Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review + Giveaway: The Reckless Engineer by Jac Wright

Can you forgive betrayal?
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.

Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law Douglas McAllen's extreme engineering company in Oil & Gas.  He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife Marianne Connor.  Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when sexy Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair and who is pregnant with his child, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.

Jeremy Reid brings in top London defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend's defence.

Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim's house?  Who is "KC" who Caitlin makes secret calls to from a untraceable mobile?  Has powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter's first partner and is he capable of killing again?  Is Caitlin's brother Ronnie McAllen's power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame his brother-in-law?  Is the divorce from Jack's first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be?  Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance?  Who are the ghosts from Caitlin's past in Aberdeen, Scotland haunting the marriage?  What is the involvement of Jack's manager at Marine Electronics?

While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers’ expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend's life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense saga of friendship, love, desire, power, and ambition.


I will freely admit that the genre of mystery is not usually my cup of tea, but it is a New Year and I decided to give it another go with The Reckless Engineer. This group of people has so many relationships with each other and as many deceptions among them, that it made this book quite entertaining to keep up with it. Jeremy Stone is the best friend who is called in to help Jack when he is arrested on suspicion of murder of his mistress, Michelle, who is pregnant. Nothing is at appears, however, and Jeremy has to figure out who killed Michelle and framed Jack. Is it a jealous lover? His angry wife? Her wealthy and powerful family? You'll have to read The Reckless Engineer to find out!

This book did not lack characters, nor characters with lots and lots of flaws. I enjoyed the fact that they were all a little messed up in their own ways, it made the book grounded in real problems with what seemed like real people. Of course with flaws comes characters that you have zero sympathy for, such as Jack. He was obviously the focus of attention for most of the book but he sort of got himself into this predicament by having AFFAIRS. I felt bad for him that he was getting a murder rap for something he didn't seem to have done, but again, not exactly hero material here. In fact the character I had least sympathy for the victim herself, Michelle. She was mean, she knew Jack was married and she did it anyway! The way she treated people, I thought, was awful and I really couldn't bring myself to actually care about what happened to her....which is generally a problem. To sum up the characters in a few words, I'd have to call them a bunch of rich brats who clearly have no regard for anyone but themselves.

Their flaws, however, are not a flaw for the book. Their idiocy provided a dramatic backdrop for an exciting murder mystery that has several twists and turns throughout the story and kept it moving. Because they were people I couldn't stand, the way everything fit together was brilliant and in turn the book was a very smart read. It can be difficult at first to understand who everyone is and how they relate to each other, but once it all gets sorted out and moving it really takes off. It will keep you guessing and surprise you a number of times, which in my opinion is the tell of a great mystery read- My Opinion- **** 4 Stars!

Get it here:


 At six foot four in height Douglas McAllen was an immense, imposing, and regal presence that owned every room he walked into. Like Caitlin he lightly packed his tall and broad frame with lean flesh and muscles, somewhat slackened with time, without being either over or under weight. His face was crinkled with fine lines like cracked drying mud, and the equally wrinkled hand he extended to them betrayed a slight tremor from his sixty odd years of life on earth and from the strain of his daughter’s plight.
        ‘Harry Stavers?’ His deep voice resounded through the room. He slouched down and extended a hand to Harry whose five-foot eight-inch slim frame was dwarfed by the presence of the older man.
        ‘Pleased to meet you in person, Mr. Stavers, and thank you for stepping in to help my daughter and son-in-law so effectively. This is Magnus Laird from McKinley & Laird Solicitors.’
        Magnus Laird walked in a step behind Douglas McAllen and was also a presence of massive proportions in his own right. The two or three inches in height and the half-a-dozen or so years in age he lacked relative to his client, he made up for with three or four stones of extra weight packed liberally around his torso. His face was dominated by a thick walrus moustache, which he was in the habit of combing down with his right forefinger every now and then.
        ‘How do you do, Mr. McAllen, Mr. Laird? Please call me Harry.’ Harry stood upright, greeting them with a steady voice of strength and confidence, like David facing Goliath.
        ‘Och aye, Mr. Stavers. It is a pleasure indeed my dear fellaw. I have heard much abit yer courtroom antics in the High Court from me fellow members of the bar in London.’
        Laird bent forward to shake Harry’s hand heartily, taking care not to topple over, then straightened back up with great effort, momentarily holding onto his own back with his left hand the way pregnant women did.
        ‘And this must be Jeremy Stone.’ McAllen’s blue eyes crinkled further into a smile as he lithely took the half-length of the room with a few long strides. He put his left hand on Jeremy’s shoulder and shook his right hand. The old man liked him.
        ‘I have heard much about you, good things, from Caitlin and Jack. It is a pleasure to finally meet you, son. You must come and visit my factories in Aberdeen some time. I am always in need of a fine engineer of your calibre.’
        ‘I am honoured to meet you, sir.’ Jeremy bowed his head and smiled.
        ‘Och, aye, Mr. Stone, the Engineer. The one who made the laboratory in the barn for our dear Jack, I hear. Very clever, very clever indeed.’ Magnus Laird waddled, carrying his bulk across the room, and shook Jeremy’s hand heartily for a long minute or two with both of his.
        ‘I only gave Jack a hand, Mr. Laird,’ Jeremy protested, but he couldn’t help being cheered by his hearty appraisal.
        ‘It has already been a long morning for us and we don’t have much time before we have to face this bloody police interview. I need a word in private with Magnus and Caitlin first, and then we can discuss matters over a spot of lunch. How does that sound, Mr. Stavers, er, Harry?’

Check out the author here: 
Amazon Author Page:
Twitter: @JacWrightBooks

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me, Kathy.

    Of course, Jack is an anti-hero in the style of my most admired suspense writer Patricia Highsmith. I start reprimanding him (almost ridiculing him) and making the reader subliminally dislike him starting, as you can see, with the title and through my actual hero, Jeremy's, reprimanding commentary. And I make you hate Michelle, which (hating the victim) is common in cozy mysteries -- you don't want to make an innocent die. The plot is all about the exploration of the reverberating awful effects an affair on family, friends, and coworkers, with the pair being punished throughout and at the end for it. :^)

    Thanks to you and your blog members for participating in the tour and the contest. Do subscribe to my blog for tips, analysis, stories, contests, and giveaways to come throughout the New Year:

    I wish everybody a very happy New Year filled with great hours of reading!