Saturday 13 January 2018

#BookReview Racing the Devil by Charles Todd

Racing the Devil by Charles Todd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the nineteenth installment of the acclaimed bestselling series.

On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the Front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead—and make it through the war—they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.

In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows—or will admit to knowing—which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.

Back in England one year later, during a heavy rainstorm, a driver loses control on a twisting road and is killed in the crash. Was it an accident due to the hazardous conditions? Or premeditated murder? Is the crash connected in some way to the unfortunate events in the mountains above Nice the year before? The dead driver wasn’t in France—although the motorcar he drove was. If it was foul play, was it a case of mistaken identity? Or was the dead man the intended victim after all?

Investigating this perplexing case, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge discovers that the truth is elusive—and that the villages on the South Downs, where the accident happened, are adept at keeping secrets, frustrating his search. Determined to remain in the shadows this faceless killer is willing to strike again to stop Rutledge from finding him. This time, the victim he chooses is a child, and it will take all of Rutledge’s skill to stop him before an innocent young life is sacrificed.


This is, unfortunately, by far the weakest book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I started off listening to the audiobook, but I was so bored by the start that I decided to pick something else to listen to after a couple of chapters. A couple of weeks later did I try it again and it felt like I managed to get through this by my love for Charles Todd's books and willpower.

I will keep this review short since I hardly can come up with anything good to write. I mean, it's always nice to once again read about Inspector Ian Rutledge and Hamish (his ghostly companion), but the story is pretty weak. I was not impressed with the start in France with the soldier's that promise each other that if they survive will they meet each other one year later and race motorcars from Paris to Nice. And, the almost crash that occurs didn't make my pulse race. Neither did the change of scenery when the story moved one year ahead with the death of a man in an accident that could be linked to the near death in France.

The whole investigation, with Rutledge chasing clues, is a bit dreary. The only bright spot is when Rutledge contacts Melinda Crawford to help him with the investigation. And she, in turn, contacts Bess Crawford (from Charles Todd's Bess Crawford series) to help out. If Bess has made a cameo in this book would I perhaps have liked the book better. The ending is not that surprising either. It truly felt like the most likely suspect did it all.

I hope the next book will be better!

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