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Extended Audio Sample What Came Before He Shot Her, by Elizabeth George Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 5 3.29 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth George Narrator: Charles Keating Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Inspector Lynley Series Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780061230233
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The brutal, inexplicable death of Inspector Thomas Lynley's wife has left Scotland Yard shocked and searching for answers. Even more horrifying is that the trigger was apparently pulled by a twelve-year-old boy. What were the circumstances that led to his final act of desperation? That story begins on the other side of London in rough North Kensington, where the virtually orphaned Campbell children are bounced from home to home. Fifteen-year-old Ness is headed for trouble as fast as her high-heeled boots will take her. Middle child Joel cares for the youngest, Toby, but something clearly isn't right with Toby. Before long, a local gang starts harassing Joel and threatening his brother. To protect his family, Joel ends up making a pact with the devil—a move that leads straight to the front doorstep of Thomas Lynley. The anatomy of a murder, the story of a family in crisis, What Came Before He Shot Her is a powerful and emotional novel, full of deep psychological insights, that only the incomparable Elizabeth George could write.

Performed by Charles Keating

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nothing short of absorbing…George is in top form here.”

    Washington Post

  • “Audacious but sure-footed…Harrowing…The book is Dickensian in length…though, true to George’s usual standards, with hardly a dull or unnecessary stretch. The book is thoroughly Dickensian in other ways as well, with its lively characters, its palpable rage at the failures of society, and its settings in London’s bleakest corners…A sad but splendid achievement.”

    Seattle Times

  • “[A] powerful novel…Chilling and compelling…Displays George in top form and with great courage, as she again expands the mystery genre.”

    Richmond Times Dispatch

  • “[A] searing examination of the lives of one horribly dysfunctional family and their immigrant London milieu…George delivers a stinging indictment of a society unable to respond effectively to the needs of its poorer citizens.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “George deftly depicts the palaver and predicaments of middle- and working-class Brits in this dark, chilling tale of desperation and revenge.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A gripping story that, without preachiness, shows how a good child can lose his way. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • AUSA Today Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 2/19/2014

    " I am a big fan of Elizabeth George and have read all of her books. This was interested me because it is just what it says..A book about what happened before. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lori | 2/17/2014

    " having trouble getting through this one "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron | 1/22/2014

    " Yes, people, that is five stars. I am so bereft now that I have finished this book. I enjoyed reading it. Intriguing story. Never knew what was going to happen next though you kind of had to know what was going to happen. And the book, the story, the setting and the characters, were utterly unexpected for me somehow, based on the cover and title. I wish I weren't done with it so soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandi | 1/16/2014

    " You really have to read the book that comes right before this one in the series to appreciate "looking at things from both sides". Excellently done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claudia | 1/15/2014

    " Slow to start, but it is a fresh perspective on London (namely that it takes place in the ghetto of London). Not bedtime reading though - depressing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glenna | 1/14/2014

    " This is one of those books that's so incredibly written, that got me so involved as a reader, that at the end, I was almost physically sick. Not in a bad way, but in a completely emotionally evolved way that happens only a few times in a lifetime. I highly recommend it to everyone as a way of understanding an inner city life that I, coming from a small town in the midwest, was completely foreign to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ilse Boekestijn | 1/13/2014

    " Good written but not a typical Lynley story you'd expect compared to all the previous books. I had to struggle to get to the end. But then again this is probably due to the fact that English is not my mother tongue. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa Haney | 1/10/2014

    " see my review under With No One as Witness "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ursula | 1/2/2014

    " This book was brilliantly written but so tragic that I couldn't bear it and gave up at the end of the second chapter. I work with children and reading about the terrible things that adults do to them is not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fran | 12/22/2013

    " This was a really interesting book, told from a completely different perspective from the ususal Havers and Lynley. But oh it is SO depressing. Is much of England really like this??????? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 7/9/2013

    " A look at the scary facts of poverty, racism and class division in the form of a page-turning thriller. Not great literature, but compulsively readable... and the characters will stick with me for some time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jez | 4/15/2013

    " I usually like Elizabeth George. This one is particularly cool, because it works the opposite side of a case in another of her books. Her standard characters are mostly absent from this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marika | 3/5/2013

    " Many many pages of excellently written feel-bad-literature. Made me so sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 12/9/2012

    " Very depressing. The back story of an event pivotal to the development of the Inspector Linley character, and therefore necessary to the series, but a sad and exhausting tale to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sophie Godley | 11/12/2012

    " The only Elizabeth George I could not read. Couldn't do it -- too sad, too depressing, too awful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jetty Zee | 10/23/2012

    " The only Elizabeth George I will never forget "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jannie | 3/19/2012

    " Wasted my time on this one. Was held captive because it was the only book I had on a 3 1/2 hr. flight each way. The middle 200 pages gave me hope but the other 500 pages were a huge drag and the ending was really bad. I guess I just don't understand the English mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 1/4/2012

    " not a typical Elizabeth George mystery - no murder until the last 10 pages - interesting anyway- I did have some trouble with the vernacular. Anxious to read the next book in the Inspector Lynley saga - Careless in Red "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MommaLaura | 12/11/2011

    " Too much cursing for my taste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 7/29/2011

    " This was too hard to finish. It's about a sweet boy who had no chance in life & I knew it ended with him shooting & killing a woman (whom I adored as a character). Just couldn't finish such a realistic, depressing story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 CYNTHIA | 7/23/2011

    " This book seemed to be a departure from George's usual style. The story did not flow, but instead was difficult to really "get in to" due to the choppy quality of the plot. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 5/20/2011

    " It can be painful to read about people who make the wrong decision at every turn. In my opinion, too much came before he shot her. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janet | 5/12/2011

    " I really enjoy Elizabeth George's books, but I thought this one was very depressing with no redemption for any of the characters. I would not recommend it, but read her others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 5/4/2011

    " Love the way she writes and the depth of her characters. Incredible. But could have moved on with the story a bit.....got a bit tedious about 2/3s through the book.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristine | 5/1/2011

    " The best of all the books George has written so far. It's as much a social commentary as it is a mystery. Everyone who wants to understand why someone might commit a crime should read this book - but only if they want to view the world differently. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn | 2/2/2011

    " The saddest book I've ever read. A compelling story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sophie | 1/17/2011

    " The only Elizabeth George I could not read. Couldn't do it -- too sad, too depressing, too awful. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gerald | 1/12/2011

    " Far too turgid for me. I made it through 8.5 pages, then gave up.

    I actually read one of her books all the way through some years ago. I forgot. Just not my style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 1/11/2011

    " Fabulous! Elizabeth George brilliantly uses a mystery story as a social commentary. Heart breaking and compelling all at once; I knew very bad things were to happen yet I couldn’t put it down. "

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