Cover Image: Shamus Dust

Shamus Dust

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This book encapsulated the classic noir of the the 1940s murder mystery films!

Starting with a local pimp found shot dead in a church on a starkly cold Christmas Day in post-war London (1947).

Once the deceased Raymond Jarrett's flat has been searched, a gruesome discovering is made, he has pictures of young boys in compromising positions.

Shamus is hired to as a PI to investigate the case by Councillor Drake who owned the flat Raymond lived in. He uncovers a homosexual ring, blackmail, greed, corruption and bent coppers all with the assistance of an alluring and mysterious young female doctor.

The more Shamus investigates the more he finds in this fantastic dark noir tale.
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A well written debut and an enjoyable read. It took a little while to really get in to this and care about the characters but after the first few chapters, I wanted to know "whodunnit".

There were a couple of loose ends in the storyline that I'd have liked to be completed but then, like real life I guess there's always things that don't get done.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was interesting, moved along at a good pace, and the descriptions of post-war London were excellent, and easy to visualise.  The Shamus, ie. American private detective Mr. Newman, receives a phone call on Christmas Day from a London local politician, Councillor Drake, telling him there has been an incident and he must take a set of keys to the Detective Inspector of the City police, who is in charge of the incident.  Councillor Drake’s driver has the keys and is waiting in the street for him. Newman’s customary fee will be doubled.  

Newman does as requested, and finds that the incident concerns a man who has been killed outside a church, a nurse found the body when she visited the church for private prayer on her way to work.  He is intrigued because parts of the story do nothing true, so he allows his curiosity to get the better of him, and starts investigating for himself.  The death toll keeps rising, and people are getting beaten up, including Newman on several occasions. He gradually uncovers a sorry tale of crooked policemen, dishonest businessmen and councillors, and sordid lifestyles that have created many of the misfortunes suffered by people involved in the corruption, for themselves and their families.

I was reminded of books by Raymond Chandler in the way the story is written.  The police corruption is quite shocking in places, I would hope the author is using poetic licence for the story-line; but we are talking about half a century ago, powerful business men were not going to show scruples in the rush to make huge fortunes rebuilding London.

Well worth reading.
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This is a novel set in post war London.  It has echoes of American detective noir but it was not an easy read for me and I could not finish it.
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I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Troubador Publishing, and the author Janet Roger.
I am a little bit torn on my overall impression of this novel. There is no doubt that it is beautifully written and a good mystery, but it took me a long time to read, and it felt like quite a slog. 
Roger's writing is incredibly descriptive, but sometimes this was to the novel's detriment, as you lost focus as the author spend paragraphs describing less important details. For this reason, I sometimes lost track of the novel's story arc and of which character was which!
Quite hard work, but probably worth the read in the end. 3 stars.
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An American PI in a 1947 London in the process of rebuilding after the war. And that’s where there is the disjunction. Written in classic American noir style, a la Raymond Chandler, the language is rich and darkly humorous. But it just doesn't feel right for London, full of Americanisms as it is, especially given that our gumshoe has been in London for many years. Even the characters feel American, so although I enjoyed it as a read, it never got to the stage of believable or involving.
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SHAMUS DUST is a brilliant debut gritty noir murder mystery by Janet Roger. Released 28th Oct 2019, it's 376 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is a wonderfully well written homage and a gritty superbly plotted PI noir in its own right. The characterization is spot on and believable. This is a very well crafted and engaging mystery. As other reviewers have said, there are nods to Chandler, Cain, Hammett, and the rest of that crew, but honestly, the author's own unique voice is what kept me reading long into the night.

This is a superlative read and a classic PI novel. Bonus points for setting it in London and not the mean streets of LA or NYC.

Five stars. This is a really good one. I will be following this author enthusiastically.
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This is a book that I would rather have read in print rather than on my Kindle, as there were so many plot twists and details which were all relevant to the outcome that I wished I could have looked back to remind myself of what had gone before.It's very dark and atmospheric,set just after the end of the Second World War when London was a very miserable place to be,according to this book.
The main character,Newman,is an American private detective called to investigate a murder that quickly becomes a series of murders.It's written in the style of Raymond Chandler,but this is where I couldn't quite get the point ,as it's set in London but the language used is very American,and although that's fine for the American protagonist,it didn't sit right with me for the British  characters to be using American English.
It's cleverly plotted but maybe a bit too clever,as it's hard to remember all the details if you can't read large chunks of it at a time.
So to sum up,I did enjoy it,but I think some of the language needs to be Anglicised to make it more authentic.
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I've not read a book quite like SHAMUS DUST. It is unique and yet it is very alluring. It is classic noir of the the 1940s murder mysteries once seen on the big screen.

It begins on Christmas Day in the post-war era of London in 1947. It's a cold and bleak morning when a man is found dead at a church, shot twice, causing shockwaves throughout the community. It seems though, that the victim, identified as Raymond Jarrett, was a local pimp and almost certainly up to no good. A search of his flat reveal pictures of young boys in compromising positions with which he used for blackmail. So it wasn't at all surprising that no one seems all that disappointed with his demise.

Jarrett's flat is owned by a local councillor who takes it upon himself to hire private eye, Newman aka "Shamus", to investigate what happened and to hush up any possibly scandal. Suspicions are aroused surrounding the nurse who discovered the body but are soon overshadowed by a missing university professor and his assistant, a male sex worker, an abusive father and his daughter along with plenty of other complications like corruption and greed soon have Newman digging deep into a very sordid aspect of London society.

It seems though that Councillor Drake has underestimated Newman's intelligence and abilities as he uncovers a homosexual ring, blackmail, greed, corruption and bent coppers. He is assisted along the way with a young female doctor who seems somewhat elusive and mysterious.

There are more murders and shocking twists along the way as the more Newman investigates and the deeper he digs, the higher the bodycount. Then throw in an archaeological find below London's Square Mile and you have an even bigger mystery at hand.

But somebody knows more than they're letting on. The question is - who?

SHAMUS DUST is most definitely a classic crime mystery in true noir-style. It's dark, it's sophisticated and it's atmospheric. My biggest flaw with with it would be the long and overt descriptions, some of which I felt could have been cut down but then at the same time does it add to that classic noir style? 

I also wasn't fond of the lead being an American in London. I felt this was a classic British mystery needing a British protagonist. The added use of Americanised English only served to irritate me further, as there is nothing I hate more than American English in British books. I prefer spelling, language and terms appropriate to the period and place in which the book is set. To me, it felt out of character with the whole scene and didn't belong. But that is just my personal opinion - others may feel differently.

I note others have compared the writing style to that of Raymond Chandler. But as I've not read any I can't compare it myself. However, if you love dark, atmospheric writing then you are bound to enjoy SHAMUS DUST. This book has a little bit of everything - murder, blackmail, mystery, greed, corruption, lies and suspense.

I would like to thank #JanetRoger, #NetGalley and #Matador for an ARC of #ShamusDust in exchange for an honest review.
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Brilliant! Hardboiled, noir so well written I suspect it will be a classic to be reread again and again.
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Hard to get into. A good detective thriller but not really upto what I expected. Conclusion à little disappointing.
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Cast your mind back to a time when people took the time to read and savour each word, when life moved at a slower pace and when we could all breathe and relax. Into this world author Janet Rogers has introduced an intriguing tale of murder, mystery and mayhem. Set in 1947 London, a city still reeling from the devastating effects of war, Shamus Dust is an utterly fascinating tale that had me thinking of the movie Casablanca. Things were not quite as they seemed and as the story progressed the mysteries built. This book is largely narrative and as such moves at a leisurely pace. Some readers might find it a little too slow but for me it was a relief to slow down and take the time to absorb the words. I thoroughly enjoyed following the trail with American PI Newman and found the conclusion more than satisfying.
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Shamus Dust by Janet Roger is a stunning homage to the noir novels of Chandler and Hammett. Set in a frozen City of London at the turn of the year in 1947, this is a compelling, twisting page turner that combines a hard boiled American detective in Newman, multiple brutal murders, corrupt city police, femmes fatales (yes more than one!) and more dark secrets than the average reader can cope with.

I loved this novel, the descriptions of London recovering from the blitz are outstanding, the lead character is pitched perfectly and the plot draws all of its threads together elegantly as it draws to a close.

I am looking forward to Janet Roger’s next book, she is a real find! This is as good as it gets – 5/5.
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When I was asked to read and review this by the author, Janet Roger, I was intrigued by the premise of the story.

I found the incongruity of an American private investigator operating in a post-war London a little jarring initially, and as a result I struggled to get into the book, but I am so pleased I persevered because it was such an enjoyable venture into a traditional 1940s noir, filled with intrigue and deception, with a definite slow burn.

The mystery of who is committing the murders that keep occurring and seem connected increases in intensity throughout the book, and just as you think you have it worked out, it goes in a different direction.

The book is written exceptionally well, and there is an almost poetic use of prose throughout. I haven’t read anything set in this post-war era. and I found it an interesting insight into a world that was unknown to me. Shamus Dust is out now, and available on Amazon.

Many thanks to the author and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you Netgalley, publisher and author but sadly this was not for me. 
I really could not get into this and actually gave up. 
I would say that what I did read was well written
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Do you read in colors? I read the entire book in black and white. What a gem. If you like hard-boiled detective movie, Classic Noir with corruptions, twists, dirty cops and clever detectives you’ll want to grab Shamus Dust.

From the descriptions of worn-torn London to the trail of clues, characters and twists I found it all rather addictive. It’s a meaty story and meant to be read slowly. I only managed a few chapters an evening. Could it have been less descriptive? Perhaps, but I appreciated being pulled completely back in time, like stepping into an old black and white film.

I knocked a half-star off because a few terms jumped out at me that didn’t feel authentic to the period. They Americanized a lot of words. I prefer terms, spelling and language to be appropriate to the time/place in which the book is set. 

Full review will post at Caffeinated Reviewer on December 6th and will be uplifted and shared on all social media. A review will cross post to Goodread and Amazon. Link to review provided below.
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This was such a long read but I enjoyed it. It was very atmospheric and I feel it summed up post war London well. It was a pleasant change to read a crime novel set before the days of DNA and technology.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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Christmas 1947, and London is still recovering from the depredations of the war. Private Investigator Newman gets hired by a Councillor anxious to get to the bottom of an incident at one of his properties.  This very soon leads to the discovery of a dead body in the nearby church, and Newman finds himself embroiled in a vice murder investigation. The only witness to this murder was a nurse who was in the church at the time, and Newman has plenty of reason to disbelieve her account.

As Roger develops her plot, murders pile up and Newman's suspicions turn elsewhere. He in turn also attracts suspicion for his propensity to be in the vicinity whenever matters take a turn for the worse. The cops and the acting police pathologist both take a set against him, and there is also a collection of underworld figures wishing to do him harm.

Roger is clearly a fan of hardboiled detective fiction in the style of Chandler and Hammett, and she gives Newman a bit of the same attitude as Marlowe and Spade have, but it just seems less authentic in wintry London than in the big cities of the USA. She does capture the feel of London in the winter, and the post-war era, quite well and her plot has a depth and complexity that keeps the twists coming until almost the very end.
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Debut author Janet Roger uncannily channels the likes of hard boiled detective authors such as Raymond Chandler in this gritty post war historical crime novel set in 1947 in a desperately freezing, snowy and fog ridden London. The cool shamus in question is American PI Newman, called early on Christmas morning by a new client, a city grandee, Councilor Drake, that has him visiting the scene of the murder of Raymond Jarrett, a blackmailer and pimp, shot dead outside a church, living in a apartment rented out by Drake. His body is discovered by nurse, Estelle Greer, but DI McAlestor that Newman is supposed to meet is not there. So begins a complicated investigation for Newman in the bombed out wreckage of a gloomy ration book city, impoverished, colourless, with its powerful elites, and dirty, corrupt, brutal police officers, less interested in the truth and investigation, looking instead for convenient patsies as the bodies begin to pile up.

The small square mile of the City of London is looking to reconstruct and redevelop the financial heart of a Britain in the throes of losing its empire and its currency in crisis. Such projects offers opportunities for the already wealthy and racketeers to enrich themselves further and profiteer, a greed that does not look kindly on obstacles that stand in their way. Newman founds himself negotiating the powerful and influential, including his client, with their secrets and lies. The charismatic advising archaeologist to the city, Professor Garfield, is missing, a man with a penchant for young men, including his assistant, Henry Beaufort, a member of a influential aristocratic family. As Newman finds himself on the end of terrifying violence, he finds help from an unlikely source, the temporary medical examiner, Dr Kathryn Swinford, in his search for the truth.

Janet Roger engages in impeccable research in this atmospheric and moreish historical novel with its diverse skilfully depicted range of characters, its sharp and often witty dialogue, and lyrical prose. For a debut, this is astonishingly good, with all the requisite elements that comprise hard boiled detective fiction, all done with style and panache. It has the political intrigue, the glamorous dames, lies and sordid secrets, racketeers, a morally compromised police force and a PI that just will not give up, no matter the brutal beatings he undergoes or the financial carrots on offer. If you are a fan of hard boiled classic detective fiction, then this is an absolute must read. Many thanks to Troubadour Publishing for an ARC.
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This book ended up being very intriguing and unique, and I enjoyed the narrator quite a bit with his witty humor.
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