It's no secret - I am a huge fan of Kerry Wilkinson and THE UNLUCKY ONES is the second Jessica Daniels book I have read, though it is the 14th book in the series. I know, I know - out of order and all that. While there are some elements of the book I enjoyed, there are others that I could take or leave. Overall, I think I should stop here and start reading them from the beginning in order to gain a better appreciation for the series.
THE UNLUCKY ONES takes a while to get moving as Jessica and DC Archie Davey make their way back to the station from one of the city's council estates. The Lees estate, known as the city's knife capital, has gone from being a high to low crime area in the last six months and is now unusually and unnaturally quiet. Whilst a new crime initiative has been put in place, Jessica highly doubts that is the reason for its fall in crime. Something is happening on the estate and she intends to find out.
Jessica and Davey are heading back to the station when their car hits a pedestrian who rolls over their car and then under the one behind them. The victim is very much dead and his fiance insists he was pushed but no one else saw what happened. When Jessica comes across another apparent accidental death, she is soon to link the two wondering if there could be a serial killer in their midst. Particularly given the victims had been involved in similar incidents just a few months before to that which killed them.
A suspect comes to light who is given to eccentricities and answering all their questions in riddles leaving them scratching their heads or pulling their hair out. They have nothing to hold her on so she is released. No sooner is she, then another victim is found - falling to their death from a car park just months after being thrown down the stairs by her boyfriend. The similarities cannot be ignored.
While Jessica and her team search for their suspect again, she is drawn back to the Lees estate by a phone call from one of the tenants asking for help. It seems a brick has been thrown through his window and the word GRASS has been painted on his door. The man is clearly frightened but will not make a statement, claiming it was "just kids". But then its kids who are congregating at the flat below, their bikes left outside on the pavement. What is going on behind that door? Who is the mysterious new tenant? And just what is he up to? The newcomer, Jefferson Cass, hails from Leeds but what he is doing in Manchester is anyone's guess. Jessica and DC Rowland attempt to find out but are met with an impasse both at the door and at the station. Jessica is warned to "leave Cass alone" without a reason. Then the penny drops as she realises who he really is. But something is still amiss on the estate.
Aside from Jessica's professional life, her old friend Caroline is lonely because her boyfriend is away in Australia so she has been turning up at Jessica's place and often staying the night. The two have been friends since the early twenties, I get the impression, or maybe longer. They are about to get a whole lot closer when one night Caroline writhes in pain and Jessica calls for an ambulance. When realisation dawned on the two women, Jessica sprang into action finding herself having to do something she never thought she would. With Caroline then in a coma in hospital, Jessica then calls boyfriend Hugo in Australia who then spends the next two days returning home.
I did enjoy THE UNLUCKY ONES to a point but not as much as I have Kerry's standalones. I enjoyed the comical wit that peppered the story - my favourite being about Manchester's transport structure being designed by someone tripping on some serious psychotropic mushrooms (sounds a lot like Sydney!) as well as Jessica and Davey's banter about what did Jesus do on the Saturday. Those two had me chuckling.
As I have read the previous Jessica Daniels book "Silent Suspect" which took place in Blackpool in her search for her missing friend Bex. I actually enjoyed that one more than this one, but funnily enough it was this book that warmed me up to Jessica more. Both books could be read as standalones I guess, but as they are part of a series, I think it would help to read them in order to become more familiar with all players and the references to which Jessica refers that obviously occurred in previous books.
The premise for THE UNLUCKY ONES sounded interesting which is why I opted for requesting it despite only having read the previous one and none of the others. However, what I found was that Jessica seemed to spend most of her time on the Lees estate than on the deaths outlined in the description. Maybe not, but it seemed that way to me. I am not a fan of stories surrounding council estates. They seemed to be filled with bullies - kids mostly - gangs, drugs and senseless crime. Nothing clever that could be found in other crime novels. It was the same when watching episodes of The Bill that featured one of the many council estates in the show - they were my least favourite and just didn't hold my interest. I guess I found that to be the same here. When I found Jessica heading back to the Lees estate, I thought to myself "not again".
The ending, when it came, I found to be lack lustre in comparison to Kerry's other thrillers. The solving of the serial killer kind of fell flat and the Lees estate outcome wasn't as eventful as it sounded. The twist regarding the missing money I guessed right away when it was discovered. So it wasn't much of a surprise when it was revealed in the end.
Don't get me wrong, I love Kerry Wilkinson's writing, but as a series I think I really need to stop while I'm ahead and start them from the beginning before I read any more. I may find I enjoy the series a lot more when I know what is actually happening.
However having said that, I WILL be looking forward to his next standalones which I love!
I would like to thank #KerryWilkinson, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheUnluckyOnes in exchange for an honest review.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1558 KB
- Print Length: 326 pages
- Publisher: Bookouture (9 July 2019)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07RJZBD6M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 82 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,832 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)