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  • Songbird

  • Kings Lake Investigation Series, Book 1
  • Written by: Peter Grainger
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Songbird

Written by: Peter Grainger
Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
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Publisher's Summary

"He saw a bare arm first, the hand palm up with fingers curled inwards. Then he stopped and took a few breaths. He could hear the two constables making arrangements before they separated, one saying he'd bring the other some tape from the car, and then it was just the summer morning quiet again." 

Detective Sergeant Chris Waters got the call at 05.29 that July morning. This is it, said DCI Reeve, you'll be first there, it's all yours, you're the crime scene manager. Suddenly, after months of waiting and wondering, Waters finds himself in at the deep end, and alone at the scene of a puzzling murder.  

As the investigation proceeds, the detectives at Kings Lake Central find themselves visiting familiar places and talking to some familiar faces, while old enmities reappear in the incident room. Before this is over, Chris Waters will need to make a career-changing decision, and another member of the CID team will find herself facing an unexpected challenge. And Smith? Gone but not forgotten? Surely, he would say, you cannot write me off with a worn-out cliche like that....

©2019 Peter Grainger (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Songbird

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you enjoyed DC ...

Wasn’t sure how this would continue from the last of the DC Smith series, but now I have finished it, I can say that it continued with a story, plot and delivery that was absolutely excellent. Very detailed, but it caught the attention at each and every stage with a continuation of the prior set of characters, and the development of a few new ones.

Would I recommend this book - definitely - looking forward to more too.

7 people found this helpful

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I’m glad I didn’t stop listening.

It was a bit of a dry slow start. I’d not read any of the authors books before and so hadn’t met any of the characters. I like ‘procedural’ crime novels but found the beginning dragged a bit. I warmed up to the main character but really started to enjoy the book once DC was introduced. Things came together and by the finish I was really enjoying it. Now I look forward to starting the preceding series!

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting story, great performance

A very King's Lake story, full of new stars and old friends. The performance is spot on and the writing is as crisp and lively as ever. Can't wait for the next one!

4 people found this helpful

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Smith returns

It was interesting to watch DS Waters grow into his role as sergeant and what eventually lies waiting for the previous Team Smith. The story started out with a seemingly predictable type of murder but then turned unto an unexpected avenue. As a bonus, guess who we meet again? Another great story with fantastic narration.

2 people found this helpful

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back with old friends.

good stories. wonderful characters. can't wait for the next one. Peter Grainger just keeps getting better.

1 person found this helpful

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Best procedural, best character studies

I loved listening to this, my first Grainger novel. Have already purchased the first DCI Smith and will undoubtedly listen to them all. After an initial surprise, I now very much enjoy Mr. Jackson’s engaging narrating style.

1 person found this helpful

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Worthwhile read

Excellent narration, well paired with a witty and engaging style of writing. Will definitely be listening to the others in the series.

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Improved as it went on

Book started out slow and I almost gave up. Very procedural. Glad I kept listening because the story got progressively better and more interesting. Think I'll try the next in the series.

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  • gy
  • 2022-05-04

Really Pleased

I’m really pleased with this book. I was pleasantly surprised with how Smith was dealt with. Just want to say that you should read the DC Smith books first EXCEPT The Truth. That should come after.

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A really enjoyable story!

This was my first book by Peter Grainger, and what a discovery it was. The story is well paced and the characters are wonderfully drawn. I really enjoyed the splashes of humour throughout and the literate writing style. On to the next book in the Kings Lake series and the other two series, DC Smith and Willows and Lane.

The narration by Gildart Jackson is fabulous!

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  • Kelly
  • 2019-09-20

Loved it...

So excited! Finished all of the DC Smith series, now this is just an off shoot of that with Snith's protege moving up and heading up his own case.
Rich in character development and life in the city on Kings lake is everything you could want in a mystery. No cursing, not extreme gore Ibut not a cozy either. Tics all the boxes for a great murder mystery. Many likeable characters some nasty ones too. I enjoyed this as much as the Smith series And Jackson can't be beat for narration. Perfection!

118 people found this helpful

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  • Lynn
  • 2019-09-29

Solid Follow-on to Grainger's Great DC Smith

I was almost afraid to order this book because the terrific DC Smith series seemed to have come to a dire end with Grainger's previously published book in the DC Smith Kings Lake saga. I feared Smith had toppled over the 21st century medical equivalent of Holmes at Reichenbach Falls. I couldn't bear the thought. Still, when 'Songbird' showed up with wonderful Gildart Jackson narrating, I couldn't resist buying and listening. SPOILER ALERT. We can trust Grainger. And Jackson's narration is brilliant. Great new mystery, lots of tension and side swiping in the police force, interesting characters, and a promising batch of younger officers coming up through the ranks. Body of a pretty woman found along a footpath near the 'Costa del Norfolk' on a hot summer morning. Conflicting leads ensue. Grainger preserves his wry, somewhat acid tone tempered with curiosity about what humans are capable of. If you like British police procedurals with vivid characters and local atmosphere, and have not followed Grainger's Smith series, this will stand alone just fine. However, if you want the full richness of what is not only a mystery series but a full unfolding of a fascinating lead character, I suggest starting with the original in the series. Either way I think you'll be satisfied.

77 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy
  • 2019-09-23

A Great Listen

I’ve listened to all the available DC Smith series and liked them. This “spin off” is excellent and I will certainly be looking for the next one. Everyone who listens to audiobooks knows the narration can make or break an audiobook. Gildart Jackson is spot on.

48 people found this helpful

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  • barry
  • 2019-11-06

Brick by Painstaking Brick

I do not think I have ever come across such a perfect, yet painstaking, police procedural before. What makes the piece brilliant is also what tends to leave it a bit flawed. While it lionizes the more daring and brilliant members of the Kings Lake squad, it tends to emulate its most by the book police technocrats stylistically. I purchased this because of the unanimous raves in the review section, and once the piece finally began to roll downhill, about 2/3 the way in, I was glad I did so. But I have one serious bone to pick with most of the reviewers here. I found the narrator less than the kind of stellar the many who reviewed this found him. There are many characters, and he had an all but impossible time distinguishing between them by inflection, and this was especially so with regard to the women, who with one exception, were the most important characters in the book. And there were times when he seemed put out having to go into the procedural detail that the author took so much effort to deliver. As much as folks here liked Mr. Jackson's narration, I venture to say that any one of a number of women given to narrate these kinds of Brit police procedurals would do an infinitely better job in bringing to life the varied characters making up Mr. Grainger's police world.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Donald
  • 2019-09-25

Six Stars Out of Five

I was very sad when the DC Smith series ended with Smith retiring from being a DCI. After reading this first book in the Kings Lake Investigation series, I see there is method to that madness. No spoilers to ruin the present story, but Songbird picks up where the DC Smith series left off, with old characters growing into their new roles. The only things missing are helicopter and car chases, gun fights, fist fights, gratuitous sex or torture, or phony plot twists. Peter Grainger is a truly gifted writer whose plots come with fresh surprises.

Grainger is on a roll. Please keep them coming.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-22

WHAT JUST HAPPENED!

I'll be honest with you, I was more than a little concerned with the ending of the last book And I honestly debated on whether or not to start the new series without D.C. . I mean, to just carry on without my all time favorite characters of all time. I didn't think my heart could take it. But, I just love these books, so I gave it a go. And I'm so glad I did. I'm a happy girl!!! And I'm so looking forward to this next series!

37 people found this helpful

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  • C. Hartmann
  • 2019-09-23

If You Liked the DC Smith books-You will love this

This is a continuation of the affairs in the Kings Lake nick following the retirement of DC Smith. If you like those books, you will love this. (Spoiler....Smith does appear and thrive here.) The younger officers carry on. If you have not read the series (I envy you) go back and start with Grainger's earlier books. Otherwise, enjoy!! ps...….Super performance from Mr. Jackson.

34 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandra
  • 2019-10-02

with reading

this is a well researched police procedural, does not move at lightning pace but keeps ur nterest

18 people found this helpful

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  • Maine Knitter
  • 2019-09-25

Wonderful to be back in Kings Lake

Peter Grainger, Kings Lake, DC Smith, and Gildart Jackson have been favorites of mine for 8 books now. After the last DC Smith book we were left with the unknown future of Smith and, by extension, his team.

This book focuses on the team and it’s done in typical Peter Grainger style. That means clever writing and a great story.

And the audiobook was well done, as usual, by Gildart Jackson. He is one of the best.

If you enjoyed the DC Smith series I think you’ll enjoy this. I look forward to much more as Chris et al. deal with Kara and just who will be the new DI.

16 people found this helpful

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  • HoorayBacon
  • 2019-09-21

Fantastic!

Songbird was a wonderful continuation of the Kings Lake story. We get an interesting case along with character growth and answer to some unresolved questions.

16 people found this helpful