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Last Resort by Quintin Jardine
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Last Resort

by Quintin Jardine

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First let me start with a positive, this was much better than the last one, which left me lamenting what had become of the Bob Skinner series that I knew and loved. But I'd say it was more a 2 and a half than 3 stars.

In this outing Skinner has decamped to his place in Spain to decide where his future lies within the police service. While still bemoaning the politicization of the force it doesn't bode well for a likely return. However while there he gets a call from an old friend to investigate the disappearance of his business partner. In the process of investigating this he discovers that he himself is being followed and puts out feelers back at home via his daughter Alex as to what is happening.

So we have a mystery in Spain involving several dead bodies and a mounting mystery at home which sees his daughter suddenly turn detective. Both are able to pull strings and call on old favours to get the info they want seemingly without problem, while neither has any official standing. Both investigations are resolved in a manner that is less than legal and personally doesn't sit well. For me the investigation in Spain was the more interesting at it didn't involve harking back to a list of characters previously encountered in earlier books. While the inclusion of old characters may be comforting to some, I find it an intrusion as it means we have to have a brief resume each time to introduce them to new readers.

If I'm honest I think for me the spark has just gone from the novels. The Bob Skinner of the past few books is not the one that appeared in the earlier titles. I'd have happily recommended the earlier books as being very good, but there is nothing about this that makes it a stand out read. After 25 books I think it's time for me and Bob to part company. For anyone reading this as a standalone book, they would no doubt find it enjoyable and keen to come back for more. As the ending leaves the way open this is highly likely. This is not a bad book, but there are far better out there to be spending time reading something that doesn't excite me anymore, consequently, for me, sadly it's adios.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

( )
  Jilldoyle | Mar 27, 2016 |
Bob Skinner has long been an opponent of one police force for all of Scotland and it has now come to pass with Sir Andrew Martin as chief. With over thirty years in policing Skinner is faced with his biggest career decision. His wife, Sarah Grace, urges him to go to Spain and think things through away from the pressures of Scotland.

In L’Escala he is approached by old friend Xavi Aislado, former journalist with the Edinburgh newspaper “Saltire” and now living in Spain running a large multi-media empire. [The Loner] is an autiobiographical novel of Aislado's early life and Jardine picks that up in [Last Resort.] One of Aislado’s top I.T. people, Hector Sureda Roca, has disappeared and he wants Skinner’s help in finding him.

At the same time Skinner discovers that he and his family have been stalked for some months. To assist in sorting this out he enlists the help of his daughter Alex in Edinburgh. Alex is going through her own personal and professional crisis as she takes on this case.

In both cases things turn messy fast with murder and mayhem, involving old acquaintances, family members, Russian spies and a mysterious true crime author. Fold into that mix a young man who is in prison for killing his grandmother, and happens to be Skinner’s recently uncovered son.

Once the Spanish case is completed Bob returns to Edinburgh to assist Alex in winding up the stalking case. With his decision made he can relax and look forward to life.

The thing I love about Quintin Jardine is he can take all of the above blend it together and end up with a very readable book that keeps me hanging until the very end. This is the first time he has written a Skinner novel without the police background and usual round of characters and at times he is feeling his way as Bob starts to use his policing skills in new and different ways. The result is a slight lost of believability in some areas of the book. Now that I know there is a future for Skinner I wait, impatiently, for the next book.

****
Posted Review
July 12, 2015 ( )
  pmarshall | Apr 10, 2015 |
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"This one's for Martin Fletcher, who keeps Skinner honest. Cheers, mate."
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"When the call came, the one that put me back in place as a functioning human being, I was, not to put too fine a point on it, really screwed up inside my head."
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After thirty years of service, former Chief Constable Bob Skinner faces the possible end of his police career, at its pinnacle. A quiet trip to Catalunya to contemplate his future soon takes on a different flavour when Skinner is approached by an old friend, media owner Xavier Aislado, with an unusual request. One of his business's brightest talents, Hector Sureda Roca, has vanished without a trace. Now it's up to Skinner to track him down. But as he conducts his search it soon becomes clear that another manhunt is also in progress, and that he himself is the target. While his daughter Alex fights that battle on the home front, his search for Sureda takes one sinister turn after another, until he is faced with the toughest question of all. Is natural justice sometimes the only answer?… (more)

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