* Prices may differ from that shown
I have loved the Bob Skinner detective series by Quintin Jardine, so I thought I would try some of the other novels he has written over his 20 year career, so I picked up this book from the Oz Blackstone series. I have read one other in this series, Poisoned Cherries. This was over the summer, and although I liked the characters in the novel and found them to be well written, I did find the whole thing a bit cheesy in places. However, I was willing to put this thought behind me and have another go with the series.
For the Death of Me is set later in the series than Poisoned Cherries, but I had no problem diving right in and getting into the story. Events from the novels inbetween the 2 I have mentioned that were significant are explained in enough detail to fill gaps, without being boring or patronising.
Oz Blackstone is now a huge movie star, with homes in LA, Monaco, and his native Scotland. He has the family lifestyle, but is a bit of a jet setter these days, compared to his humble policeman origins. He is now happily married to Suzy Gantry, and he has 2 children with her now, plus a son from his first marriage to Primavera who he has custody of.
The start of the novel sees Oz with some family trouble. After his father suffers a huge heart attack, he flies home to be at his bedside. There, he is approached by his brother in law, Harvey January, who is about to be appointed as Scotland's youngest Judge on the Bench. The only niggle is his ex-wife, Madelaine January, who after a disharmonious divorce has been waiting for just such an occasion to publish some photos of Harvey in a compromising position.
Oz is asked to sort this matter out to protect his family. He traces the woman around the world, ending in Singapore where he gets a lot more than he bargained for. The woman's skills as a photographer and jealous nature, means she has uncovered key members from the Triad organisation putting everyone into more danger than they could ever know.
I absolutely adored this book. The characters are so realistic and the events of the novel all happened so naturally, although from the outcome of the novel it is clear to me that it had been planned so superbly to make it happen. I never predicted which way the novel was going to go, and the skill of the author impressed me.
The author has a little slip up of mentioning people in his novel which either is his age making him unaware that the pop culture reference is laughable to a younger audience, or is just that the novel has dated already, which I don't think is that possible from a 2006 novel. The first example that struck me was a little thing the character Oz said about people stopping Keanu Reeves in the street because they thought that it was him. There are many more famous actors like Johny Depp, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney who were around then. I think Keanu hasn't been in fashion really since the matrix films a lot earlier. The second thing was a show he was on, where the other guest was Eric Cantona. While I know who both these people are aged 32, there are many younger readers who might find these more obscure.
I can forgive him this though, as a couple of moments of 'What?????' in my head while I was reading did not really distract me from thinking it was a cracking novel. It felt really dangerous, and I genuinely had fears for Oz at points in the novel and whether he would make it.
The ending was a big twist, which was a shock to me after the way the rest of the book had been panning out. I have been left wanting to read more to see what is going to happen next.
It is nice to see that Jardine knows about lots of different places in the world, and can believably write about them, and I love how this makes each crime novel I have read of his feel different, when it could be starting to get a bit stale.
Well worth reading in my opinion. And very hard to put down.