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The Contraband Killings: A Dan Foster Mystery (The Dan Foster Mysteries)

Rating: 3 out of 5

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is sent to collect smuggler Watcyn Jones from Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey, and bring him back to London for a trial at the Old Bailey. As if having to travel the wilds of North Wales isn't bad enough, Dan is saddled with an inexperienced constable as his interpreter and assistant. At least it's a routine assignment and shouldn't take more than a few days. But when the prison escort is ambushed and Watcyn Jones escapes, a straightforward transfer turns into a desperate manhunt. And as Jones's enemies start to die, the chase becomes more urgent. Dan's search for the killer brings him up against a ruthless smuggling gang and his chances of getting off the island alive begin to look less promising.

I have never read any of the other books in the series so I am grateful that this one was able to be read without that as like the first handful of chapters provided a lot of information that I assume was also covered in the others. However, some of this stuff didn't seem necessary to this story and elements that were examined a lot were sort of rushed to a bare resolution in the end. It felt a little unfulfilled given all the attention to them. I can understand how someone would really love this novel becasue it is well written, but for me it was overly narrated. I got bored with the excessive descriptions of people and places and wanted to get more of the crimes.

I found it hard to relate to any of the characters in the story and didn't necessarily find any more likable than the others. I did find a few to be the easy targets for suspects and quickly deduced who was responsible for the crimes being committed, another element which felt slightly unresolved to me for a murder mystery novel. I have to say for me this was a miss but I think it is a good novel and if you enjoy the series or even historical mysteries you should give it a go as it's a relatively quick read.

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