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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book, infused with atmosphere and mystery - you won't want to put it down., 19 April 2012
The Dying Minutes by Martin O'Brien, set around the azure coastline of Marseilles, is the seventh in the detective novel series featuring the very likable, Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot. It begins with a gold bullion convoy being hijacked in 1972, of which part of the heist mysteriously disappears and becomes an unsolved case. Twenty seven years on, Chief Inspector Jacquot is recovering from gunshot wounds from a previous case (Blood Counts, book six in the series) and is on sick leave when he inherits a boat from an old fisherman who once knew his father. Jacquot is seduced by the elegant boat and life on the water, and it's not long before his inquisitive mind begins to wonder about its history and that of its ex-owner.

While Jacquot is discovering his sea legs and persuading his pregnant partner to keep the boat, his old flame Chief Inspector Isabelle Cassier, walks back into his life during the investigation of some brutal murders. The murders point to the missing gold and the involvement of two of the most feared gangland families on the coast. Isabelle seeks Jacquot's help with the investigation and he finds himself once again in close confinement with Isabelle as they work on the case together.

The Dying Minutes is beautifully written with a strong sense of place and atmosphere, transporting you right there to the South of France. It's a pure joy to read. The words create a realistic feel for life on the boat and in the harbour and villages around Marseilles, and you can almost taste the salt in the air, the exquisite wines and delicious food.

There are a lot of characters in this novel, which I found a little difficult to keep track of at first, but the chapters are short and introduce the well-defined players quickly so it wasn't long before they all slotted into place. The pace of the novel is steady and doesn't race along the pages but it's woven with mystery and an underlying sense of foreboding and is all together an exciting and unpredictable read.

I really liked the characters and how they interacted, especially Chief Inspector Jacquot. Above all, it's beautifully written, with a plot and characters that have been well thought out and delivered with a perfectly timed pace. I highly recommend this book, and now have an impatient need to check out the rest of the series.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!, 4 May 2012
By 
Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I was sent The Dying Minutes a week or two ago and noted that this was 'A Daniel Jacquot Novel' and is all about an ex-rugby playing French detective and set in Marseilles. Gallic shrug from moi and Que? I opened it and started to read and immediately found myself gripped (or should that be grippe...). I have not been to France for years and years and have never been to Marseilles, but after a few chapters of Martin O'Brien's book I had this overwhelming desire to catch a flight and fly there immediately. My French is of the La Plume de ma tante et sur la table de Mon Oncle variety, I know how to order a cafe au lait, can say Merde with the best of them and that is it, but I had this vision of moi sitting at a table on the waterfront knocking back a cafe, a Calva, eating freshly grilled fish and Danielsmoking a Galois, none of which I would dream of doing in real life. The book reeks of France and the sea and I simply loved it.

Two deaths occur. One is that of Philo, a fisherman known among his friends and acquaintances as le Philosophe, not because he was particularly clever or wise, but because he always had a book in his hand (my kind of homme) and there were not many fishermean who lay back on their drying nets to read a book. He leaves his executor to give his boat, Constance, to somebody who will love and appreciate her and thus it comes into the hands of our Hero, Daniel Jacquot recently recovering from being shot (an earlier book one presumes).

Second death - that of a convicted felon, Pierre-Louis Lombard. On his death bed he asks for his lawyer, Claude Dupont, to visit him and gives him a packet to take away. This packet contains the key to a long term left luggage locker in the Gare Saint-Charles and he is given instructions to take out its contents and deal with what is there.

"The first things he saw was the gold. A dull yellow glimmer at the bottom of the case...one by one he lifted out half a dozen linen drawstring bags....wads of banknotes bound in paper collars and rubber bands....a walled stack of currency twenty centimetres high. Then the black velvet pouches....diamonds, maybe thirty or forty stones, emeralds, green as wet moss and in the third pouch a spill of deep blue sapphires..."

Also in the bag are packets of documents and photos all of which are of prominent people in compromising situations. Dupont decides to use these photos to bring about retribution and starts sending them out to selected recipients all of whom react in different ways (one is a priest with a penchant for choir boys who commits suicide when he opens his morning mail and see what is inside).

Starting this process unfortunately starts a chain of events which soon lose control and it is not long before Mr Dupont and Mrs Dupont receive some very unpleasant visitors...

In total contrast, we hear of a refuge for battered wives receiving a large donation, in cash and anonymously, which will help keep them going for years; a small shabby cinema also receives money, enough to refurbish and to keep going and other charities and good causes find themselves blessed with unexpected largesse.

So two deaths, two different legacies - how are they tied together?

The answer is: gold. As we learn in a short prologue at the start of the book there was a gold heist, daring and well planned some thirty years before. Most of the gold was recovered but one lorry load went missing and somebody is still determined to find out where it went.

A great read, packed full of wonderful characters, danger, romance, sex, greed, excitement and culminating in an action packed boat chase and shoot out which I can imagine would make a stunning finish if this was ever filmed. Had me on the edge of my seat (several books have done that to me lately, it's getting a bit worn) and could not put down and was up till after midnight last night finishing it.

Off now to hunt out the rest of this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars J'adore Jacquot !, 25 Feb 2013
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For any of you who haven't yet discovered this series featuring the Marseille based, ex rugby playing detective Daniel Jacquot you are in for a feast, the books ooze french charm and intrigue, whats more they keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, I thoroughly recommend buying the whole lot of them and settling in for winter....mmmmmmmm
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gangsters with gourmet in Marseilles., 27 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Dying Minutes: (Jacquot 7) (Kindle Edition)
I have been a fan of the Jacquot series since the first book - The Waterman. In my opinion The Fifteen is the best so far, though Blood Counts is also good.
This is a rather darker book. We still have the affectionate descriptions of Marseilles and surroundings. Readers can hear the cicadas and savour the bouilliabasse. Jacquot is a well rounded character. The mystery at the heart of the plot is compelling - what is the true story behind Jacquot's nautical legacy?
However as the pace picks up in the second part of the book, the mystery story turns into an old fashioned chase. The book's many villains are rather one dimensional sadistic gangsters. The torture scenes do not take the story forward. The loss of subtlety is a pity and elements of the plot become rather contrived. Jacquot's impulsivity seems rather out of character.
In conclusion, though this is an enjoyable read it does not match the high standard of some of the other books in the series. Four stars rather than five.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling Adventure Story, 14 April 2012
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Anybody who reads the Jacquot novels will know to expect the unexpected - the assumption of the detective genre.

Martin O'Brien's latest delivery does much more than that. Daniel Jacquot, taking recuperative leave as a result of injuries sustained in the last novel "Blood Counts", becomes embroiled in the search for a ton of gold which was hidden following a major heist twenty years before. The organisers were never caught and neither was the gold bullion which becomes the centre of a chase by two of the most violent gangs in Marseilles, competing with each other and the local police to wrest the gold from its hiding place. They're ruthless, unpleasant and determined to be first.

Martin's unique style of descriptive writing, transports the reader to the South of France, its warmth, its smells, its atmosphere and of course its food. He has written yet another winning novel - one of his best yet.

This is an adventure story par excellence which should be made into a film. In the meantime, it will provide any reader with several hours of inescapable absorption in a "can't put down" novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French crime fiction, 26 April 2013
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This review is from: The Dying Minutes: (Jacquot 7) (Kindle Edition)
the Inspector Jacquot series makes entertaining reading. It's best to try and read them in order, since Martin O'Brien retains a thread running through the whole series, although each individual story stands on its own. The descriptions of Marseilles and surrounding country are evocative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good light read, 6 Jun 2012
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G. T. Coulton "Gus" (Mirambeau, France) - See all my reviews
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O'Brian has created a hero who is a tough French cop, irresistibly sexy and very lucky. There is a real sense of place and a good story line and the minor characters are well drawn. I just feel the ending lets it all down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good characters and location., 17 April 2013
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This review is from: The Dying Minutes: (Jacquot 7) (Kindle Edition)
Another good read, the characters and location are enjoyable, but there is a bit too much detailed violence for my some
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5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put-down able, 7 May 2013
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really exciting novel- I like all Martin O'Brien's books and this was excellent. would recommend it to all my friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: The Dying Minutes: (Jacquot 7) (Kindle Edition)
Again first time I have read series but have enjoyed all of the books so far and thanks very much
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