cambridge philosophy graduate. However, there are two years on her resume that are unaccounted for. Fi's answer to questions about this two year blank in her history is that she was sick. We do, find out at the end of the book what indeed is going on with her.I felt at times 'lost' in this story- so many things going on, where a few times I had to go back a few pages to get things straight in my mind. I'm going to stick with this series- picking up book 2 in the sometime near future.... reviews on the other books from a few of my good read friends is pointing me in that direction.

  • Kathy
    2019-02-13 02:58

    My brother recommended I try this series, another Kindle Unlimited offering on Amazon. This first book is a minimal purchase price and then the following books fall under Kindle Unlimited for now. The author says he has been writing for 20 years and this is his favorite series to date. I have visited Cardiff and enjoyed myself tremendously, so I am happy to have a Welsh police procedural for a change.The main character, Fiona Griffiths, is on the outside of normal. The syndrome she suffers from that causes her to disassociate and become numb is one feature that may be hard to warm up to for some readers, but I do value the Cardiff setting and will march on with the series.Risks taken by Fiona during this first book where she pursues the gang running drugs and the sex trade with imported Russian women are rather hard to swallow. How will she survive a dozen books I wonder.

  • Cait
    2019-02-16 06:37

    I purchased a copy of Love Story, With Murders for the Library, based partially on the novel's excellent title, only to discover that it was the second in a series starring Cardiff Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. Our lovely former adult services librarian had purchased Talking to the Dead, the first in the series, so I took it off the shelf and brought it home.Talking to the Dead is perfect for anyone waiting for the next Lacey Flint installment from S.J. Bolton. Both series feature a female police detective with a mysterious past who is tasked with solving a grisly murder. In the case of DC Fiona "Fi" Griffiths, she's investigating the murder of Janet, a prostitute, and April, her young daughter, the latter crushed under a hefty kitchen sink (an event which reminded me of one of the most shocking episodes of Breaking Bad on TV). Fi can't get April out of her mind, and she starts to investigate her connection to the person who owned a platinum credit card found at the crime scene.As Fi narrates the story, we get little peeks into her past and allusions to two years of serious mental illness which continue to affect her and her relationships with others. Her final revelation near the end of the story was worth the wait and, to me at least, more important than solving the case. Fi's voice is what sets this book apart from other police procedurals I've read, and Bingham's way of revealing why Fi acts and thinks the way she does makes this book an excellent read.I'll definitely be checking out Love Story, With Murders and any other installments Harry Bingham cares to write. However, for anyone out there still reading this review, don't borrow this book from your library and then underline the important bits -- it's stupidly irritating for the next reader who doesn't want to know about certain clues a moment before she actually goes to read it. :)I borrowed Talking to the Dead from the library where I work.

  • Lynn
    2019-02-01 01:57

    Talking to the Dead is the first book in the Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths series that is set in Cardiff Wales. A prostitute and her six year old daughter are found murdered in a run down drug house. A out of date credit card was found on the site that belonged to a deceased millionaire that died in an airplane crash. What was the card of a deceased person doing in this seedy location? Why were the murder victims living there as this wasn't their home? Fiona is on the case which is called Lohan. Her boss wants to keep her at the low level part of the investigation due to Fiona often goes rogue and doesn't follow the rules. She however, works herself into the investigation and becomes obsessed in discovering answers. She takes many unorthodox paths to solving the mystery.Fiona is one of the most memorable protagonists that I have read in crime fiction. At the beginning, it seems that Fiona is an individualist who marches to her own drum. As the book progresses, it is apparent that it is much more that being an individualist. The book is told in the first person. Fiona tries to be on Planet Normal. She reads and tries to follow a manual on how to have a boy friend. She does some bizarre actions through out the book. Yet, for me she was quite likable. I wanted the best for Fiona. She is quite an intuitive detective and quite good at her job. She does not use good sense when rushing alone into danger. That is Fiona's nature though.At times the plot slowed for me but I found I missed reading the book when I was doing other things. Fiona is quite an intriguing character. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

  • Sharon Kennedy
    2019-02-04 01:53

    I really wasn't sure what to think about this book. The main character, Fi, is a young DS, and right from the word go you realise there is something a bit unusual about her. She almost has to keep reminding herself that she is normal, and how she is supposed to act, during the investigation into the horrific deaths of a mother and daughter.At one point, I found myself getting distracted from the story because of the focus on the apparent breakdown that Fi was suffering...but on reaching the end of the book, I'm wondering whether or not that was what the author intended. I'm not going to mention the condition that she has, because I do think that, after all of the distractions and little trails, the fact that this isn't revealed until the end of the book is a really nice touch.The role of Fi - that of the "maverick" cop - seemed a little laboured at times, but again, it is because she doesn't always react, and act, as people are expected to do, that she makes the breakthrough in the case, and that is when lots of things start slotting into place. She isn't a particularly likeable character, but she is a strong one, and one who is willing to do what is necessary, even if it means doing a little breaking and entering, and tiptoeing on the wrong side of the rules.This is the first of a series, and I'm intrigued enough to want to read the second one, to see how things pan out.

  • Laurielib
    2019-02-17 00:34

    USA Today compares author Harry Bingham to Steig Larsson and DC Fiona Griffiths to Lisabeth Salander which was enough to steer me into picking up a copy of Talking to the Dead.  Well they got it half right, Bingham is an outstanding new voice in the thriller genre however Cambridge educated Fiona Griffiths is a much more multi-faceted, engaging character than Lisabeth Salander.  We first meet Fiona as she applies for the detective constable position and get hints that something in her background keeps her functioning but unable to land firmly on "Planet Normal".  Her first case is the gruesome death of a prostitute and her six year old daughter.  As the investigation expands and unfolds we become more fascinated with Fiona's complicated, unpredictable, compassionate and often dangerous actions.  Midway through the book scenes like the one in the morgue and the funeral make you wonder where this is all going but Bingham in superb fashion guides the reader to an extremely satisfying ending with no loose ends.  Endings in thrillers are difficult to pull off effectively and this is where Talking to the Dead does not disappoint.  The plot is satisfying but it is Fiona and her relationships to the other characters that keep you turning the pages.   The writing is crisp and the supporting characters believable and well developed.  I can't wait for my next meeting with DC Fiona Griffiths!

  • Rob Kitchin
    2019-01-21 02:34

    The rebellious but good cop who’s prepared to break the rules, and sometimes the law, to catch dangerous criminals is somewhat of a cliché in police procedurals. Harry Bingham manages, however, to put a fresh spin on the format with Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, an unconventional, socially awkward, highly intelligent woman who is something of a law to herself, despite her concerted attempts to try and read social situations and do the right thing. Griffiths is a wonderful character that raises Talking to the Dead beyond just another competent police procedural. Bingham gives her real depth, with strong character development occurring as the story unfolds. The plot is engaging with Griffiths running her own investigation within the official investigation into the death of a prostitute and her young daughter, all the while becoming more manic and seemingly regressing into the psychosis that consumed her last two years as a teenager. Bingham nicely moves all the pieces into place, building to a dramatic denouement. Unfortunately these scenes shifted into an action thriller that stretched credibility. Nonetheless, Talking to the Dead was a wonderful read and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series and spending more time with DC Fiona Griffiths.

  • Wanda
    2019-01-22 03:59

    The basic story was good but got a bit tired of Fiona always examining her feelings and how to react. I know that is an integral part of who she is but it was a bit repetitious. The fact that she is constantly going against what her bosses tell her also was irritating. Was hard to understand why she wanted to spend time with the dead bodies and whether they were actually talking to her or not. It would have been better if the explanation for her "illness" had been in the beginning of the book. She does a lot of things I can't imagine someone actually doing in her position as a police officer.Do like the fact that she is able to figure out some stuff about herself in the end. Like her boyfriend and the fact that she does get a boyfriend. The story itself about women being brought in from a foreign country, getting hooked on drugs and turned into prostitutes is an all too real and sad one.