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The Neve & Egan Cases, book four
A fan of Ms. Comby’s first Neve & Egan Case book, Russian Dolls, I jumped at the chance to read and review Blind Chess, the fourth book in the series. While I own both the second book, Ruby Heart, and the third book, Danse Macabre, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, which I hoped would not impact my opinion of Blind Chess. I can easily say that I not only enjoyed Blind Chess on its own, I look forward to seeing what the author does with this series in the future. If you like mystery books with crime solving duos and plenty of action – this is a series you definitely want to pick up.
Told in first person from the view point of both lead characters, Alexandra “Lexi” Neve and Ashford “Ash” Egan, this installment begins with “Lexi” as she wakes up in the hospital in a coma. She’s been shot and is not thrilled about not being able to tell her caretakers that she’s lucid and has questions about her injury, her prognosis and the police investigation that she’s sure is being conducted into her shooting. She’s also worried about how Ash, her partner in the Neve and Egan Detective Agency, will deal with her shooting. I’ve always liked “Lexi”, she’s a great character and I like how Ms. Comby has developed her through the two books I’ve read so far. She’s smart, determined and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. She is determined to solve crimes that the police have either not investigated correctly or don’t have the time to investigate. She’s the kind of woman you would be happy to call a friend and the investigator you would want to hire.
Ms. Comby then switches viewpoints to the Ash Egan, the older partner in the Neve and Egan Agency, who is highly upset when he is told that Lexi has been shot and is in a coma. Ash is certain that a master criminal they have thwarted several times is behind Lexi’s shooting and is determined to bring the man down without the help of the police. He knows “The Sorter” is in charge of a large criminal organization and suspects that he’s also somehow involved with the police. He’ll do whatever it takes, even risk his life and freedom, to get justice for Lexi. I already liked Ash and he really shines as he takes center stage in this story. Refusing to let his physical limitation, blindness, get in the way, Ash has become confident and quite adept at getting around London on his own. Using an established contact with a Russian gangster he and Lexi have dealt with in the past, Ash negotiates and conducts his own investigation which showcases his intelligence and strength of character.
The investigation is well written and Ms. Comby does a good job blending the action, suspense and emotional elements of her story connected. While most of the story focuses on the mystery of who “The Sorter” is and how Ash tries to narrow down his identity, we do get to see Ash struggle with his emotions over letting people into his life. He’s still afraid of getting hurt by others and now he must face how close he’s become to Lexi and what she means in his life. The secondary characters are well developed and many are characters who were introduced in the first book.
Will Ash discover who “The Sorter” really is and bring their “chess” game to a conclusion? Will Lexi recover from her coma or will something worse happen to her while she’s in the hospital? And what will the future hold for the Neve and Egan Detective Agency? You’ll have to read Blind Chess to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading future books in this series.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crowns
25.01.2016 – Queen Of All She Reads
I began reading the Egan and Neve series of crime novels after a book tour request to review the second book in the series and I enjoyed the novel so much that I’ve gone on to read the rest of the series. And, I enjoyed this fourth book as much as the previous ones.
For me, the essence of these novels is the relationship between the main characters: their development from bumbling amateurs to professional investigators and the deepening of their friendship and loyalty to each other. The first three books are told convincingly mainly from Lexa’s point of view. With the developments in the plot in Book 3, Book 4 takes a turn and this time we see mainly Ash’s perspective. The change of main narrator completes the picture of the pairs’ relationship with each other for the reader.
Each book in the series gives the likeable main characters an intriguing mystery to solve. As they work on the cases, some of the clues begin to reveal that a sinister criminal mastermind is in the shadows watching them. As the pair gets closer to discovering who this person is, their job becomes more dangerous and the stakes get higher for them. In Book 4, they are physically and emotionally challenged to their limits and it has profound effects on each of them. I think that Book 4 has crossed the line between cosy and standard crime novel, but, despite the increasingly tense, dark plots as the series progresses, the witty and feel good element that enervates all the novels is never lost.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its predecessors, and, although the series seems as if it may have reached a natural conclusion, I still hope there will be more Egan and Neve books to come. I heartily recommend this novel.
15.01.2016 – Diane Ascroft