4 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Endeavour Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.
Okay, part of being open and honest is to admit here and now I have been a fan of Mr Jecks’ writing for about fifteen years. When I first stumbled onto my love of historical crime fiction, his name was one of a dozen on an online ‘best authors of historical crime fiction’ list I came across. I promptly printed it out, took to my library and scoured the shelves and hit gold. His Sir Baldwin and Bailiff Simon Puttock series has been a favourite of mine since then.
So, of course, I am now going to say I loved this series of short stories as some contained this duo. Other tales didn’t and they were just as good as it showed the talent of the author to be able to write a short story within the first person – and that first person not always being the same person. Yes, I see that sounds far more complicated than I wanted it to. Let’s just say Mr Jecks was able to create clear, well written and DIFFERENT stories without them all melding together and becoming hard to tell apart as the characters were all so similar. His characters aren’t similar; they stand apart from each other well.
Often, when you get a book of short stories all by the same author, the tales can tend to blend and become monotonous with the same tone, style, pace – but not with Mr Jecks! Yes there was a similarity in the tales due to when and where they were set… and that a murder was involved – we ARE talking crime fiction after all! But each story held its own, was well developed and definitely distinguishable from the others.
Loved it, my only real complaint is that I found it too short – and that is me being greedy and has nothing to do with the author or his work. But I could have happily kept reading the world he has woven of the 14th century and all the hardships, quirkiness and crimes that come with it.
Would I recommend this book to others?
Yes I would. Seriously, if you are a fan of – or even just interested in looking at – historical crime fiction, this is a great book to start with. It is made up of several short stories, each of which can be read independently of the others and, quite frankly, I don’t think you even need to have read other Sir Baldwin tales to still enjoy them. It is the perfect introduction to this genre and this author for those who have not tried either before… as well as being a satisfactory read for those of us who have been living off – and loving – historical crime fiction for years.
Would I buy this book for myself?
Yes I would. Loved it, would happily add it to either my physical or ‘electric’ library and could go on about it, but fear I would start repeating myself.
In summary: Lovers of crime fiction – historical or otherwise – will enjoy this series of short stories. But it is also perfect as an introduction to the genre. Highly recommend.
Until next time,