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(Matthew Hawkwood #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,155 ratings  ·  138 reviews
A gripping historical thriller introducing Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood - a sexy, dangerous and fascinating hero who hunts down thieves, spies and murderers in the crime-ridden streets of Regency London. Hunting down highwaymen was not the usual preserve of a Bow Street Runner. As the most resourceful of this elite band of investigators, Matthew Hawkwood was surprise ...more
Paperback, 492 pages
Published September 2006 by Harper (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,155 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Dawn (& Ron)
I really enjoyed this Regency historical adventure with impossible, but fun, near escapes. But there is also some meat to go along with the adventure, from the filthy, fetid stench of London's overcrowded streets and back alleys to the regimented broad shoulders of the Admiralty. Matthew Hawkwood is a strong, capable Bow Street Runner, soldier and spy, with a touch of danger about him. The catch phrase on the cover sums him up nicely "You don't send a gentleman to catch vermin. You send Hawkwood" Richard ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: rejected
In case the one star did not give it away, here are a few things I suggest rather than reading this book:

Jumping into the Thames.
Removing your own fingernails.
Inviting the Westboro Church over for dinner.
Reading Fifty Shades of Gray Freed. Not just the sex scenes - ALL OF IT.

I know that can seem harsh, but let me explain.

This books seemed to have it all - mystery, adventure and history! It had clever little turns of common modern phrases (It's Greek to
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

I went into this book with no expectations. I'd never heard of it but I came across it at a used book store, saw that it was set during the Regency period, and decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did because I ended up really liking it. It features Matthew Hawkwood, a former rifleman in the British army, who now earns his living as a Bow Street runner. There was some interesting history and a satisfactory ending. I'd like to see future books delve a little deeper into Hawkwood's
Just arrived from UK through BM.

This is a historical and mystery novel which is based on the Regency London.


The most interesting part of this book is showing the first attempt of the construction of an undersea boat by Robert Fulton, in December of 1799.


The idea of this American inventor was to use his weapon by the French government a giant the British Navy after Bonaparte fall.


The Nautilus was then built at the Perrier workshop in Rouen and was successfully tested and sailed first in July 1800 on the Seine River.

In the above




RATCATCHER (Bow Street Runner-London-Napoleonic) – G
McGee, James – 1st in series
HarperCollins, 2006-Hardcover
***Matthew Hawkwood, a former soldier and a sharpshooter, is now one of ten Bow Street Runners. When Highwaymen stop a coach and kill a government courier, Hawkwood is called in to find them. In time, he finds what he is really seeking is the contents of the couriers pouch and those behind a plot to destroy the strength of England’s war fleet.
*** Hawkwood, for all
I liked this mystery/thriller which reminded me of John Dickson Carr's historical mysteries.

This is the first of a series following Matthew Hawkwood, ex-Ranger sharpshooter (a la Sharpe's Rifles) with a shady past and now one of the elite and still shadowy Bow Street Runners.
The story gets a bit wacky. It begins with a highwayman and his apprentice robbing a coach and brutally killing the coachman and a courier for no apparent reason. Hawkwood is assigned to find the murderer and th
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The prologue sets the dark tone for the whole book. The two highwaymen who robbed the coach killed a coachman and an officer in cold blood. One of them even cut off the officer's hand.
And that is the case Matthew Hawkwood, an ex-army officer and now one of the best Bow Street Runners, is assigned to solve.

I loved how the hero is introduced. Two urchins pick-pocketed some officers and then ran to the place they live. Mother Gant lets them live with her as long as they bring whatever
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this story. It moves at a cracking pace and I found that I couldn't put it down. The hero is a deep character and I only hope to get to know him more with each book. It's set in the regency period of London with a lot of the action taking part in the slums and back alleys. The story has a number of twists and turns. The final scene was a great ending to the tale.
Bodosika Bodosika
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just ok
too boring for me
a 10 year old might like it though
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Matthew Hawkwood was an officer in the 95th Rifles before he became a Bow Street Runner and has too many similarities to Richard Sharpe!
This was a fairly entertaining read, but I'm not sure if I can be bothered with the sequels.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A very satisfying historical mystery/thriller and a very promising start to this series set in Regency England.

I adore the name Hawkwood, it being the surname of one of my original characters, and so obviously enjoyed the story of Matthew Hawkwood, a skilled thief-taker for the Bow Street Runners.

McGee does an excellent job with the setting and you can tell he understands the history and culture of the period and can convey that well to his readers.
This would make a good movie or mini series. It is a thrilling mystery set in London. For some reason, however, it feels a little too long. Perhaps because all the women are uninteresting crones or sex objects.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-ok
If i could give it 2 1/2 stars I would. It was not bad, just not a series I will continue anytime soon.
Phil Shaw
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m years behind all of you who are already fans of James McGee, but working on the premise that it’s better to be late than never I’m just glad that I’ve found him.
What a rollicking good read. Fast paced. Great characters. Good plot. One of those books you really don’t want to put down. Great fun, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to volume two.
Kevin Gardner
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in the series

I have had this title on the tbr list for a long time and eventually got round to reading it. The story us set in the years during the Napoleonic wars is is about a plot involving the first submersible or submarine as we know them. All in it was a very enjoyable tale and I will be readingtherezt in the series.recommended.
A good Victorian mystery with plenty of ambiance and a main character that was easy for me to root for. There is a pretty explicit sex scene, but does turn out to be 'necessary' to the plot line later on. You can still skip the scene if you'd rather, just knowing that it happens will be enough. It can be bloody, and the author is not squeamish about the seedier aspects of life in Victorian London. This is not a 'feel good' romp through an imaginary Victorian London where everything comes up rose ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. I was not sure where it was going after the case through the underworld of London, but political intrigue commenced and..... a quick read with great page turning action. I did get lost a bit in the middle, but I’m sure others won’t!
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The hero is surprisingly un-herolike, more luke a damsel in distress, though this effect was bot the author's intention for this fellow. Numerous historical inaccuracies - myths potrayed as true historical realia - are alse grating.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
great read
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5? I read this fairly slowly to begin with, and all the naval stuff didn't appeal to me much.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't quite understand the negative reviews for this book. I thought it was excellent. A high adventure.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this atmospheric mystery. Lots of twists. Wonderful characters.
Phillip Signey
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Bond meets the 19th Century

A good read. The History of the time appears accurate. Good characters. Will read the next volume in the series.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don’t send a gentleman to catch vermin. You send Hawkwood.

Ratcatcher while being quite enjoyable is a ‘Goldfinger’ book. Have you ever watched Goldfinger? Have you noticed that James Bond doesn’t really do anything. He falls into nearly every trap, and in the end, one of the other characters (Pussy Galore) saves the day. Okay, Bond was the catalyst for Pussy’s change of allegiances, but really Bond didn’t do to much. That brings us to Ratcatcher by James McGee.

Hazel West
This book wasn't really bad, but it wasn't horribly great or original either. It was an entertaining enough read, and was interesting enough for me to get to the end, but apart from that, I really don't have all that much to say about it.

I love the concept of the Bow Street Runners, and I must admit that I was a little disappointed that apart from the fact that Hawkood is one, we really didn't learn all that much about them. They were an awesome elite police force, almost like the Pi
3.5* An enjoyable story set in the seamier side of Regency London. I enjoy books which use a real event or invention in their storyline and this one did that with the submersible boat, which I did not know about previously. I look forward to reading more books in the series to see how the character development and relationships grow.
Nick Smith
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
‘Ratcatcher’ is an easy read, for that I liked it. It had intrigue and brought to life the dirt and scum of Regency London. I enjoyed it so much I read both sequels ‘Resurrectionist’ and ‘Rapscallion’.

The only thing that stops me from rating this as four stars is the blatant rip off from Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ series. The author even expressed some concern of the similarities between his Hawkwood and Cornwell’s Sharpe. So why the hell didn’t he change it? Here are a few examples
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James McGee was born into an army family. He was educated in Gibraltar, Germany and Belfast, giving him a love of travel, which is evident in his meticulous, vivid portraits of diverse people and places. His career has encompassed banking, bookselling and thirteen years in the airline

Other books in the series

Matthew Hawkwood (6 books)
  • Resurrectionist (Matthew Hawkwood, #2)
  • Rapscallion (Matthew Hawkood, #3)
  • Rebellion (Matthew Hawkwood, #4)
  • The Blooding (Matthew Hawkwood, #5)
  • The Reckoning (Matthew Hawkwood, #6)