*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and to Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable.
When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.
Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?
Buckle up buttercups and Bennets, because DI Jack “Jane” “Bat-Bat” Austin and his merry band of un-PC PCs are back and they are taking no prisoners. No, wait, did I say that out loud? They are definitely planning to take prisoners… they’ve just got to find out whodunnit and whydunnit first.
If you haven’t read Book 1 of this series, Cause and Effect, then I suggest you pop off and read that one first, spit spot, otherwise you may find yourself baffled by the various idiosyncrasies and quirks that drive Jane’s dialogue and inner (or not) monologues and can cause a false impression of errors in the text. Rest assured, the ‘errors’ are in fact all the character’s own! And surprisingly, it is part of what makes him ridiculously endearing, with the emphasis on the ridiculous.
In terms of plot, this book is even more chaotic than the first (yes, it turns out that is possible). The stakes are up and we are no longer chasing down drug busts and paedophile rings; this is a criminal mastermind caper and disturbingly, but also intriguingly, they seem to share Jack’s own strong political beliefs. Can your whole heart be in a takedown if you agree with their motives, even if not their methods?
Luckily Jack’s whole heart is nowhere near the case, as he spends a good chunk of the story enjoying his newfound romance: in the bath, on holiday, on the office desk. It’s refreshing to see a couple who are not in the first flush of youth – or of societally-standard beauty – having a full, busy and extremely enthusiastic sex life. The honeymoon shenanigans also help to leaven the tone, as Jack struggles continually with PTSD and pending burnout symptoms. How much of this is exaggerated/feigned for sympathy and/or sneakiness and how much is the real deal I will leave to you to determine, but part of this character’s ‘realness’ is his genuine depth of emotional response to events.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, the whole team are here – Jo-Jums, Nobby, Alice, Pumps/Dobbin, KFC, Hissing Sid, Manners, Paolo, Father Mike, Del-Boy and Uncle Tom Cobley and all – but there is a vole in the station somewhere and it could be anyone. Also Pugwash is back to stir up some spite, and there’s a new Chief to be broken in to Jane’s way of working. All at the usual breakneck pace, with the reader not in on many of the jokes or insights until we’re already halfway down the road with them… It makes for an exhausting and exhilarating read!
Personally I am really enjoying Pete Adams’ fresh take on the old police procedural genre and am thoroughly looking forward to the next one. I should leave you with a warning though: Jane’s mannerisms are infectious, as Mandy is discovering, to both her detritus and entrancement. Reader, beware…! 😉
‘Comin’ up, babes,’ Jack replied, getting busy. They sat at the table while Jack waited for the kettle to boil and the mocha pot to mocha, Jack holding the gaze of Mandy through puffs of steam; on the station in Close Encounter, he thought.
‘God, have you two not got over the mooning stage,’ Jo remarked, ‘and it’s Brief Encounter.’ Jo was accustomed to Mr Malacopperism speaking his thoughts.
– Pete Adams, Irony in the Soul
Irony in the Soul is available on Amazon right now!
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour (details on the poster below) for more great reviews and content!
You can also pop back to me on 25th September when I will be reviewing the next book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, and check back to find my thoughts on Book 1, Cause and Effect.