Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: Talking To The Sharks by Martin O'Brien

Talking To The Sharks by Martin O'Brien, July 2016, 350 pages, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 1534696237

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This is the ninth thriller in the Daniel Jacquot detective series.

It is 2004 and five years have passed since Daniel Jacquot's partner died during childbirth in a Marseilles hospital (see the last book KNIFE GUN POISON BOMB).

Following her death, a heartbroken Jacquot retired from the police service and took his two baby daughters, Mathilde and Beatrice, to the French West Indies, starting a new life on Ile des Freres, a small island off the coast of Martinique.

Their new home is an old palm-thatched boat house on Trinite beach that Jacquot has just finished renovating. His daughters are now at primary school in the main town and Jacquot spends his days doing the school run and putting the finishing touches to his house. Life is good and Jacquot is finally coming to terms with his loss.

But the good life is put at risk when an ex-lover (Boni Milhaud, see THE WATERMAN) arrives on Ile des Freres to ask for Jacquot's help. Boni's husband Patric Stuyvesant, a professional gambler and the owner of private gaming clubs in the Bahamas, has gone missing with a girlfriend. To make good their escape Patric has stolen ten million dollars from gangland boss Ettore DiCorsa, who runs a money laundering syndicate based in Nassau. All Boni wants is for Jacquot to find her missing husband before DiCorsa catches up with him.

At first Jacquot wants nothing to do with it, explaining to Boni that he has retired, that he is too old to do what she wants and that he cannot help her. But in the days that follow, Jacquot is given no choice but to take on the case, following Patric's trail from the luxury estates and gaming tables of Nassau to the distant vineyards of Provence. What he uncovers on this journey is a deadly conspiracy that threatens not only DiCorsa's syndicate but everything that Jacquot holds dear.

This exceptional writer has yet again penned an absolutely brilliant novel which had me hooked from the first page. His books are exceptionally well plotted and I can never guess what is going to happen next. His rich cast of characters are exceptionally well described and it makes for a very absorbing read and I was gripped from page one until the final conclusion. The book is a classic police procedural, extremely well written with a good ear for dialogue and characterisation. The plot has many dramatic twists and turns and vividly echoes the writer's knowledge of French and West Indian culture.

I have read for review three of his previous books: CONFESSION, THE DYING MINUTES and KNIFE GUN POISON BOMB and enjoyed this one even more than the earlier three. I hope that this one is not the last that we hear of DI Daniel Jacquot and I look forward to reading and reviewing many more. Recommended very highly.

Terry Halligan, February 2017.

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