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False Nine by Philip Kerr

False NineAfter the events of the previous book, Hand of God, Scott Manson has found himself out of work and looking for a new managerial position. It’s not as easy as he hoped it would be, however, and the promise of a job in Shanghai soon turns out to be fraudulent. Knowing that the press will have a field day over his part in the scam, Scott jumps at the chance of working for Barcelona. The only problem is, it’s not as a manager but as a private detective, hired to locate a missing footballer. As his investigations take him to Paris, Antigua and Guadeloupe, he finds himself embroiled in yet another story that the press would love to get hold of…

This is the third book in the Scott Manson series and while it’s not vital to have read the others, there are hints in this book that may spoil some of the previous plots for anyone who chooses to go back to read the series from the start. False Nine is slightly different from the other books as there is less of an emphasis on football and more about Scott’s investigation. As a football fan who enjoyed reading about the day-to-day workings of London City, I hope that in the fourth instalment, we get to see a managerial return for Scott.

The mystery is an interesting one although I did have an inkling as to what the twist would be quite early on in the book. This did not spoil my enjoyment, however, as it was fascinating to see how Scott dealt with this new information he had discovered. I grew to like Jerome Dumas (the missing footballer) and really hoped that he would be able to tackle his demons and further his career.

I did, however, find myself on several occasions disliking Scott Manson. He has never been a faithful, one-woman man but I found his philandering in this book a bit uncomfortable and had sympathy towards his unwitting girlfriend back home in London.

The ending of False Nine has made the next book a very interesting prospect!


The Whitechapel Secret by Martin Loughlin

51wHQ7JyzDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When Jack the Ripper tour guide, Ian Groves, sets out one one of his regular walks around Whitechapel, little does he know that his life is about to take an unexpected turn. Initially sceptical when one of his customers tells him that she has evidence that could solve the century-long mystery, his interest is piqued  enough to start to undertake some research. When an unsuccessful attempt is made on his life and he receives news that the aforementioned customer has been found dead, he begins to realise that he has stumbled upon a conspiracy to keep the secrets of the past well hidden. What ensues is a whirlwind tour of Europe in an attempt to uncover the truth. Just who was Jack the Ripper?

It is hard to review this book without making some sort of comparison to the Robert Langdon novels of Dan Brown. There are many similarities: a male protagonist and his female accomplice, a shady secret society, a whistle-stop tour around the cities of Europe… Whereas Brown’s books can be quite lengthy, however, this is a fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ alternative take on the age-old Jack the Ripper mystery that I read in a couple of sittings. The author has displayed good subject knowledge and his descriptions of the places Ian Groves visits seem realistic. My only criticism (a minor one!) would be that I would have liked the characters to have spent more time on each country as it often appeared rushed.

The conclusion of The Whitechapel Secret was very clever and was not what I expected. It was a fitting ending for two characters I had grown to like throughout the book and who I had willed to succeed. Although Ian’s involvement was due to his interest in Jack the Ripper, I would be happy reading any further adventures of this character!

With thanks to Net Galley and Endeavour Press for my copy of this book.

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