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Monday, 18 April 2022

Northwind - J.D. Kirk - Robert Hoon Book 1

Northwind
Robert Hoon Book 1
ISBN 9781912767434
ASIN B0922VCMCJ


I picked this up after reading the first book in the DCI Logan Series, A Litter of Bones, I picked that one up for a few reasons, but mainly because authors Alex Smith and JE Mayhew have both recommended the author and series. I am a big fan of Smith’s DCI Kett novels and Mayhew’s DCI Will Blake Series. And having ripped through both of their series and slowing working through all of Mayhew’s others works I decided to give this one a try. It definitely is a Scottish Detective Mystery, and I can see the comparisons with both Smith and Mayhew’s works. I would set this story right in the middle, Smiths are darker and more brutal, and Mayhew’s typically focused a little more on the mystery. This one is a good mix of both. 

The description of this novel is:

“Former soldier. Ex-copper. Current man on the edge.

Shunned by his old colleagues, and dividing his time between a dead-end job and the bottom of a whisky bottle, former Police Scotland Detective Superintendent Bob Hoon’s life is a mess.

Then an old face from Hoon’s Special Forces days turns up asking for help: his teenage daughter has been missing for months, the police have drawn a blank, and he needs the kind of help that only Hoon can provide.

And besides, Hoon owes him one.

From the Highlands of Scotland, to the mean streets of London, Hoon’s relentless hunt for the girl will see him make new friends and encounter old enemies. Enemies who know what happened to the girl. And to hundreds more like her.

But Hoon’s been given something that makes him dangerous, something he thought he’d long-since lost: a purpose.
He may be a disgraced ex-copper, a barely-functioning alcoholic, and a borderline psychopath, but Bob Hoon still believes in justice.

And he’s just the foul-mouthed **** to dish some out.”

The character of Hoon is over the top. He exemplifies the stereotypes taken to an extreme. But by the end of the novel we see some of his redeeming characteristics. Kirk in the afterword informs us that:

“This book was always going to be a challenge.

When I first introduced the then Detective Superintendent Bob Hoon in my DCI Logan crime fiction series, he was so foul-mouthed and unpleasant as to feel almost irredeemable. A larger than life bully with a penchant for bad language, Hoon was a deliberately over the top caricature—a barely human monster who existed largely to make the lives of the other characters that bit more difficult.
Some readers hated him. Others, inexplicably, adored him. And, as the series progressed, I took a perverse delight in making Bob that bit worse in every book. He was a thug, a drunk, and an ever present pain in the arse.

In late 2020, I first had the idea of giving Hoon his own novel. It was ridiculous, I knew. Here was a character so thoroughly unpleasant that even if readers enjoyed his scenes, surely they couldn’t cope with a full length novel in which he took centre stage? Surely they couldn’t actually empathise with such a man and cheer him on?

I tried to push the idea from my mind, but Hoon—because this is what he does—soon forced his way back in. The man is nothing if not persistent, and before long I had stopped thinking about whether it was possible for readers to root for him, and had started thinking about the how.”

By the end I was hooked on the character and pre-ordered book 2 in the series. If I had read more of the DCI Logan books I am not certain I would have picked this up, based on what Kirk states about the character. I am thankful that I did. Hoon makes me think of Alex Smith’s DCI Kett if he did not have the grounding influence of his wife and kids. He is absolutely over the top, foul mothed, and eager to use violence as a blunt instrument to find out what he needs to know. He is not above manipulating people. But he is on the quest for find out what happened to a friend’s daughter, a friend who he owes a lot. And once he has leads to chase he will leave no stone unturned. 

But be warned. This story is violent, bloody, brutal and full of language. It is not for all readers. That being said it is an excellent crime thriller with a lot of action. I am looking forward to reading more of the Logan and Hoon novels and books from Kirk’s other pen names.  

Books by J.D. Kirk:
The Bone House

DCI Logan Series:
The Killing Code
Blood and Treachery
The Last Bloody Straw
A Whisper of Sorrows
The Big Man Upstairs
A Death Most Monumental
A Snowball's Chance in Hell
Ahead of the Game
An Isolated Incident
Colder than the Grave
Come Hell or High Water
City of Scars

Robert Hoon Thrillers:
Southpaw

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day




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