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review 2019-10-03 12:06
Entertaining and engaging
TURPITUDE - Pete Brassett

An amusing and clever foray into the world of Scottish policing in a remote community. DI West has to join up the dots when it comes to a moped gang, a murdered jeweler and a man who is minus his fingers.

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review 2019-09-13 03:15
Jack Austin's crusade continues
Irony In The Soul: Nobody Listens Like The Dying - Pete Adams

I'm going to be quick, because it's late and I'm bushed—also, the more I talk about this, the less I seem to like the book. Which isn't fair—I do like it—but I have issues with it, too. You ever see the memes or jokes online about someone saying they have 6-pack abs, but they're just hiding/protecting them under a layer of fat? That's precisely how this book seems to be constructed.

 

Picking up some weeks after Cause and Effect: Vice Plagues the City, Jack "Jane" Austen is prepared to come back to work, when something happens to compel him to come back. A priest and an imam are violently murdered, with clear indications that the same people behind these attacks were those responsible for the conspiracy uncovered in Cause and Effect, to cause unrest (at least) between the stagnant Christians and the local Muslims, and hopefully spilling over into a large-scale societal unrest.

 

You'd think this would be enough to bring Jack back early, so he could try to prevent things from getting worse—and he does. He just has to be eccentric for a while in front of his staff, purposely getting himself in trouble and provoking his new Chief. Because that's what the situation calls for, I guess. I'm glad we're told over and over again how brilliant he is, and what a good cop, too—because you might miss it otherwise.

It's a shame we spend so much time with Jack and Mandy off doing all sorts of non-police things (read: sex, talking about sex, and mooning over each other), because the rest of Jack's team are some truly interesting characters, and it'd be great to see them work. We catch little glimpses of them at work (and some brief idea about their off-duty life), and I think this novel told about them instead of Jack and Mandy would be a much more interesting work.

 

The word that kept coming to mind (and my notes) as I read this was "self-indulgent." Adams clearly enjoys talking about some things and making the same jokes—he made one 3 times in the first 4% of the book (and countless times in the other 96%). We get pages and pages of Jack and Mandy romancing each other (and at least one of their subordinates makes a pointed remark about their priorities), of Jack going out of his way to be obnoxious, and other assorted things that seem to actually hinder the investigation. Now Adams is far from the first to be this way—Robert Galbraith's latest could use a good trim (of about 150-200 pages), as did many of Robert P. Parker's later works. So the fact that I want to cut about 300 pages from this book puts him in some okay company. In those 300 pages, little happens t advance the plot and we don't deepen our understanding of the characters, because it covers the same ground over and over and over (again, see later Parker).

 

All that said, the last 25%± of the novel is really good. Almost all of the weaknesses of the book that had been bugging me faded into the background and the crime story came to the forefront (finally). This is the kind of thing I'd been waiting for. If the book was this part, plus another 50 or so pages to set the scene, create a tone, and whatnot—this would be a much more enthusiastic post. As it is, this last chunk of the book redeems the rest and almost makes it worth the effort to get your hands on the book.

 

Am I still curious about where things are going, and how Adams plans to get there? Absolutely. I will keep reading—and I did enjoy these books, I just wish they'd be put on a diet so I don't have to trudge through all the excess material.


My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/09/12/irony-in-the-soul-nobody-listens-like-the-dying-by-pete-adams-jack-austins-crusade-continues
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review 2019-08-30 03:01
It's some effort, but readers will be amused by this
Cause And Effect: Vice Plagues The City (Kind Hearts And Martinets #1) - Pete Adams

I almost DNF'ed this one. I'll talk more about that in a little bit, but I want that stated upfront. I hope some readers will decide to give this a try, but I want to warn some (I'm thinking of fellow citizens of the U.S. here) that it might take a little work. I also want to stress that I do recommend this book, because I think it'd be easy to walk away from what I'm about to say with a different impression.

 

Detective Inspector Jack Austin is the kind of cop that can make Jake Peralta look like Joe Friday. He's undisciplined, offensive, easily distracted, far too concerned about coming on to women and joking around when he should be focusing on work. Yet, within the police, he's (almost) universally loved and deferred to. The citizens he polices may love him more. That "almost" will prove hazardous to his career, but he can't seem to be bothered by that.

 

The title (and marketing) would lead you to believe this is Crime Fiction—and it is, to a degree. But this tale about a multifaceted crime wave running through this city has several issues. My main problem with this storyline is how little police work we got to see. Jack would make some guesses, which would prove to be unerringly correct, but most of the actual work (including, testing those guesses) was done by his team off-screen. Sure, there's some intimidation of suspects and a lot of heroics by Jack. But, it rarely seemed that Adams was all that interested in the investigation—there were heinous crimes, some horrific human costs—but those frequently took second place to Jack goofing around. This is only something I've realized as I was writing this post, in the moment, you get caught up in the story and don't realize that this near-super cop doesn't actually do much. Suddenly, that joke I made about Jake Peralta doesn't seem as funny. Jack really has a lot in common with Jake, for both of them, despite their juvenile antics, they're beloved, and seem to solve a decent number of crimes.

 

I actually liked the story around the crimes and thought some of what was used there was pretty ingenious. But in retrospect, I realize that it's pretty meager as storytelling goes.

 

There were two other things the novel focused on more (and better) than the criminal investigation. The first is a romance for the out of shape (and not all that attractive) widower, Jack Austin. Things finally click for Jack and a woman he'd been interested in for years since his wife died. This is a sweet story, and I quickly became interested in it, and my interest only waned (and then only a bit) when I was starting to notice how much space the book was spending on it.

 

What Adams seems most interested in is talking about (or having his characters talk about) Jack Austin—what kind of man he is, what was his life (professionally and personally) before this book ended. The amount of space devoted to off-duty Jack Austin is a lot greater than you might expect going into this book, but it's the heart and soul of the book. The latter chapters of the book are very intent on teasing this out via challenges to his new romance and his career—but a lot of that doesn't seem like it should be present, I think it would've felt more natural in books 3 or 4. It's laudatory enough to make you wonder about the way the novel works, it doesn't feel earned (as it would coming up later in the series), so that rather than letting the reader discover what a swell guy/great cop he is over the course of a series, we're just told it. However, Austin's character and qualities are not only is this what Adams seems interested in talking about more than anything else, but it's also pretty compelling and interesting—moreso than anything else in the book. So take my hesitation about it with a large grain of salt.

 

The emotions are real, and will get you dragged in—there's a lot of pretty moving material here in a book that seems to think it's a comedy (it's light-hearted, but I don't think actually ever funny). I appreciated the heart and emotion in every scene and it's this kind of thing that won me over.

 

So what was my problem with the book? Jack's so intent on being eccentric that he intentionally misspeaks, uses nicknames for characters (so you have to learn the nickname as well as the actual name for a whole lot of characters from the starting gate). Throw in some nigh indecipherable Cockney rhyming slang (and a little bit that was more easily decipherable) and you've got a real challenge to read. But because I'd agreed to do this Book Tour (and ones for the next four books in the series), I had to press on when I really wanted to set (throw?) the book aside. Instead, I went with the immersion approach to learning a foreign language, trusting that eventually something would click for me with the phrasing and everything would make sense. By the 45% point, I'd grown accustomed to his Jack's idiosyncratic dialogue and thinking (probably sooner, but I didn't notice for a little bit.

 

I mention this only to be forthcoming for potential readers. This isn't a book to read casually but to plod through with all your critical faculties operating. So, yes, I had to work a lot harder to get through this book than I'm typically inclined to, but I'm glad I did. Not only was it worth the effort, I'm curious and invested enough to look forward to what happens next. Hopefully, you're smarter than I am and don't have any problems for the first half (or not that many), so you can enjoy the whimsical and amusing book at an earlier stage than I did. At the end of the day, however, it's a fun book and worth the effort.


My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/08/29/cause-and-effect-vice-plagues-the-city-by-pete-adams-its-some-effort-but-readers-will-be-amused-by-this
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review 2019-06-11 01:01
Pete the Cat and the New Guy - James Dean,Kimberly Dean

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Sadly, this series just isn't what it used to be. This one was good overall in comparison to some of the other newer books in the series Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes. It has a good flow and rhyme scheme.

The story also has a great message about making new friends and being different. 

As always, the illustrations were nice. I liked this one better than many of the more recent books in the series, but it still wasn't quite as good as the original books.
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review 2019-06-11 00:51
Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes - James Dean,Kimberly Dean,James Dean
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Okay read. It was a nice play on a subtraction/counting story as well as a cute little mystery, but the wording came off as clunky to me. The rhyming was nice, but it just didn't have a good flow like some of the earlier books. The story itself was a bit choppy.

Cute illustrations with a nice story, but the writing and awkward flow of the book kind of sunk it.
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