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Slow Motion Ghosts

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A viciously occult murder.
A curious clue left on the body.
The soundtrack to the murder still playing...

It is 1981 and Detective Inspector Henry Hobbes is still reeling in the aftermath of the fire and fury of the Brixton riots. The battle lines of society - and the police force - are being redrawn on a daily basis.

With the certainties of his life
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 24th 2019 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  159 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Remember the song "The End" by The Doors? It was constantly in my head while reading this book. I think it captures the mood of the story perfectly.
In fact, this book is about the death of a rockstar from the seventies.

Enter the early eighties, just a few months after the Brixton Riots in London. The body of the singer of a coverband is found. Murder or suicide, not quite clear, but the crime scene reminds the police of this other singer found dead in the seventies. Time to investigate both inci
Alex Sarll
After a long period under the radar, Jeff Noon's last two books were a sort of slipstream noir; alas, I was sufficiently underwhelmed by the first not to even attempt the second. This time out he's written a straight crime book, which could easily have been even further from the things which made his work around the turn of the millennium such a touchstone for me. Hell, there's not even any techno-weirdness; we open on the 1981 Brixton riots, before moving a few months and a few SW postcodes to ...more
Liz Barnsley
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a fan of this author after the quirky mind blowing Nyquist novels, this time he enters the world of more grounded mystery but still that noir feel and off kilter sense remains. I loved this.
The setting is evocative, in the time of the Brixton riots, when the police were objects of suspicion, casual racism was rife and Thatcher was in her prime. Into this comes Henry Hobbes, already at odds with the world he lives in, ahead of his time in many ways. A shocking murder will test his will and no
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the finest crime novels I've read in a long time. Set just after the Brixton riots, Detective Inspector Hobbes has been sent to a new police station in London (there has been controvesy at his previous station). The brutal murder of a musician tests him and the men and women who find themselves working with Hobbes, who is a pariah to those around him.

Noon captures the period perfectly, I love the blend of 70's glam rock and the upheaval created by Thatcher's government, riots, mass unempl
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
In 1981 a Met DI shunned by his brother police due to his involvement in an Internal Affairs action becomes involved in the occult murder of musicians.

My dead tree copy of the book was a modest 385 pages. It had a 2019 UK copyright.

Jeff Noon is an British author of science fiction and fantasy novels. He has written more than ten (10) novels stand alone and in series. He has also written many short stories. This is the second novel of the author's that I have read. I have also read several of hi
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the finest crime novels I've read in a long time. Set just after the Brixton riots, Detective Inspector Hobbes has been sent to a new police station in London (there has been controvesy at his previous station). The brutal murder of a musician tests him and the men and women who find themselves working with Hobbes, who is a pariah to those around him.

Noon captures the period perfectly, I love the blend of 70's glam rock and the upheaval created by Thatcher's government, riots, mass unempl
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, lib
I think maybe I need a new shelf for 'disappointing crime novels' as I seem to have read so many recently. Given Noon's admirable track record in science fiction I had high hopes for this but alas they were not to be fulfilled. Despite it's 400 or so pages it all just seems very sketchy, plot, characters, setting all very much underwritten. It's not just I didn't care what happened to the characters but that I could barely remember who they were from chapter to chapter. Adding to the mess there' ...more
Andy Weston
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Despite an appealing summary of its storyline this is a slightly above average police procedural; rather a let down after expecting much. Set south of the river in London in the 1980s, with the police reeling after the Brixton Riots, experienced detective Hobbes is called in to help the Force to recover, and amongst is first jobs is to investigate the mysterious death of a rockstar.
I remember that era well; it’s social problems and it’s distinctive music. Noon’s plot wanders though and never ig
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the best mysteries I've read in a while, from the right side of the atlantic. Noon absolutely nails the whole group of superfans who obsess over every little detail of a bands songs. I was on the edge of my seat all the way through. I'm very much hoping for another book with the same characters. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Noir crime, music, historical it had all the elements of crime novels that I like but with Noon I love his imagination. The world's and ideas he creates in his scifi are just missing here unfortunately. Still a solid crime novel. ...more
Suzy Dominey
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
British cop crime . Thought I wouldn't enjoy it as it was set in the early 80s but I did. Set in London with locations familiar to me. ...more
Ross Thompson
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
*** Disclosure - I received a free advance copy of this book from netgalley in return for an honest review ***
Jeff Noon is a writer of speculative fiction who has been on my reading list for some time (not through recommendation, but through finding his books in discount shops and liking the sound of them). Here he travels somewhat less speculative ground, telling the tale of a murder investigation during the aftermath of the Brixton riots of the early 80s.
The body of Brendan Clarke is found i
Trey Lane
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not a huge fan of crime fiction, but Jeff Noon has the magic touch.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This crime novel is quite different from the earlier works I read: Vurt and Nymphomation. These were science fiction with a twist, weird is a term that comes to mind, but pleasantly and exitingly weird. In Slow Motion Ghosts, the weirdness is in the setting, the glam rock scene of the mid seventies. In addtion, child abuse, the flight into fantasy, and the racism of Metropolitan police during the Brixton riots. Detective Inspector Hobbes, tasked with solving the murder of a pop singer, is strugg ...more
Michael Cook
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, uk
As a long time fan of Jeff Noon, I feel this is probably his most polished bit of work and his most 'straight' - though with a band of outsiders and music influence there are still well loved themes within. Its a really well written, well paced crime/police story that paints this period/world really well. Whilst not wholly new spin on the genre I look forward to sequels!

If this had been the first book of his I had read instead of Vurt in 1994 aged 13, would it have impacted me so hard? Not a ch
Steve Gillway
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, historical
Noon has curtailed his style and written a fairly straight detective novel. Stylistically it has some of his hallmarks. Cleverly plotted and evocative of the early 80s. Enjoyed the ride.
David Prestidge
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
England. 11th April 1981. While the music charts bubble with the froth of Bucks Fizz, Shakin’ Stevens, Adam and the Ants and The Nolans, London – at least the place south of the river called Brixton – is aflame with violence, racial hatred and mayhem. As the police struggle to control the streets a middle aged Detective Inspector called Henry Hobbes is bused in to help. No matter that Hobbes – and many other senior detectives likewise – is a stranger to riot control, it is a case of all hands on ...more
My thanks to Random House U.K. Transworld Publishers/Black Swan for a digital edition via NetGalley of Jeff Noon’s ‘Slow Motion Ghosts’ in exchange for an honest review. It was published in early 2019 with its paperback edition due on 31 October.

It’s 1981 and Detective Inspector Henry Hobbes is currently out of favour with his colleagues following an incident linked to the recent Brixton riots. After paid leave ‘for his protection’ he has been transferred to the police station in Richmond-upon-T
Alex Storer
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Slow Motion Ghosts is a detective mystery thriller packed with twists and turns, set against the political and musical backdrop of 1981. Music is at the core of the story, as we follow Detective Hobbes who is on a mission to investigate the death of short-lived superstar Lucas Bell as well as following his own hunch surrounding the suspicious death of a former colleague and friend.

Local Bell is some kind of Morrison/Bolan type figure; an iconic rock star of the mid 1970s who died young and whose
Belle Wood
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I live Noon's writing. Vurt was the first thing I ever read of his, and I highly recommend it. Thus is not quite in the same league but is a great book nonetheless. DI Hobbes has moved stations on the back of a scandal, and lands smack dab in the middle of a murder case: a wannabe rock star murdered on the night of his tribute to a long-dead influence. There are similarities between the two deaths, and Hobbes tracks a decade-gone suicide to find the clues to the current killer. Pacey and grippin ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another time I wish the ratings system allowed for 10 stars instead of 5. A score of 9 is truly appropriate.
There's no surprise this is a highly accomplished book - it's Jeff Noon.
His books are like fine wine: they are to be anticipated before they're enjoyed, they're to be savoured rather than devoured, and they have rich & dark complexity rather than light & sweetness.
There are subtle nods to his other work here and there, if you're an avid fan of his fantasy/sci-fi work like me, but either w
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the writing of Jeff Noon, and this book was no exception. However, this is a departure for him in terms of the genre, as this is a straight up crime/murder-mystery. A really good one, without a doubt, but knowing his other work I kept secretly hoping it would veer off into even weirder territory.

However all that being said, it is still a really good read. Jeff Noon manages to capture a time period in English history well (the early 80s), as well as create a creepy and twisted set up that
Paul Gormley
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book started well: a mysterious death with links to the past and an enquiries led by a detective with his own demons. As the plot progressed, it became more fantastical and the author failed to make the motivations of those involved at all plausible. And the idea of the local librarian as some Machiavellian character is just laughable.

The language was also unconvincing, with stilted dialogue which didn't ring true of the characters or of the time. Who in 1981 would say that they found thems
Veronica Pehrson
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 but rounding up for old times' sake. This book reminded me of Needle in the Groove for some reason, probably because music is so central, but not just that. It had something of a similar feel to me, only... grown up. And growing up isn't necessarily a good thing...
I missed the language and the sci-fi and all the other goodness that made me love the old Jeff Noon books, at the same time as some of the emotion and imagery was still there in some way. Hard to give it a fair review, but I if I t
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
Set in the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton riots, a young musician is found dead, his face mutilated in the style of a mask work by a glam rock star who died some seven years earlier. The investigation leads back to a group of teenage misfits a decade earlier still but the officer in charge, Inspector Hobbes, is also haunted by his own past.

The plot is complex and intriguing, but the writing is frustrating at times, dangling snippets of information just beyond reach. The resolution when it comes f
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: uk-books
Not familiar with Jeff Noon’s previous works, this was a one off for me. SLOW MOTION GHOSTS was disappointing. The whole setting in 1981 of rock music tied to an apparent rock star suicide years before was just baffling. Could not connect with the music scene the author created because it just didn’t seem relevant to the current day (1981) rock scene.

The second mystery was the predictable police corruption. This topic is so overdone in the genre. Nothing new or even interesting in Noon’s take o
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of Noon's earlier SF with its weird urban vibe, and I quite enjoyed his first noir weird but this was just too flat for me. None of the tropes seemed novel and I was neither surprised nor excited by any of it. It's certainly not the worst detective story I've read. The main story was as contrived as anything Agatha Christie created but the characters didn't stand out, and the secondary story took time away from developing the main one more. I read it all on a plane, and may not have bo ...more
Simon Cox
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Fantastic I love all of Jeff Noon's books and I was grate to have a new one. Plot and characters were fantastically realised and the story really stays with you. I really hope this becomes a series. ...more
Bryan Wigmore
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting (to me) 80s-set police procedural centred on a Bowie-like rock star, and with occult overtones. Well-plotted, but let down by prose on which no effort has been spent, and a pointlessly over-dramatic climax.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable police procedural with a quirky glam rock element. Started brilliantly but became a bit baggy with the convoluted teen misfits storyline.
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Jeff Noon is a novelist, short story writer and playwright whose works make extensive use of wordplay and fantasy.

He studied fine art and drama at Manchester University and was subsequently appointed writer in residence at the city's Royal Exchange theatre. But Noon did not stay too long in the theatrical world, possibly because the realism associated with the theatre was not conducive to the fant


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