I have over the past two years had the pleasure of reading many novels by Jo Bannister. She writes Detective thrillers or adventure books. When I saw this one at my local car boot sale I was more than happy to pay the 25p it was on sale for. Even if I had read it, I would still have bought it at that price, but fortunately I had not.
==About the author:==
Jo Bannister is a very popular British author. She was born in 1951 and changed her career from being a journalist on a local paper to writing novels. Thus far she has written 32 books in various series, for example she has written four featuring Clio Rees and Harry Marsh and a further five in the Castlemere series. The book I am reviewing is part of the Brodie Farrell series.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Brodie Farrell spends her time finding things for people it could be anything from family histories to paintings, that is her job as unusual as it sounds. However her life and regular routine are turned upside down when she discovers she is pregnant. Having recently separated from her boyfriend Detective Inspector Jack Deacon and to say their relationship has now become difficult is a complete understatement; as a result all her feelings and emotions are all churned up.
Meanwhile Detective Inspector Alix Hyde has arrived in town specifically to try and get evidence against a local villain Terry Walsh. Jack kindly lets Hyde borrow his best man and sergeant Charlie Voss to help collect this and his local knowledge it is hoped will be invaluable for this purpose.
In another part of the town Daniel Hood is being trained by Brodie to take over her business when she takes time off for her new arrival. He is minding the shop one day when a troubled 12-year-old boy comes in looking for help. Daniel cannot resist helping people and in a bid to find out what the boys problem is he agrees to tutor him at home in Maths after school just so he can find out this secret.
==My thoughts on the book:==
I thought was basically a fair read and quite an interesting suspense novel. It had some very good elements about it, such as the personalities of the books characters were all wonderful being so contrasting and strong. It was well written throughout with a lot of mystery involved within the storyline.
As I said earlier I have read many books by this talented author, including several featuring Brodie Farrell. So I roughly knew what to expect, having said that this one was different in style and content from the others, but enjoyable none the less.
This is the seventh in a series of eight novels and was written in 2007. I do not think it matters too much if you have nor read the previous ones, as you can pick up what is happening and what has transpired because the author always explains to new readers and reminds other readers of this.
I must admit I have never read these books in the correct order. But it would be sensible to do this as you can see the relationships change between the three main characters, Brodie, Hood and Deacon who are constants in all the books. So as well as a great Detective story you get a developing relationships too enjoy and see how they change over the series.
I thought the title to the book was superb and for me it conjured up all sorts of possibilities. And having read the good summary I could not wait to start it. I liked the idea of Brodie needing to make some very important decisions about her life and the men within it. The thought of well-intentioned Daniel running her business amused me, because as kind and thoughtful as he is he is no businessman.
The book in truth I thought was never going to get started. As the first 50 pages of it dealt with the Brodie/ Hood/Deacon complex triangular relationship. With Brodie discovering she was pregnant she did lots of soul searching with her best friend Daniel about how this was going to effect her and her other daughter Paddy and what the babies father would make of the situation. It was a little slow for me and I thought this could have been dealt with much quicker so the real story could begin.
Although I found this interesting a new reader to this authors work might well wonder what on earth was going on and was the real story ever going to start. Indeed even I wondered when it would, despite this being well written and dealing with all the characters emotions and worries dealing with this new development.
The story was unusual in the sense that all the Brodie Farrell books it is usually Brodie and Jack Deacon are Centre stage within the investigations. In this one it was left to their sidekicks Sergeant Voss and Daniel Hood. This was a nice change and always in the background where the other two to help or advise whether it was required or not. It gave you a chance to learn more about these characters and their attitudes and thoughts.
There were two threads to the story, both of them interesting, both that needed investigation and very different from each other. I enjoyed then both but thoughts they both lacked real depth and substance. One was about a local villain that the Serious Crime Squad were trying to put away with limited and doubtful evidence. While the other centred on Child Abuse, but again seemed to lack bite.
For the Local villain story I must admit the story developed in a way I did not expect and that made it fascinating for me. But the Child Abuse story I saw the answer very early on so I was bored by it as I was just waiting conformation of what I already suspected so for me lacked any mystery about it and was quite dull.
The conclusion to the story was full of excitement and tension despite me knowing who it was. It was written in an intelligent way with a few good twists to keep all readers involved in it. I found I was keen to find out what would happen to all the characters in the end.
The book to start with meandered along but as the two stories started the pace and my interest in the stories grew. I would not say this was the best book in the series but it was always interesting if not pulsating. With the author always having a trick or two up her sleeve to alter your perspective on the stories.
The novels three main characters were always involved either in the stories or in the background. I always found them superbly written for, they all have strong but diverse personalities and I always enjoy the way they interact with each other. There is always something new to learn about them and for me they make the book worthwhile as a read alone.
However not only are the authors main characters excellent but she also creates a strong and rich in detail supporting cast. She clearly has a good idea before she puts pen to paper about her characters and she explains their actions, emotions and thoughts very clearly and understandably.
One thing I did find lacking was humour, usually there is quite a bit of it sometimes in the form of sarcasm, but this novel for me was more sombre, maybe because it was dealing with some sensitive subjects but I thought it was the poorer for it. As we all need humour to get as through even the hardest situations.
For me the key success to this series of books is the changing dynamics between the books three main characters. You never know what they will do next and sometimes you want to bash their heads together as they're usually on the same side but have different perspectives on it.
The books length was about right. Although I would like to have seen more groundwork leading to the conclusion of the Villain case. Maybe to have Jack more involved and discovering some vital clues that helped in the investigation. But the ending is good and fascinating that's all I'm going to say about it and lays the seeds for future novels.
The more I think about this the less I am convinced this is a good read at all. I think I would say it was fair to middling and so I will not recommend it. For me it was lacking in depth and detail in the two stories, nothing really grabbed me and captivated my interest. The main redeeming feature was the books excellent characters and the way they entertained with their interactions.
Publisher: Allison & Busby
About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/jo-bannister
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS September 2009