Monday, 11 February 2019

Audiobook Review: The Man With No Face

The Man with No Face
by Peter May (2018)

Unabridged Audiobook, 10 hrs 48 mins
Narrated by Peter Forbes

This is one of Peter May's earlier books (first published in 1981) which was recently re-published. The story takes place in the winter of 1979. The setting is Brussels, and the backdrop is a British general election, and political debate about Britain's membership in the European Union. This was in the early days of the union; and before the era of laptops and internet and mobile phones...

Neil Bannerman, journalist from Edinburgh, is sent to Brussels to cover political news for the newspaper he works for. Not long after his arrival, he happens to get involved in a murder case. One of the victims is a fellow journalist (with whom Bannerman is staying), the other is a British Government Minister. It appears at first as if the two men killed each other. However, the police investigation shows evidence pointing in another direction; and it turns out there is also an unexpected witness – a child, daughter of the dead journalist. However, the girl has autistic problems, including not speaking; which means that she cannot tell anyone what happened. She is very good at drawing though, and she draws a picture. But for some reason, she has left the man's face a blank.

Like with Peter May's later novels that I've read (the Lewis trilogy and a few more), I find his primary strength as an author to be in the description of places, emotions and atmosphere. He is good at creating mental images that linger in my mind long after I've forgotten the intricate details of the plot.Some of the characters also stand out (while others, I have to say, remain rather faceless!) As for the genre, I would call this book a psychological thriller rather than a detective novel.

As usual, I think the audio narration by Peter Forbes (with Scottish accent) adds to the atmosphere (because the main character is Scottish, even if the story takes place mostly in Brussels).


  1. Intriguing! I have not yet read anything by Peter May, but have found all reviews of his work on either your blog or what Graham has mentioned really interesting.

    1. So many books in the world, Meike... :) I often find your reviews interesting as well, even if I don't get round to reading the actual book!

  2. That's bizarre. An hour or two ago I saw a flyer for this book but it didn't say that it was a re-publication. I decided it definitely wasn't my cup of tea despite being Peter May.

    1. Graham, I too got the impression from the ads that it was a new book, I only found out when I got it - from the preface - that it was one of his earlier books that has been given a slight revision and a new title. Since I never read the original, and I quite liked the book, it did not really matter to me. Still, personally I do think such facts should be mentioned when marketing a book.


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