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Having enjoyed the series based upon the detective Bob Skinner, which was also written by Quintin Jardine, I thought that I would try the other series he has written, based on a character called Oz Blackstone. I was interested to see if the author could tackle another character and convince me as much as he had with the Skinner series, which I had very much enjoyed.
The first few chapters had me trying to figure out the new character a bit. Again, a male central character. This time, the character is an actor, I am not sure if he has been an actor in every book, as there was reference to a short lived police career (which sounds a bit familiar to me - hum.)
This is at least book 6 in the series, but I didn't feel that mattered too much as there were references in the book to past relationships and events that were fairly well explained, so I felt in some ways the author had become aware of his failings in his previous series and worked to improve.
Oz is a bit hard to like at first, as he is a bit of a womaniser, but I did find myself growing to like him, especially as he is quite an astute man who acts in a more likeable manner when he faces his responsibilities.
At the start of the book, we see Oz split from his wife Primavera, and move back to his native Edinburgh to take a role in a film being directed by his brother in law, Miles Grayson. This again, is starting to sound more than a little familiar, with the whole of the Skinner series being based around Edinburgh, but it does not feel too bad as the author is not rehashing familiar old ground over the scenery at least.
The bit that then started to make me cringe, was that he was filming Book One of the Skinner series, Skinner's rules. At first this was a bit of a cliche talking about the characters from the book and the plot, but then there was a bit that I just didn't know whether to laugh about or just walk away altogether with a lack of further respect. There is a party before filming, and the author of the book is there. So you end up with the author of the current book becoming a bit character in his fictional novel, as the author of his other fictional novel. It was just cringeworthy.
Other than that, the film is just a minor thing really, as the biggest thing is that there are a couple of murders where an old flame of Oz's is the biggest suspect. He is highly involved in investigating these events, due to having a short and unsuccessful career in the police force, and he is working alongside his old nemesis to prove the woman's innocence.
Overall, I didn't know how much I liked this that much to be honest, as it kind of did feel like a bit of a cash in or a 'cop out' if you will excuse the pun of the authors previous successful character and series, and it just felt a little fake. However, he does write fairly well, and it did work overall. If you weren't aware of the other series you would probably actually think it was a lot better than I am currently giving it credit. So I think I shall award a 3 star rating as there are better books out there, but there are also a lot worse. At least this author knows something about characters, pace, and tension, to write something that is a pleasant read.