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Six Wicked Reasons - review

Six Wicked Reasons

Firstly, this book is superb, it is very much a classic in its own making.

To take the standard premise of the deadly sins and add a seemingly simple whodunit to a family reunion in a ‘locked room’ setting is good enough in the first instance.

When you then have multiple narrators in both the present and past tense and a cunningly weaved subplot and characters that flit between each other’s realities it just gets ever better.

I don’t do spoilers, partly because it would simply say I’ve read it, it’s great because and therefore why read it for your own deductions, but also because I am privileged to read ahead of publication being a bookseller working on events for the author/publisher/library.

We all love the standard premise of guessing as we read ahead of the detective or narrator, what works so well here is that although we still do, in a way it is far less important to know who did what, we simply want to know what they did and why.

Each of the family has at least one secret and motive and we by the superb way that Jo has written the book get to know so much about their lives and interactions with their family and the situation of entitlements and benefaction of wealth and circumstance.

By having a subtle age bracket that allows some of the family to have had and others not we have motives beyond the normal conjecture of circumstances, we have so many levels of thought process and angles of observation for the detective to paly with, and add in that as it’s all set in a small community in rural Ireland and he also is interweaved with the family as are others in the subplot, it just gets ever better as you read.

Jo examines every angle of family life, from deceits and prejudices, to sex lives and money issues and careers, it’s a glossy soap opera without the sheen of unbelievable. It is VERY believable because you feel you are there amongst the setting, you read as though you are in the room all the way through.

The backstories are brilliant, we travel, explore social circumstances and past crimes or situations that filter into the current scene, inheritance and the levels you’d go to for achieving greed or need.

I loved the insight into making TV and living off grid, the simplicity of being allowed or not as befitting a father figure who is both caring and benevolent, but then also devious and malicious.

Dealing with the deadly sins through the six would be villains, all related and all relatable in varying ways is very clever, the boundaries of what we’d share even with close family and who we trust and believe is written impeccably.

The pace and style of Jo’s writing is sublime too, the ebb and flow of time and situations are handled like a Christie or Sayers at their height of powers, there is a touch of Highsmith and plenty of Irish charm and also a feel of Ballykissangel even. We segue between each potential killer as we see the things they’ve done in the past and present and the denouement is both something you wouldn’t guess but gives the whole story a ever so subtle twist of what is seen and done in any family, sort of stays in the family, it’s a hint of Mafioso but not on a grand scale, a really lovely sort of caring way of dealing with things. Akin to the film with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas when they come out of jail in their later years.

The wonderful thing Jo does is keep you reading at a pace that suits you the reader, you never feel you need to speed up or stop. A genuine modern classic in keeping with the times we live in.

Oh, a little bit of actual content, without spilling beans…

It’s about a boat trip with six siblings and their father, he has set up inheritances for them, as usual, hit 21 and say thanks and get £50,000, but there have been caveats and conniving’s already and his manner in dealing with issues has always been of his own will and not always others interests taken, add in a marital issue or two and business issues and the fact there is a body floating alongside the boat and the whole situation of who, when, how and why are just the start, it goes along with the ebb and flow of the tide and I promise you won’t guess!

Jo Spain will be in conversation with William Shaw who is also excellent, goto Eventbrite and search Bolton...

We will as always be selling their books at wonderful prices and you can order in advance

Six Wicked Reasons is RRP £16.99 we will sell it with free delivery for £11.99 and offer 25% off the backlist too, again with free postage

Do say which titles you want if ordering as we may only have ltd stock afterwards, so order in advance...