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Sunday 26 February 2023

‘Open Season’ by Quintin Jardine.

Published by Headline,
10 November 2022. 
ISBN: 978-1-4722-8287-3 (HB)

Sir Robert (Bob) Skinner, former senior police officer, is celebrating his son Ignacio’s 21st birthday with family and friends.  Relationships within the group are complicated and the family is described as ‘a jigsaw puzzle’.  Ignacio organises a run for the following morning, and he, DCI ‘Sauce’ Haddock, (an in-law), and Ignacio’s young brother, James, set out in the aftermath of Storm Boromir. As the runners move along, they can see the effects of the storm - the forest planted years ago to mark the birth of another family member has sustained major damage.  It becomes clear that James is going to win, and so Sauce and Ignacio jog quietly along behind, only to catch up with him - he has stopped and is looking at a fallen tree, its roots exposed and entwined with a human skeleton.

An investigation into a 30-year-old death begins and itself becomes entwined with other investigations and investigators.  Bob is still standing in as Chairman of one of the businesses his family is involved with (Xavi, the actual chairman has taken time off to sort his life out, following the death of his wife) and Bob is enjoying this new role.  However, though no longer a police officer, his knowledge of and involvement in previous cases and his connections with serving police officers result in him becoming involved in this new investigation and having to face up to his own mistakes.

This is a fast-paced novel, with the action moving between countries.  It has a large cast and tells an interesting story, in which historical crimes are revisited and unexpected relationships revealed.  Despite being the latest in a long line of books, it does work as a standalone, and may encourage new readers to dip into the thirty-three previous novels in the series.

Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood

He writes two other series featuring Primavera Blackstone and Oz Blackstone.

Quintin Jardine ditched a token attempt to study law for more interesting careers in journalism, government propaganda, and political spin-doctoring. He moved into media relations consultancy, before realising that all along he had been training to become a crime writer. Now, fifty-three novels later, he never looks back. He can be tracked down through his blog and website.

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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