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The Broken Ones

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  400 ratings  ·  105 reviews
It's the near future and the world has descended into chaos. On the surface, everything looks the same yet the unthinkable has happened... the dead have risen.
Everyone is haunted by a dead relative, friend, spouse, or stranger, and these spirits are unshakable, silent and watching. No one is safe. Governments the world over fail to deal with the epidemic, they begin to los
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 2011 by Hachette
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59th out of 174 books — 45 voters
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Community Reviews

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more genre-smooshery!

a supernatural post-apocalyptic detective story with both horror and mythological elements. phew.

also: a lot of graphic and grotesque descriptions, so the squeamish should back slowly away from this review, because this book rolls around, descriptively, in corpse-decomposition, what happens to a body when it falls into a grinding device, and how it feels to go wrist-deep into busy and bitey roaches...

all good books.

it's between three and four stars for me, but i wa
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.5 stars

This one's tough to classify. It mostly feels like a detective novel, but then there's the matter of that pesky cataclysmic event. Three years ago the world turned upside down -- literally. The earth's poles switched places and destruction reigned. Planes and satellites fell out of the sky, cars went smashing about, and the worldwide economy fell in the toilet.
And oh, by the way, everyone now has a private ghost that never leaves them alone. Cocktail party chatter regularly includes th
Apr 05, 2013 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys these sorts of books
Recommended to Katy by: Doubleday
The Broken Ones review

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal Horror/Thriller Suspense Noir Reading Level: Adult book available 8/7/12

Disclosure: I received a free paperback ARC from Doubleday in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Award-winning author Stephen M. Irwin returns with a thrilling, supernatural crime novel built around an intriguing question: What happens when every single person is haunted by a ghost only they can see?

Without warning, a boy in the middle of a city intersection sends Det
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

Detective Oscar Mariani is dealing with a personal ghost. In fact, everyone in the world is. You see, several years ago the world flipped on its axis bringing back the dead in a ratio of one per every live person. With a dead friend or relative as their new shadow, some people find themselves going off their rocker and committing murder. That’s where Oscar comes in. As the head of a nearly defunct department, it’s his job to s
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
Ok, this isn't meat and potatoes, it's buttered movie popcorn. But, boy is it good.

I'm attuned to genre expectations, but for the last ten years books really are taking genre style as a recommendation, not a command. This easily fits into three genres and I really liked it. However, because it is a Horror, some Paranormal Romance readers will be too sickened, and because it is Paranormal, some Detective/Thriller readers will be disgusted. It has ghosts, disemboweled victims and the usual disillu
This book got off to a stiff, slightly clunky start, and for a few pages I was on the fence about finishing it. I'm glad I made the right call, because all of a sudden, after the slowness that may have been required to set the scene -- a world in which every person is haunted by one ghost only they can see, and that has suffered a near-collapse of civilization as a result -- it became a good old-fashioned fast-paced mystery with creepy occult overtones. Not only did I decide I liked the main cha ...more
Yolanda Sfetsos
I have to admit, I enjoy a good ghost story (actually, I've even got an upcoming series featuring ghosts) so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book...

When Grey Wednesday happened, the world changed forever. All of a sudden, every person in the world was haunted by a ghost from their past. Some, by ghosts they didn't even know. That's the case for detective, Oscar Mariani. He doesn't know the boy haunting him, but the appearance of this ghost changed the course of his life.

Now, th


This book, was absolutely amazing. It had Hints of Dystopia/Mystery/Paranormal/Horror....oh my.... as Karen put it, 'Genre-Smoshery'. this 'genre-smoshery' is what I feel will make good books, amazing books. Easy to read, yet impossible to put down. I want to read more by this author..
I picked this book up in Sydney international airport last week and then couldn't put it down! A fantastic read that is hard to place in one particular genre. Whilst I won't spoil the storyline for anyone, The Broken Ones combines an age-old dectective story, with a good splash of speculative fiction and just a touch of horror (though not too much for those of us who tend to swerve the full-on horror genre). It's an innovative approach that really works. The storyline is original and stays with ...more
I was a lucky winner with Goodreads for this book and what a good win it was! A few chores around the house did not get done through wanting to read Just this next Chapter. This is the second book by Australian writer Stephen Irwin and he certainly knows how to do cliffhanger chapters and slowly wind a number of characters into a story without confusion and plausible links to them. When I first started to read this book I thought it was a bit OTT with the constant descriptions ... like a ... for ...more
Claire Corbett
I loved this. I don't like horror as a main course but love it as a spice to a story and what I loved about this book was the imaginative quality, the slightly speculative fiction feel with elements of horror, combined with beautiful writing. Really enjoyable.
Megan Bodwell
Oh my! This book was AMAZING. On the front cover of this particular edition is a quote from author Lincoln Child stating, "A truly unique and harrowing vision- Irwin's ability to blend genres is as remarkable as his imagination." With that statement staring at me before I even opened the book, author Stephen M. Irwin had a bit to live up to. Part cop thriller, part dystopian future, part ghost story/horror, the story from start to finish is fantastic. It begins 3 years after a phenomenon caused ...more
Sometime in the near future (next Thursday, maybe) comes a day known as Gray Wednesday. The Earth’s poles switch, and every human being discovers they have a constant companion—a ghost that only they can see--usually someone they once knew; a relative, lover, or an enemy. Three years later, the world is in chaos, with massive unemployment, rampant crime, failing governments, unpredictable weather, shortages of just about everything…and the rich have shut themselves away behind high walls guarded ...more
Oscar Mariani is a Barely. His division, the Nine-Ten -- nicknamed "the Barelies" -- was created in the aftermath of Gray Wednesday. On that day, without explanation, everyone became haunted by a ghost only they could see. The stress of the occurrence led to an increase in crimes that could only be blamed on the mental anguish of having your own personal ghost. Any case thought to be linked to the ghosts falls under Nine-Ten purview. Three years later, the excuse is wearing thin and Mariani's di ...more
Suspense Magazine
By Stephen M. Irwin
Police detective Oscar Mariani is a broken man working the streets of a broken city. In the three years since a global catastrophe caused a massive worldwide economic depression, he has seen crime in his Australian home city soar as a quarter of the population finds itself out of work and struggling to survive in a ruined world. And, if he’s reading the portents at work correctly, his own job is next on the budget chopping block. Still, he is determined to find
Mallory Heart Reviews
May 26, 2012 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mallory Heart by: Doubleday
Shelves: may-2012-reads

“The Broken Ones” is an extraordinarily complex second novel, well worthy of the author whose debut novel was “The Dead Path.” Set up on an unfailing premise-“Gray Wednesday,” September 10, the day every single living human on the globe was blessed-or cursed-with her or his own specifically individual ghost-the novel delves into the ramifications for economics, government, politics, and society, as well as for individuals, who must come at this each in their own way, and either make peace with t
Terry Weyna
It is difficult to write a mash-up between dark fantasy and a police procedural. There must always be a temptation to bring in a deus-ex-machina to solve difficult plot points, as well as to keep the mystery fair, so that a reader can make a good, educated guess as to how the mystery will be resolved. Irwin accomplishes the blending of the genres to excellent effect in The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin.

Irwin tells us in the first three pages of the book that Gray Wednesday was three years ago,
I didn't expect to really like this book, but I did. (As evidenced by those four stars which translate to "really liked.")

The writing and language is surprisingly good, I feel, for a book in the horror section of the library. But maybe that's just me being judgy.

It's a detective story in a semi-post-apocalyptic Australia. By which I mean that most everyone is still there, they're just all having a really bad time. Three years before the book begins there's an event called 'Gray Wednesday.' On th
Not since Zafon's Shadow of the Wind has a book taken me on such an unusual and exhausting ride. Australian novelist Irwin has woven together several genres and produced an engaging nonstop dystopian noir-detective fantasy thrill ride that mixes horror elements in startling ways. I didn't think he could pull it off, but I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Three years after a cataclysmic event that switched Earth's poles, every person was suddenly given a personal ghost, the burden of w ...more
When I found out that Stephen Irwin had a new book coming out this summer I got really excited. When I found out it was about a dystopian future I became less excited. However, his book, The Dead Path, was so good, and reminded me that horror novels can be really great reads, that I was completely willing to give The Broken Ones a shot.
I was not disappointed.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Grey Wednesday? Dystopian future? Personal ghosts? C’mon, this sounds too busy.” I know, that’s what I
Michelle (tinyturtle88)
This book has all of the typical angles, but in a unique combination. "Gray Wednesday" leaves the world catastrophic but it's only 2024. There is a serial killer in the mix, with a great detective murder mystery. But there are ghosts...since that devastating event, each person has their own ghost that no one else can see, that's with them 24/7. They have only eye sockets, and they can't speak but they are there with you when you sleep, eat, sex, naturally the world becomes a more violen ...more
I have high hopes for Stephen M. Irwin. He's got some great ideas, and he's more than mastered the style and pacing problems that made his first novel, The Dead Path, a bit of a rough go. But this one still isn't quite there. It is, in fact, another good illustration of the old adage "sometimes less is more."

A near-future event called Gray Wednesday flipped the Earth's magnetic poles. Which, in itself, is enough to set up the beautifully realized dystopia of The Broken Ones. He should've stoppe
Another great suspense novel from Stephen M Irwin. It's a little bit crime, a little bit horror, a little bit paranormal and a lot hard to put down. Set in a post-apocalyptic Brisbane - where it rains and rains and rains - Detective Mariani is on the trail of a serial killer with a penchant for Ancient Persian magic. I loved the way the city was depicted - the gloom of it all. And the glimpses of monsters added to the suspense. Quite different from his first novel, but well worth the read.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
The time is the future - a reversal in polarity has occurred, killing many people and changing life "as we know it" - it is called "Gray Wednesday". It seems that following gray wednesday each person has a ghost that follows them - that only they can see.
In this future time, Oscar Mariani is a police officer - who is trying to solve a crime that tptb do not want him to solve
Oscar and his partner Neve find the body of a young girl in the sewer system, completely cut open by an enormous industrial
WHY did i not mark this as read? I finished this book a good while ago.. hrm.. anyways.. IT IS AWESOME!!!

Detective novel meets Post Apocalyptic meets a wee bit of Dystopia!

And God was it done GOOOOOOD My only Regret was it wasn't a trilogy!!

This book may take the honor of being the first book I re-read!

Tim Good
Dark archaeological/theological science fiction. Fast paced thriller with more likable heroes than the Dark Path. Not for the faint of heart.
Rebecca Kraemer
I'm not quite sure how I got through this entire book. I was looking for a "guilty pleasure" book and I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, but this really didn't do it for me. It plays on the same old tropes: a washed up police officer with a heart of gold slogs through a mystery where everyone's out to get him. It definitely falls more into mystery than apocalyptic themes. It's a long book but since it's mostly garbage it's a quick read. To me it was very predictable and just, well, boring be ...more
Loved this book. Full review coming soon!
Fantastically creepy in all of the very best ways. It lingers. As I said while reading Ben Winters's The Last Policeman, these two novels resonate well together. I appreciate stories about folks of integrity in extreme circumstances. Something subtle I appreciated is how banged up Oscar becomes. Often in stories, the dings and bruises only last a few scenes. The protagonist is nominally wounded, but walks it off in coming pages. Oscar's wounds are, in contrast, cumulative. They carry over across ...more
This novel is set, of all places, in a Brisbane that has all the familiar elements of my hometown -- but instead teeters precariously on a wire-thin balance between bureaucratic metropolis still struggling to mature like its southern capital-city cousins, and dystopian wasteland. An interesting setting and premise, where the supernatural events from 'Grey Wednesday' have led to economic and social meltdown, and Australia and a large portion of the West are left staring down the barrel of anarchy ...more
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Stephen has a background in film and documentary production, and continues to develop stories and screenplays for film and television producers. Stephen's short films and short stories have won awards and competitions around the world. He is the author of thrillers The Dead Path and The Broken Ones. He lives in Brisbane with his wife, two young children, and black cat. He regularly checks his d ...more
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