I've previously written about how much I enjoy Colin Bateman's books. Over the course of the summer, I read another couple of his, both from the Mystery Man series. The (fictional) owner of the (real life) No Alibis bookshop in Belfast doesn't just sell crime fiction, he also stars in it. Buoyed by his first successful mystery solved, and with a blossoming relationship with the jewellery shop assistant from across the road, and plagued by his mother, the stories continue to entertain as weird stuff happens and crimes are solved.
The Day of the Jack Russell (a title based on The Day of the Jackal) centres around the death and kidnapping of the Chief Constable's Jack Russell dog. What is its real significance in a world where grafitti artists are murdered and M15 seem to be involved? It's a rip-roaring tale that will make you bark with laughter. Seriously!
Dr Yes moves the story on to the dodgy world of plastic surgery, disappearances and murders. Is it all really as glamorous as it seems? Is beauty only skin deep? What lies beneath? The plot unravels like the bandages from a face lift, to reveal a glorious end result, with a few twists and turns along the way.
Both novels are written from the point of view of Mystery Man himself, with all the wry observations, cutting wit and weird personality quirks that brings (for example, working his way through the Starbucks menu item by item). They're a gift for Northern Irish people, with a very distinctive Ulster humour, but being recommended by the Richard and Judy book club, seem to make the transition to wider British culture. Expect lots of puns and jokes along the way.
If you fancy a chuckle, and want something a wee bit different to the standard crime novel, give these a go - but start with Mystery Man, the first in the series. These will make better sense in that order! The Day of the Jack Russelland Dr. Yesare both available for Kindle from Amazon.