In an article in the Guardian this week a journalist listed all the cliches that book reviewers use on a regular basis and was pretty sneery about them all. So, just to warn you, that three of these apparently appalling cliches are going to be used in this review. The three words I should not use it seems, are:
Gripping. Page turner. Unputdownable.
Well Guardian readers look away now because I am now going to tell you that Knife Gun Poison Bomb by Martin O'Brien, the latest Inspector Jacquot book is, guess what? GRIPPING. A PAGE TURNER and UNPUTDOWNABLE. So there.
Back in 2012 I was sent The Dying Minutes by this author and I opened it up, started to read it and that was that. Read straight through and totally hooked and here is my review here.
Since then I have read all of the Jacquot books and, after reading this latest, am embarking on yet another re-read as I simply love them. Have some on my Kindle so must download some more as I am hooked again.
So what is this about? It is a multilayered, multi-charactered mystery which, as ever, all interlink and affect the outcome of the mystery/murders in a very clever way. It never seems contrived but arises naturally out of the narrative and story line.
First up, we have a Russian arms dealer who, having betrayed some seriously nasty people, is on the run heading for a new life with a new name and a new destination. On paper a really horrid bloke but somehow I found myself rooting for him. Don't ask.
Secondly, there is an attacker on the loose. Somebody who can get close to the chosen target and twist a knife into the victim's gut and then slit their throat. Not nice but this killer is on a mission and has a reason for choosing the victims. Then a wish for penitence sends the murderer to the local Catholic church for confession and forgiveness, terrifying the priest who hears the admission of sin.
And so we come to Daniel Jacquot, lovely gorgeous sexy Daniel with the crooked nose, the beautiful eyes
and dressed in his customary leather jacket and jeans. Oh be still my beating heart. He and Claudine, his lover, are happy and settled and looking forward to the birth of their child, or rather children, as she is expecting twins. Rather alarmingly she is taken ill and rushed off to hospital and then to a special clinic where, to Daniel's relief, she rests and recovers. Unfortunately, there is somebody in a bed in a room on the same floor who is recovering from the latest knife attack which he survived. His bed is being guarded as it is none other than the Russian arms dealer who fell foul of the attacker and his identity has been revealed.
From several interested parties come assassins to finish him off. One to knife him, one to poison him, one to shoot him and one intent on setting off a bomb and take some other infidels along with him as well.
Thus, the scene is set, for a simply nail biting finish and I really cannot say too much as I do not wish to give any clue to the ending. Suffice it to say, it does NOT end as I thought it would and the author caught me out beautifully and left me reeling.
I wish Martin O'Brien a long and healthy life and many years of happily writing ahead of him. This is Jacquot No 8 and nothing will satisfy me except in ten years time reading No 20.
A terrific book and I am going to use a word that the Guardian cannot say is a cliche because I have yet to see this in the pages of the Heavies or even the tabloids for that matter. Knife Gun Poison Bomb is a stonkeroonie of a book. Not even sure if I have spelled that correctly but I don't care really.
If you have yet to make the acquaintance of the beguiling Inspector and his background of France and Marseilles and wine and food and sea and smells and ......well, just get on with it and read them.