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The Long Count by J M Gulvin - Review

Friday, August 26, 2022

I got this book in my A Box of Stories subscription box a few months ago. I get the box once every three months and I like it - it's always books that I wouldn't pick up myself and I like that it's a little gift to myself. I know some people will disagree with me here, and that's fine! But for now I enjoy the service and will keep doing it.

You know I like a crime novel and I was in the mood for something in that genre as quite a light read. I picked this up from the side of the bed and read it quite quickly - I actually ended up staying up one night finishing it as by that point I was quite gripped by the story. 

So, John Quarrie is a Texas Ranger. He lives on a ranch not far from Lawton Texas with his ten year old son James. James' mother died when he was small and when John Q is working, James is looked after by John Q's friend Pious and his sister Eunice. Someone with a private jet owns the ranch, because John Q (everyone calls him this, which is why I am) uses it a couple of times. Right at the beginning of the book, John Q, James, and Pious are fishing when they discover some old bones in the river. There was a train wreck there many years ago and John Q and Pious assume the bones come from that. 

John Q is the only Ranger free to go check out something that has happened close to the Oklahoma border. He finds a man in an underground study, dead from an apparent suicide. However, John Q doesn't think it is a suicide. He meets the man's son, Isaac, and explains this, but the local police department think it is a suicide and want to close the case. Isaac thinks there's more to it too, though, especially as access to the underground study was hard to acquire without knowing the building. 

Isaac's twin brother Ishmael has been hospitalised for a long time, having suffered with mental health problems since he was very young. Isaac tries to find out more but finds that the hospital he was in has been subjected to a fire recently. It is in tatters and most of the staff and the surviving patients have been moved elsewhere. Ishmael is missing, presumed dead. But then a string of murders happen too, and John Q is zigzagging across the surrounding area investigating them all. 

I did guess some of the twists, but I enjoyed them all the same. I really liked John Q and his friendships. I actually put a hold on the second book in this series at the library, so I'll look forward to that soon! I'm giving this four out of five

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