Rhyming Rings
David Gemmell was the UK's number one fantasy and historical novelist until his death in 2006. A regular Sunday Times bestseller, and international sensation, his legacy lives on through his novels, his influence on the genre, and through the David Gemmell Legend awards.Rhyming Rings is a never-before-seen Gemmell novel, discovered in his papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. Merging autobiographical details of Gemmell's life as a journalist in South London with a serial killer and a tinge of the supernatural, this is perfect for fans of David's work, as well as readers of gritty crime novels. Set against the backdrop of a London simmering with poverty, change and racial tension, this taut thriller is a fitting legacy for the great writer.This book includes a brand new introduction from massive Gemmell fan Conn Iggulden, and an afterword by Gemmell's friend Stan Nicholls.An ambidextrous killer is murdering women, leaving virtually no evidence behind, and struggling journalist Jeremy Miller wishes he was covering the case. Instead, he's stuck with heart-warming local stories about paraplegic teenagers and elderly psychic ladies.So when his stories and the murder case start to converge no one is more surprised than Jeremy.Or, it turns out, more at risk.

Rhyming Rings Details

TitleRhyming Rings
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 18th, 2017
PublisherGollancz
ISBN1473219922
ISBN-139781473219922
Number of pages272 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Thriller

Rhyming Rings Review

  • Paromjit
    May 22, 2017
    The author was a well known writer of fantasy and historical fiction who died in 2006. This novel was recently discovered and is a crime thriller set in 1980s London. Gemmell uses his lifestory and profession as a journalist for the main protagonist. It depicts a London seething with racial overtones, desperate poverty, sexism, homophobia and a city undergoing change. A young cynical and ambitious journalist, Jeremy Miller, longs to cover the major story of a serial killer mutilating and murderi The author was a well known writer of fantasy and historical fiction who died in 2006. This novel was recently discovered and is a crime thriller set in 1980s London. Gemmell uses his lifestory and profession as a journalist for the main protagonist. It depicts a London seething with racial overtones, desperate poverty, sexism, homophobia and a city undergoing change. A young cynical and ambitious journalist, Jeremy Miller, longs to cover the major story of a serial killer mutilating and murdering women. The crime scenes have uncovered no clues and the police are baffled.As Miller writes his usual fare of disabled teenagers and elderly psychics, he finds his stories begin to merge with the murder investigation. Ethel Hurst, his psychic, thinks she can make a real contribution to the murder case. Miller writes an article on this, and the killer's attention is drawn to him and Ethel, putting their lives in danger. There are supernatural elements to the tale. Miller is not a particularly attractive character but this did not prevent my enjoyment of the book. We follow the multiple characters as they endeavour to uncover the ambidextrous killer. This is a short novel with an introduction by a fan of the author, Conn Igguldon. An entertaining read. Thanks to Orion for an ARC.
    more
  • Peter Tr
    May 31, 2017
    David Gemmell was one of the greatest fantasy authors of the last century. Apparently he excelled in thrillers as well. A serial killer is murdering and mutilating women in the streets of London, circa 1980s, and the detectives can't uncover any clues. Jeremy Miller, a young and ambitious journalist, wishes he was covering the story. Instead, he is stuck with disabled teenagers and elderly physics. But when his stories begin to converge with the murder investigation, Jeremy is afraid that his o David Gemmell was one of the greatest fantasy authors of the last century. Apparently he excelled in thrillers as well. A serial killer is murdering and mutilating women in the streets of London, circa 1980s, and the detectives can't uncover any clues. Jeremy Miller, a young and ambitious journalist, wishes he was covering the story. Instead, he is stuck with disabled teenagers and elderly physics. But when his stories begin to converge with the murder investigation, Jeremy is afraid that his own life might be in danger. "There is one word guaranteed to make any journalist reach for the wooden cross or the clove of garlic. It is rarely spoken in any newspaper office, as if it carries some mystical power and will cling to the walls like dry rot.Ordinary.The history of modern journalism has been a crusade to wipe the world from reality. A woman who raises her children well, despite the harshness of a life of poverty, becomes a 'supermum'. The pensioner who tackles the post-office robber is a 'have-a-go-hero'. In the world of headlines, all of life's potent dramas are played out by special, and interesting, people." Apparently, Rhyming Rings is an auto-biography of sorts, based on Gemmell's own experience as a journalist. Although a fairly short story, it's more than enough to delve into social problems that plagued London almost four decades ago, such as poverty, homophobia and racial tension. The story-line is intriguing and well-worked out, and the result of that is a thriller equal to the works of Thomas Harris and Dan Brown. Gemmell didn't try to modernize the story (no mobile phones, no internet), therefore avoiding the use effortless plot devices, and that worked out pretty well, giving an enjoyable historical aura to the novel. All in all, Rhyming Rings is an amazing read, and I recommend it to everyone, regardless their preferred genre. In the ARC that I received from the publisher (but probably in all other formats as well)an introduction from Conn Iggulden, who's a big Gemmell fan, was included, as well an afterword from Stan Nicholls, a close friend of Gemmell's, and one of my favorite authors. Although the intro was interesting and informative, it was the afterword that brought tears in my eyes. I hope Gemmell's legacy will live for ever through his work, and the David Gemmell Fantasy Αwards.
    more
  • Simon Howard
    June 3, 2017
    I had many and mixed emotions with this book, firstly a never before published book by the late and oh so great David Gemmell. ....wow, elation rules! Then finding out that not only is it not fantasy but a crime novel with the hint of the supernatural. ....elation wanes......but I was never going to not read it, it is Gemmell after all.Slightly more than a touch autobiographical this story follows Jeremy a reporter for a small local newspaper. ....stuck doing fluff pieces rather than following t I had many and mixed emotions with this book, firstly a never before published book by the late and oh so great David Gemmell. ....wow, elation rules! Then finding out that not only is it not fantasy but a crime novel with the hint of the supernatural. ....elation wanes......but I was never going to not read it, it is Gemmell after all.Slightly more than a touch autobiographical this story follows Jeremy a reporter for a small local newspaper. ....stuck doing fluff pieces rather than following the story of a serial killer Jeremy is most put out....not realising that his own attitude is holding him back. But the interview of an elderly psychic brings Jeremy uncomfortably close to the world of old African warriors, the police and serial killers!As a crime drama this is fairly run of the mill stuff, not the best but by far from the worse, set in the 80's West London.....this is a time sprawling almost monolithic concrete housing estates trapping the good and the bad, a time of homophobia and rampant racism and Gemmell does well to tap into the simmering violence of the time, this has a real expectation of a pressure cooker about to blow. By far the best of the book is what Gemmell has always done which is write characters that literally leap of the page and in turns could be living next door or grab you by the throat. ....The wonderfully realised Mr. Sutcliffe and the paraplegic teenager Dawn Green to name but two! If at first like me you find yourself disliking Jeremy.....just keep reading....
    more
  • Mark
    May 13, 2017
    Here’s something I didn’t expect to be typing about in 2017 – a new David Gemmell novel! The background is that the manuscript was found in David’s papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. It is a book that I believe was written early in his writing career but never published, until now. David died eleven years ago, in 2006.Before readers get too excited, though, it must be said that this is not the usual fare from Mr. Gemmell. Set in the 1980’s, it is a crime novel, where our protagonist, journalis Here’s something I didn’t expect to be typing about in 2017 – a new David Gemmell novel! The background is that the manuscript was found in David’s papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. It is a book that I believe was written early in his writing career but never published, until now. David died eleven years ago, in 2006.Before readers get too excited, though, it must be said that this is not the usual fare from Mr. Gemmell. Set in the 1980’s, it is a crime novel, where our protagonist, journalist Jeremy (Jem) Miller, spends his time in a grimy London, surrounded by a grim world of poverty and racial tension.Whilst working for a local newspaper (no online Internet here!), Jem seems to be pretty miserable, getting on badly with his co-workers and spending his work time on what he sees as the minor stuff – heart-warming tales of people who have overcome challenges, and so on. Jem feels stuck writing these basic human interest stories whilst there are much bigger items he could be writing about. There’s a serial killer on the loose, killing women. He, or she, mutilates the bodies horribly but leaves little other evidence behind and the police are appropriately perplexed.He finds himself involved in the serial killer case by accident when one of his usual interviews reveals something more. When Jem interviews Ethel Hurst, an elderly lady with a psychic gift, Jem finds that he may have a connection to the multiple killer after all. Ethel believes that she may be able to offer help to the investigation. And when the killer reads about it in the newspaper, Jem finds that both Ethel and himself are at risk…As a crime novel, Rhyming Rings fits the usual profile. The text is precise and direct, almost to the point of bluntness. There’s not a lot of flab here, to the extent that it is a rather short novel, filled out a little with an introduction by Conn Iggulden and an afterword by someone who knew David (and one of the creators of the David Gemmell Legend Award), Stan Nicholls.With that in mind then, don’t go expecting Druss and his ilk here. Instead this is a more contemporary perspective of London, albeit a dated London of the 1980’s /90’s, dealing with issues of racism, sexism and homophobia. The book is clearly based on David’s own life as a journalist (write about what you know!) when he worked in South London before moving to Hastings.It’s rather like watching an old TV police programme, something like Life on Mars, quite watchable (or in this case readable) but rather out of step with what we would see today. (Mentions of old cars like the Ford Mondeo and a lack of the Internet and mobile phones are a definite giveaway, for example.) There has been no attempt to modernise the story, which I think is a good idea, but it does make the novel feel a little out of sync with modern police procedurals.But here’s the bottom line. Ignoring that it is dated (for acceptable reasons), and that it’s written by David Gemmell, does it work as a crime novel? Of that, I’m not so sure. It is quite violent, yet not as violent as some contemporary reads. There is an undertone of violence and menace that works today perhaps as much as it did in the 1980’s, but to me in the end as a crime novel it seems rather unsophisticated for contemporary tastes. I pretty much got who was the killer straight away once his/her name was given.On the positive side, the point that it is a crime novel means that, in most cases, you can pretty much recognise what characters we’ve got – the kindly elderly character with a certain steel to their mettle, the well-meaning yet stressed police officers doing a difficult job in difficult circumstances – besides Jem, there’s not a lot of time spent developing detailed character outlines. Usually their actions and motivations are clear and what happens to them and because of them not too unrealistic.Weirdly it is aspects of the lead character I’m unhappy with, which is a surprise considering that characterisation is something usually seen as a Gemmell strength. However, Jem is a character who at times I found to be actually quite unpleasant, although I accept that this may be deliberate. Strangely, by comparison, some of the characters around Jem, such as Ethel, her loyal neighbour Mr Sutcliffe, the policemen on the case and Jem’s workmates I liked as characters much more.My concern was that, worryingly, I rather got the impression that many of the rants Jem spouts and the attitude he presents were lectures to the reader, rather than something to propel the character or the plot. They gave the impression that this was less of a character trait and more of a chance to allow the author to express beliefs that were unnecessary. Surprisingly, such asides felt rather clumsy or worse, didactic diatribes rather than something of benefit to the book. It felt forced or, at best, inappropriate.That is a big issue. It must be said however that such lapses are not entirely throughout. Jem redeems himself to become a better person and set things right at the end of the book. This tempered my reaction a little, though it could be said that such actions are nothing new – it was often the essence of a Gemmell fantasy novel, for example.This does sound rather negative. However, it must be said that despite my issues I kept reading. At the core of Rhyming Rings there is a readable, if short, novel, By the end the strength of the prose is such that, even with my other reservations, you want to know how the plot ends, although I personally found the end rather troubling.I applaud the attempt to try something new, though, even if it isn’t entirely successful for me. Unusually for David’s work, there’s a supernatural aspect to Rhyming Rings which may mean that the novel will appeal to readers of that sub-genre. (See also lovers of TV series such as Afterlife, The Dead Zone, and The Ghost Whisperer.) Again, though, don’t go expecting full-on horror stories, though – it’s not what David was about.In summary, Rhyming Rings is an interesting but not totally successful attempt to try something different from a talented author. Despite my own issues, based on this, it is quite possible to see that, given time, David could have ended up with an author’s alternative career. (It has happened to others – see also Christopher Fowler and Stephen King, for example.) But Rhyming Rings isn’t quite there, for me at least. Worth a look, but not for everyone.
    more
  • Ed McDonald
    June 10, 2017
    I am a major Gemmell fan and was excited to read this last hurrah from the great man. I was a little nervous about it however, since this is a book published long after its time, and I think that a reader can see that clearly.The good: Gemmell's easy prose style, the warmth of the relationship between two characters (one of whom you can read as a proto-Druss), and the pacing were good. This is not a long book, and it doesn't need to be. There's touching emotional payoffs, there are heroes and vi I am a major Gemmell fan and was excited to read this last hurrah from the great man. I was a little nervous about it however, since this is a book published long after its time, and I think that a reader can see that clearly.The good: Gemmell's easy prose style, the warmth of the relationship between two characters (one of whom you can read as a proto-Druss), and the pacing were good. This is not a long book, and it doesn't need to be. There's touching emotional payoffs, there are heroes and villains. The characters are mostly well realised and painted with Gemmell's usual clarity.The less good: Rhyming Rings read to me very much like a first novel. It was confused in some respects; I didn't feel that the overall plot was as tightly structured as a thriller needs to be. I am not a fan of blending first person narration with third person narration either and would rather have seen the whole book from first, or third. The main character seems rather autobiographical, but it was hard to really support him because he's basically a dick (although I don't think that in any way he reflects Gemmell in that). A dick trying to do better, maybe, but still a dick. I also struggled with the supernatural element simply because everyone accepts it so readily, and I found that jarring. Also, there's a random scene of sexual content that left me thinking, "really?" It's not gross or anything, just oddly placed.There are some further interesting points to note. With hindsight, it's so clear that this book precedes Legend and the other great works Gemmell put out. There's effectively a siege, there's heroic dying, there's the unstoppable warrior. All of that felt like a warm cuddle from an old friend. But there's also the fact that it was written in the late 1980s and reading this was like being immersed into a time gone by. I live in London, and the London he describes isn't one that's familiar to me now. That, I enjoyed, even if some of the terms of prejudice used throughout the book might shock someone who didn't grow up with them.I'm glad that I read it.
    more
  • Emmanuel
    June 16, 2017
    5 stars, because (in my humble opinion) Sir David Gemmell, was and will always be the best of the best for me, a Legend.
  • Phil
    February 24, 2017
    For twenty years David Gemmell was a driving force in British Fantasy. His first novel Legend impressed me with his lead character and if anything with the thirty odd novels that followed it was ability to deliver character that drew me into his historic fantasy. Yet unknown to us all he had written a crime novel and now thanks to Gollancz it is seeing the light of day.Jeremy a young and inept young reporter is struggling to find his way in journalism, as a series of horrific murders take place. For twenty years David Gemmell was a driving force in British Fantasy. His first novel Legend impressed me with his lead character and if anything with the thirty odd novels that followed it was ability to deliver character that drew me into his historic fantasy. Yet unknown to us all he had written a crime novel and now thanks to Gollancz it is seeing the light of day.Jeremy a young and inept young reporter is struggling to find his way in journalism, as a series of horrific murders take place. We follow a group of well-drawn characters as they strive to resolve the crime. I found the return to the nineteen eighties quite striking in terms of attitudes. If anything this gave the book a good framework. As always it was Gemmell’s ability to spot aspects of humanity that stands out and I have always thought he shared this ability with Terry Pratchett. While Jeremy matures during the story, it is Mt Sutcliffe and Ethel who stand out as a strong supporting cast.Not having read a Gemmell book in many years it was refreshing to return to his clear and precise prose. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and while it is not the greatest crime novel I do think it is a refreshing crossover for those who delve into crime or fantasy and wonder what the other looks like. Well done for Gollancz in taking a risk. I am sure it will prove worthwhile.
    more
  • Tim Gray
    May 17, 2017
    I was really glad to win this Goodreads giveaway, and I was not disappointed. Having read some of Gemmell's fantasy books I wondered what he could do with crime fiction - quite a lot it seems.The book has a strong plot, the murder mystery aspect is well handled - it has, as you might expect from Gemmell well developed characters. The 'historical' aspect of it adds to the charm in many ways, the lack of mobile phones means a lack of desperate plot devices to eliminate their usefulness for example I was really glad to win this Goodreads giveaway, and I was not disappointed. Having read some of Gemmell's fantasy books I wondered what he could do with crime fiction - quite a lot it seems.The book has a strong plot, the murder mystery aspect is well handled - it has, as you might expect from Gemmell well developed characters. The 'historical' aspect of it adds to the charm in many ways, the lack of mobile phones means a lack of desperate plot devices to eliminate their usefulness for example. If I didn't know it was Gemmell I'd have read it, enjoyed it and rated it (possibly a 4 in it's own right). If you like crime fiction - you will like this book.The real bonus here is the insight into Gemmel's early writing - an early version of his flagging warrior looking for one last battle is beautifully realized here. There is an autobiographical edge at times - the journalist hero is writing a fantasy novel for example, and gets in trouble with his editor at times - both true of Gemmell himself. It's a hidden gem brought to the light of day - I feel very lucky to have had a chance to read it.
    more
  • Laura Newsholme
    May 19, 2017
    I found this book a delight to read. It tells the tale of Jem, a cynical young journalist as he investigates a spate of murders with the help of a psychic. The story is set in 1987 and it perfectly sums up the time. There is casual racism and homophobia on display frequently, which is distasteful but unfortunately accurate. The prose is concise and efficient and the plot moves at a great pace. This is not at the expense of character, however, I must confess that Jem, despite his questionable pol I found this book a delight to read. It tells the tale of Jem, a cynical young journalist as he investigates a spate of murders with the help of a psychic. The story is set in 1987 and it perfectly sums up the time. There is casual racism and homophobia on display frequently, which is distasteful but unfortunately accurate. The prose is concise and efficient and the plot moves at a great pace. This is not at the expense of character, however, I must confess that Jem, despite his questionable political views, is a wonderfully appealing character. He is socially awkward, which manifests as extreme arrogance and Gemmell has him absolutely pitch perfect. Much of the story is told from Jem's perspective and there is a touch of 'American Psycho' in his tone, in that he narrates trivialities with depth and a wry wit. The plot is a little predictable, but this did not defer my pleasure in the story and I think it's a shame that this book was never published in Gemmell's lifetime. A really fun read.
    more
  • Gloria
    June 17, 2017
    I was fortunate to receive a proof copy of Rhyming Rings from the late David Gemmell thanks to Goodreads and Orion books.I must admit to never hearing of this author prior to this reading this book. My excuse is that I would not generally read Fantasy, Gemmell’s main genre of choice.Here is a murder mystery set in the 1980’s and what a little gem of a find it is. A killer is on the loose committing dreadful crimes against women. Journalist Jeremy Miller is unpopular with his colleagues and doesn I was fortunate to receive a proof copy of Rhyming Rings from the late David Gemmell thanks to Goodreads and Orion books.I must admit to never hearing of this author prior to this reading this book. My excuse is that I would not generally read Fantasy, Gemmell’s main genre of choice.Here is a murder mystery set in the 1980’s and what a little gem of a find it is. A killer is on the loose committing dreadful crimes against women. Journalist Jeremy Miller is unpopular with his colleagues and doesn’t make friends easily, however becomes involved in the investigation after befriending psychic Ethel Hurst.The writing is excellent, the characters depicted perfectly for the setting time and the author brings humour and sensitivity to what is a very good murder mystery tale.
    more
  • Jo Bryan
    June 14, 2017
    This book was so easy to read, the characters have depth and were interesting. I liked that it was set in the 80's, this was remembered well and brought London to life from that period. I especially liked Jeremy, though at first I thought I may not. However as he grew from frustrated and somewhat inexperienced journo to a strong resilient man, I liked him immensely. I rooted for him and felt engaged.A great crime novel with twists and turns to leave you turning the pages.
    more
  • Nigel Greaves
    June 14, 2017
    Really enjoyable read. Excellent plot and characters. Would thoroughly recommend to anybody interested in mystery/suspense type books.
  • Maureen
    May 30, 2017
    This was a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Peter Anderson
    May 30, 2017
    Solid crime novel with taut writing. 3.5 stars
  • Anne
    May 3, 2017
    I'm in two minds about this. It is undeniably terrific writing and a great story but the blatant homophobia puts me off. I made a massive eye roll upon the revelation of who the culprits are and the vilification of their homosexuality. The notes from two writers at the start and end of the book, for me, became disclaimers that Gemmell was no homophobe or racist, which, for me, just cemented that what I sensed from reading the book was a real undercurrent in the writing.
    more
Write a review