*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: A Defense Secretary shooting. The collapse of the Home Office Secretary. London’s high-ranking civil servants are being targeted, and DCI Jack Austin is drawn out of retirement.
When his wife is kidnapped, inept savant DCI Austin leads the rescue mission while trying to solve the recent mystery, and discover the motives of the master conspirator.
Racing towards the chaotic conclusion, can he find solace in a welcome retirement, and uncover the supreme Machiavellian plot?
Merde and Mandarins is the fifth book in Pete Adams’ Kind Hearts and Martinets series, and neatly wraps up the overarching series plot featuring a criminal mastermind orchestrating everything in Portsmouth from drug running, human trafficking and people smuggling, to political crimes on a country-wide scale.
Whilst these books can mostly stand alone, I would definitely recommend reading the series in order, in order to get the full Jack “Jane” Austin experience.
The style and tone of these books is classic slapstick British humour crossed with espionage thriller action and romcom relationships… and Pete Adams really makes it work. With a plethora of very contagious in-jokes, running gags, nicknames, and misquotes, the loyal reader feels like one of the team (minus the constant danger to life, limb and dignity).
We see less of Jo Jums and the Community Policing team this time round, as Jack previously flounced and now spends most of this book wambling about whether or not he actually retired or not, whilst clearly still neck-deep in the spook stuff. As a result, we get somewhat less of the usual running gags and the plot was much more easy to follow. In fact, I may have been sharing Jack’s bathwater too long at this point, as many of his actions actually made sense to me!
All the chaotic capers and silly shenanigans in the world cannot mask the fact that these books have a serious social (and political) message at the heart. Jack openly and tearfully shares his beliefs about community and looking after each other (especially the vulnerable), and always puts his trousers where his mouth is when it comes to his actions too. Even when he’s not actually wearing any trousers.
The grand finale of this story, whilst tidying up issues of Jack’s career and his Holmesian nemeses, opens the door to a new series in a similar-but-different vein, as Jack and Mandy move in a new-old direction to open their own detective agency; so look out for the Dada Detective Agency series coming soon. (There is a lovely guest post by the author here, on A Lover of Books blog, which contains loads of information about what is to come, and some typical Pete Adams humour too!).
If you enjoy your crime thrillers packed with action, mystery, social messages, great characters and daft jokes then this is the series for you!
Jack stopped looking at his backside, which coincided with his search for a pint glass, and as he scanned the reception room he could see the Queen wore a confused frown; not crown, that was quite clear and not at all confusing, Jack thought, amusing himself. He was quite amusing, to himself, and often made himself laugh. ‘What a wag I am,’ he would say, reinforcing his self-esteem that, believe it or not, hovered quite low; often on the floor; the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, PTSD, the psychiatrists said, not that Jack agreed with them. To him, the way he felt, and as a consequence behaved, was his mid-life crisis, which, if he could add up correctly, meant he would live to be at least one hundred and twenty, and he was quite pleased about that.
‘You are not a wag, you’re a bozo, and heaven help me and those in our care home if you live to be a hundred and twenty. Now, go and help the Queen, please,’ Mandy repeated, menace in the “please”.
– Pete Adams, Merde and Mandarins
Merde and Mandarins 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!