Bongo Fury 2: Holiday For Skins, by Simon Maltman
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by the author. All thoughts and feelings are my own.]
The sequel to an excellent beginning , this book happens to up the ante about the mystery that our protagonist has been involved in. Those who remember the first part of this novel will recognize that there has been an escalation from the beginning to where the second part begins, and this escalation continues in this novel. There is a lot of continuity in approach, in that the protagonist fancies himself to be more insightful than he actually is and manages to get involved in trouble that is beyond his ability to deal with it, and he also manages to have a high degree of intuition about what is going on. The protagonist’s awareness of, for example, his brother’s upgraded wardrobe, signifies that he at least doesn’t do enough drugs to entirely dull his senses. If he sometimes seems a bit slow on the uptake he is at least sensible enough to be skeptical of what is going on around him, and that makes him, ultimately, a successful protagonist at least as far as this series of stories is concerned.
Without too many spoilers, this continuation of the Bongo Fury story is definitely a worthwhile one. It manages to up the ante and demonstrates some level of collaboration between Unionist elements and other elements of society that are corrupt while showing the protagonist to be somewhat vulnerable to problems in his personal and family life as a result of his activities and particularly the way he blends entrepreneurship with marijuana sales as well as his small-scale music shop and his private investigation. This is an appealing story and it has a suitably dramatic cliffhanger ending that demonstrates the way that the protagonist is now involved in some very serious business, and that encourages the reader to be interested in the next story to see where the story goes from here. We already see that the protagonist is involved in some newsworthy stories, and he definitely has made some very deadly enemies and gotten himself deeply involved in paramilitary problems of Northern Ireland, and all of that context definitely helps to inform this particular work and make its author a thoughtful and insightful commentator on life in Northern Ireland for those whose behavior skirts the wrong side of the law.
As someone who is a fan of reading mystery novels , there is a lot I like about this story. If you enjoy cleverly written murder mysteries that involve interesting historical and geographical contexts and resourceful and/or lucky anti-heroes, there is much to appreciate here. There is likely a large and appreciative audience for this story, which also demonstrates that the author not only has the skill to make for an interesting setup but also to work through paying off that setup through solid writing. This is definitely an interesting story and it manages to provide its characters with worthwhile choice that demonstrate a lack of trust and a surprising degree of savvy that makes the ending a successful one and makes it very interesting to see where the story goes from here. The protagonist is clearly in way over his head, and this time not only does the reader get it but even the protagonist is aware of it. How he reacts to that is a bit unclear at this point but it is definitely something worth finding out. The author deserves considerable credit for making a compelling story.
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