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Trapped In The Bargain Basement (Hobson & Choi) (Volume 3) Paperback – October 5, 2015
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About the Author
Nick Bryan is a London-based writer of genre fiction, usually with some blackly comic twist. As well as the almighty detective saga Hobson & Choi, he is also working on a novel about the real implications of deals with the devil and has stories in several anthologies. More details on his other work and news on future Hobson & Choi releases can be found online at NickBryan.com or on Twitter as @NickMB. Both are updated with perfect and reasonable regularity. When not reading or writing books, Nick Bryan enjoys racquet sports, comics and a nice white beer.
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In the same manner as the previous two books Hobson is still trying to beat his ex wife at solving a case and Choi is trying to decide if being a private detective is the career for her. Their relationship remains based on Hobson's swearing infused thoughts on criminals and Choi trying to encourage some sensitivity from him.
This has some laugh out loud parts in it, especially Hobson's outraged reactions to the situations he and Choi find themselves in. These are balanced out by the seriousness of what is being investigated. I also enjoyed Markus the dog being given a 'job' with the detective agency.
I've enjoyed all 3 books in the series and was pleased to see a 4th book is on it's way. There is a short story at the end of this book told from Markus' point of view, in which he talks about his early life and what led up to him meeting Hobson. I thought that this was a nice touch and also enjoyed the role he had to play in solving this case.
If you like your comedy/humour black, then read the 3 books in this series. I found myself agreeing with Hobson on many things and I think that's what made it so funny. A great 3rd installment to an entertaining series.
The mystery isn't that mysterious in this episode, however it is more layered and multifaceted than one might initially suspect, and is sufficiently intriguing to keep one engaged to the end of the book. In addition, there are two romantic threads that are brought further to the forefront in this book add some additional anticipation to the story.
"Choi, try not to look at the human beings like they're zoo animals, yeah?" Bryan seems ever willing to take a good hard look at how humans treat each other, be that through the lens of a teenager thrown suddenly into the world of organized crime, a middle aged man so used to atrocities he used to turn a blind eye to them and is only recently asking himself whether or not that was ok, or a dog that isn't sure why it used to be forced to swallow all the 'little suns' and then poop them out across town but is very happy to be with this new human who just lets him be 'dog.' Whoever's perspective we're following, there's a good chance that we are going to be forced to take a good look at our own privilege, even if we aren't forced to stare at it too long, and can safely return to pinning things on the 'bad guys' a few pages later. It's this odd but compelling mixture of dark humor and introspection that keeps me returning to Bryan's books.
If forced to pick out a failing in this tome I would turn to the short story following Markus. An addition that I was perhaps too excited about and thus set myself up for disappointment. It was cute and clever, but I had expected a bit more from it, and felt it left off before it had really gotten where it was headed. It's quite possible that this was just my expectations getting in the way of things (I love Markus and had probably built up way too much anticipation for this endearing aside). However, this really is bonus material, and whether it rocks your socks off or leaves you wanting, it really has nothing to do with your enjoyment of the overall book.
Overall, I enjoyed the third H&C book quite thoroughly and recommend it as wholeheartedly as I recommended the first two. I'm eagerly awaiting the next tome as it will be an episode I am entirely unfamiliar with. Brand new, and never before published in any way!
*Note I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.