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Dialogues of the Dead    by Reginald Hill order for
Dialogues of the Dead
by Reginald Hill
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Dialogues of the Dead is an intriguing book to read. It's liberally sprinkled with literary, historical, and mythical references, as well as being full of suspense and mystery. Best of all are the last pages with a stupefying ending. Don't cheat and read them first. Do you hear me? Don't!

I have to admit I did figure out quite early in this long book – 512 pages – who the culprit was, but that did not diminish my pleasure in the reading. Macabre dialogues appear in a short story competition – dialogues recounting deaths yet to happen. Hill's characters from previous novels - Peter Pascoe and Andy Dalziel - race to find the killer before he can strike again. It's good to be with Pascoe and 'Fat Andy' again. They are tightly written characters with very definite personalities that are easy to like. They play off each other with the comfort of old workmates. The newer character of Hat brings young blood to the police of Yorkshire. His naiveté and innocence provides a good foil for Fat Andy's cynicism and Pascoe's forthright manner.

Hill's writing, as always, is fast-paced, sprinkled copiously with humor and with an astonishing knowledge of his characters' ramblings of interesting minutiae. Almost unbearable suspense builds as the story progresses - which kept me reading far beyond the time I had to devote to it. Even with that, the reader has time to play a part in the characters' lives, disliking one and falling madly for another. If you haven't read Hill yet, you really should.

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