Top positive review
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Stick with it
on 6 May 2011
Well this was a bit of a departure from the norm, a Pyke mystery with a distinct Celtic flavour!
I found the fist chapter or two completely disorientating if I'm honest as the author has two story threads. Part one being Pyke is called to Merthyr Tydfil to investigate the kidknapping of a young boy. Part two sees young Irish Constable Knox investigating the death of what seems to a detective from London! whose corpse has ended up in Tipperary. But this thread is set a couple of months into the future. The author then switches from one story line to the other till they gradually begin to jion up.
Readers should know young constable Knox is given as much story time as Pyke himself so this had a very different feel to a typical Pyke mystery and again I have to confess the first 100 pages did drag a bit for this reader at least and only my faith in the author and affection for Pyke kept me going. But I am very glad I did because the last two thirds were brilliant!!
Expect lots of architypically evil landowners, lords and industrialists riding rough shod over the down trodden common man. Expect the gutter skirmishes of the poorest of the poor trying to just survive. And of course as this is Pyke, expect a grim, tragic and violent story full of murder and civil unrest.
I will say nothing else re the story line, as to do so would inevitably add in a bit of spoiling and that's the last thing you want when reading a detective story!
Pepper I think also makes a pretty serious effort to illustrate the Irish famine and the many thousands who died from the hunger and cold whilst a seemingly uncaring landed gentry of absentee landlords and the British Whig government of the day stood back offering no aid. Whilst this was well done and was shocking and tragic just did seem a little out of place in a Pyke story. However having got this message in and set a suitably grim historical backdrop Pepper gets back to what he does best, a couple of hundred pages of twisting plot and stomach churning confrontation.
Good stuff and I await with interest where the author will go now!