Series: Barker & Llewelyn #8
Publication Date: 10/25/16
Number of Pages: 301
** Maybe 2.5 Stars **
The first book I read in this series was book #10, Blood Is Blood, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought I’d go back and catch some of the earlier books in the series to see if it was consistent, and, I have to say, I was disappointed. I always start off thinking a book is at least a 4-star read, and then it is up to the author to keep that rating, add to that rating or – detract from that rating. When I read Blood is Blood, I just enjoyed the read, but with this one, while it started out well, I soon started thinking that this author had to be an American and that perhaps he hadn’t done a lot of research. Add to that – misused homonyms such as bare rather than bear, and spelling and punctuation – not to mention all of the inconsistencies. For instance, was the cook a good one or a poor one – it depends on which paragraph you are reading.
In the previous book I read, I had come to appreciate Barker and Llewelyn’s abilities and was looking forward to adding to their legend. This book sure didn’t add to my admiration for the two. Llewellyn, who is basically the narrator in the story, comes across as a twit and Barker – well – I just didn’t like Barker and he came across as sorely incompetent in most of the book. Barker was hired to protect a French Ambassador (who was also an idiot) during treaty negotiations on a remote island. Barker shows up on the island acting more like a guest than someone providing security – he didn’t even carry his weapons. Barker and Llewelyn were certainly inept and ineffectual in this outing.
I did like the IDEA of the story, but I liked it better when Agatha Christie did it in And Then There Were None. The gist is: France and England are going to negotiate a treaty regarding their respective colonies in Africa. It needs to be hush-hush, so they decide to hold the negotiations between only two people on a remote island and they’ll cover that by having a house party under the guise of trying to marry off the son of the English negotiator. Almost immediately, the English negotiator, Lord Hargrave, was shot. After him, the bodies started to stack up – and most were murdered in different ways with different weapons. Was there more than one killer? Or, was that one killer deadly efficient and thoroughly enjoying what he was doing?
I didn’t like that Barker was so cavalier with Llewelyn’s life while he sat back and basically, did nothing but think. In general, Barker treated Llewelyn abominably and had this been the first book I read in the series, I wouldn’t even look at another one. Don’t get me wrong – Llewelyn was a putz and certainly didn’t endear himself to me, but there was no call for Barker to treat him as he did. No wonder Barker’s last assistant was killed in the line of duty!
Bottom line is – I loved Blood is Blood and didn’t care for this one, so I’ll wait for the next book, Lethal Pursuit, and see if I like it before I continue with the series. I will read the couple of other books I’ve already bought, but won’t be in any hurry to do so. Maybe the series has gotten better as it has aged.