Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Martin O'Brien
Preface, November 2010
368 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 1848090587

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Martin O'Brien's Daniel Jacquot series has been a thoroughly reliable one. Where it is excels is in leisurely, relaxed storytelling where good food and drink are as important as tracking down the criminals.

Chief Inspector Jacquot is a former rugby international, renowned for scoring the winning try against the old enemy, England, in his one appearance for France. He's aged well, although his trademark ponytail has finally gone.

Jacquot is living in rural and domestic bliss with artist girlfriend Claudine. Joining them in BLOOD COUNTS is Claudine's daughter Midou, temporarily home from working overseas.

O'Brien shows his hand early on in BLOOD COUNTS, as we have a good idea why murders are taking place and who's committing them. The link appears to be with rich and arrogant Virginie Cabrille, who walked from a murder charge. But she is a wily operator and Jacquot hasn't a scrap of evidence against her. By the halfway mark, though, we've got a fair idea who will be next, so it becomes a will they/won't they, as Jacquot must protect those closest to him.

Amidst the picturesque setting of rural France and the bustle of Marseilles, O'Brien conjures up some real menace and bloodshed. It's effective because of the understated style of the storytelling and the contrast with the more civilised things in life. If O'Brien ever considers publishing a Jacquot recipe book, he could have a fair few takers!

He only once takes his eye off the ball where the villains' next move is signalled in technicolour and which will have every genre reader in the universe shooting out of their seats and screaming: "Nooooooo, don't . . .!"

Jacquot tends to dominate the story, so, with the exception of cycling-mad colleague Brunet, we don't see much of police colleagues. But O'Brien is effective at inking in cameo portraits of the supporting cast, including restauranteurs, hoteliers, taxi drivers and assorted law and order officials.

BLOOD COUNTS is a tense and engrossing read, which tantalises the reader with the sights and smells of rural France before blindsiding them with the horror of the murders.

Sharon Wheeler is a UK-based journalist, writer and lecturer.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, April 2011

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]