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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Jacquot And The Waterman by Martin O'Brien

I think I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I am on a mission of sorts to find a decent crime fiction series that I can get hooked into from the very beginning. On one of my regular blog-rounds I spotted a review of one of the Jacquot series by Martin O'Brien - unfortunately I can't remember now which blogger it was who brought these books to my attention but the premise immediately appealed to my inner Francophile so I quickly secured a swap for the first book in the collection.


Daniel Jacquot is an ex-rugby player with a glittering career behind him, having achieved national fame scoring the winning try in a Five Nations final. Sadly, a troublesome injury put paid to his sporting talent and he has returned to his home town, Marseilles, as a chief inspector with the homicide squad. In this book we find him on the hunt for a serial killer who the tabloid press have dubbed 'The Waterman' due to his nasty habit of leaving his victims to a watery grave.

I found this to be a really solid, well-written thriller. It started slowly and took me a while to get into it, but after about the 100-page mark I was gripped. The whole thing is meticulously plotted with a large cast of supporting characters, and O'Brien takes the time to develop even minor players and give the reader a real insight into their thoughts and behaviour. The narrative is made up of fairly short chapters that flit back and forth between different locations and characters. This ensured I stayed engrossed throughout, as I was constantly wanting to read 'just a bit more' to find out what would happen in my favourite plot strands. Martin O'Brien spent a number of years as travel editor at British Vogue and I suspect he may have spent a decent amount of time in Marseilles to paint such a vivid picture of the city with its lively seafront and seedy underbelly.

Aside from the slightly silly tagline (WHO says drowning is easy?!! They are wrong!) the only quibble I had with this book was with the ending. It initially seemed really abrupt and something of a cop-out - the author seems to have spent so much effort building a complex back-story with multiple plot strands and much of it is irrelevant to the final solution of the mystery. On reflection, though, I think I only felt disappointed because the finale was unexpected and didn't pan out the way I had wanted it to. Now that a bit of time has passed I feel that could actually be viewed as a positive.

I have already obtained a copy of book two in the Daniel Jacquot series so you can tell I was quite impressed by this one.

In other news, I am heading to London this weekend and have some time to kill with bookish company in the form of Justin Cronin's The Passage. If anybody has any recommendations of cosy places to while away an hour with a good cup of tea and maybe cake, please share them!

14 comments:

  1. I don't read thrillers that often but my inner Francophile is also drawn towards this. Maybe I'll wait until you've completed book 2 in the series! I have no advice re where to go in London but I hope you get as engrossed in The Passage as I did - although you might feel a bit lost in the middle, stick with it!

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    1. I've just finished The Passage and completely agree, I was hooked at the beginning, then there was a lull in the middle before it picked up again. Really enjoyed it though.

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  2. I reviewed one of his books a little while ago, The Dying Minutes, I don't know if you saw that? I hope you enjoy the series if you keep up with it.

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    1. Yes! I've just popped over to have a look at your review and that is exactly the blog post I was thinking of. Thank you for introducing the series to me!

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  3. I've never really gotten into crime thrillers, but I really ought to at some point. Super glad you've reviewed this, as it gives me a starting point when I start craving a crime novel! x

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    1. I always like to have a crime thriller waiting on my shelf, sometimes nothing else will do the trick! They are usually so easy to read.

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  4. I liked the early books in this series but the last couple didn't inspire me. Jaquot is a good character though and the French setting is very good too.
    Talking of series - have you tried either Camilleri's Montalbano or the Martin Beck books? I can recommend both.

    I can recommend the cafe at the top of Waterstones on Picadilly to have a cup of tea and a cake with a book!

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    1. I have read all the Martin Beck books and love them. I have even given them as presents to friends on more than one occasion! I've tried a couple of the Montalbano series a while ago and enjoyed them but didn't find them especially memorable and wasn't inspired to seek out more. Maybe I should give Camilleri another go.

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  5. Sounds good but if I add one more book to my tbr pile........

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. You have more TBR discipline than I do Lainy!x

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  6. I'm not a big fan of crime fiction (no real reason why not) but I do really enjoy the Flavia de Luce books. I'm sure you've seen them around but they're the perfect dose of literary mystery. Hope you enjoyed your time in London!

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    1. Nope, Flavia de Luce is a new one on me, Trish! I've just done a quick search and they do sound interesting, certainly an original premise and very different to the usual crime offerings I choose. I might well give one of these a try. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  7. Hello! Thanks for the comment on my blog (www.thebookclubblog.co.za), I don't normally do crime novels, but a really really good author is Deon Meyer, I read '13 hours', it took me a day to read it as I just Could Not Put it down! Another of his which I haven't read yet but apparently is great too is 7 days. It will be on my wish list! Also, Jo Nesbo is apparently v good too, my sister swears by him. I did read a Lars Keplar too which I also enjoyed. Let us know if you read them!

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    1. Jo Nesbo is great, I have read two of the Harry Hole series and loved them both but I'm waiting now until I can get my hands on a copy of the first installment, which has recently been published in English. I like to read series in order where possible. Deon Meyer and Lars Keplar are both new to me, so thanks for the recommendations. I have noted them down on my never-ending wishlist! Thanks for stopping by the blog.

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