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5 May 2010
Review: INHUMAN REMAINS, Quintin Jardine
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline (5 Feb 2009)
Her mind still filled with thoughts of her dead ex-husband, Oz, Primavera Blackstone is in Spain with their son Tom when their peace is breached again with the arrival of her elderly but formidable aunt, Adrienne McGowan. All is not well in Auntie Ade's world; her roguish son Frank has become involved with a shady international casino project and has disappeared. Prim flies to Seville to track him down, only to find herself a fugitive, with her life under threat, as her aunt joins the missing persons list, and Tom is forced to flee to safety. As she and her companion in danger cross Spain in a struggle to keep themselves alive, and to free Adrienne, Prim finds herself at the centre of a maelstrom of mystery...
Even after reflecting for a few hours since finishing this book I'm still not quite sure what to make of it.
It is in many ways a light read, a bit of a thriller with some sex thrown in for good measure.
As the blurb says, Oz Blackstone, the subject of 9 previous Quintin Jardine titles, has died and Prim now has custody of their 7 year old son. Prim is in fact Oz's ex-wife, and Tom has a step-mum with whom he spends some of his time. When Auntie Ade, sister of Prim's dead mother, phones to ask if she can come to stay, Prim agrees. Auntie Ade on arrival reveals that she wants Prim to track down her son Frank who appears to have disappeared without trace. Auntie Ade agrees to stay with Tom while Prim flits off to find Frank, and then disappears herself without trace while Tom is out walking the dog on the beach.
In the long run I found the plot a whole lot too unlikely, accompanied by an un-nerving suspicion that I wasn't being told the whole truth. Prim thinks others around her a bit gullible and uncaring, but the same accusation can be levelled at her. I didn't find her a particularly likeable character. I also kept feeling there was quite a bit of back story that I wasn't privy to, and have just the vaguest suspicion that Oz isn't really dead. I didn't find the final resolution all that satisfactory either.
My rating: 4.2
On the other hand, INHUMAN REMAINS is now the first in the Primavera Blackstone series with a second title BLOOD RED published in 2009. So here is your chance to be in at the beginning of a series, and maybe you will like this one better than I did.
Quintin Jardine is a Scottish writer who now has 30 published novels.
This is from his website:
The Oz Blackstone mystery series is written in the first person and follows the narrator’s hapless career as an unwilling detective, with an uncanny resemblance to Keanu Reeves, as he rises to international celebrity status by a quite unexpected and unplanned route, until Keanu Reeves is seen as having an uncanny resemblance to him. His exploits began with ‘Blackstone’s Pursuits’ and continue through seven more novels to the much-praised ‘Alarm Call’, and imminently, to ‘For the Death of Me’. The Oz series began as something QJ did on his holidays, and continues whenever he feels at his most irresponsible. An unfortunate tendency to homicide that developed during Oz’s career led to his off-stage demise. However the Blackstone standard has been raised once more, this time in Spain, by his feisty ex, Primavera, whose first adventure, ‘Inhuman Remains’, was published in February 2009.
In 2002 Quintin Jardine was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger in the Library
If you want to follow Quintin Jardine on Twitter he is skinnercop - a nickname that comes from the name of the protagonist in his non-Blackstone series..