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'They found Texas judge Whit Mosley's missing friends at Black Jack Point, dead and buried along with relics and bones from a legendary past. Whit opens an inquest into the murders, and is plunge into a shadowy world of ruthless treasure-hunters and double-crossing tycoons - all chasing a long-lost fortune in emeralds and gold.'
This is the premise of Jeff Abbott's Black Jack Point, a tale which sounds like it's come from the writers of the latest Disney movie, but that has somehow got lost along the way. I wasn't sold on the idea of pirates and hidden treasure, but I have read and enjoyed several of Abbott's previous novels (including Panic and Fear) so I thought I'd give this one a go. I'm undecided over it really. The story is full of the page turning twists and turns that you want from a suspense / thriller novel, but it just didn't grip me quite as much as I wanted it to.
The story revolves around Judge Whit Mosley, a character familiar from previous Abbott novels. He's a likeable character who isn't squeaky clean and who in fact does have a few enemies. His sidekick is Detective Claudia Salazar, also familiar from previous stories. She is another likeable character who is feisty and successful in a man's world. The platonic relationship that they have is a refreshing change from the usual love stories that run through these type of series', although I suspect that their relationship may change in further instalments. I hope it doesn't.
The secondary characters are all just that; not striking enough to remember once you've finished reading, but well enough written to carry themselves in the story. I think one of the complaints I have about this story is the number of characters involved. The idea is obviously to build up a story where any number of solutions is possible and you are left guessing until the very end. But I found that the opposite happened - there were so many twists and turns that it became confusing. Meaning that the only person I could focus on was indeed incorporated in the crime in some way - leaving me to feel that the ending was a little predictable.
Abbott's writing style is relaxed and informal, which means that reading his books is not a challenge. This is again the case with Black Jack Point, making it a great holiday read and a book that is easy to pick up and put down. In fact the story of pirates and treasure is one that should indeed be read whilst you are sitting by the sea.
The nature of the tale is of fantasy and fortune - something that you do only seem to hear in fairy tales. But Abbott does a good job of making something of children's fiction into an acceptable adult's story. Whilst at times I felt a little as if the story had reached the realms of make believe, I found it for the most part and pretty believable tale.
Overall, I would say this book is of average success. In my opinion, it isn't nearly as good as his previous novels, but I did read it until the end and I did enjoy it. My recommendation if you are thinking about an Abbott book would be to start at one of his others, but this isn't a bad story at all.