As If By Magic by Kerry Wilkinson

As If By MagicDS Jessica Daniel and DC David Rowlands are waiting at Manchester Piccadilly station waiting for the train that will take them to the hell that is a training course. Luckily, Jessica spies a distraction – someone has left an unmarked package on the platform. Faced with a potential bomb or the training course, she chooses to open the box – only to find something bizarre inside.

As more surprises are left across the city, it’s up to Jessica to put everything together – but the mystery of the boxes is only the first link in a chain that will lead Jessica into a confrontation with a relentless foe.

A “half-novel”, set between the second and third full novels in the Jessica Daniel series – of which I greatly enjoyed the first two. After the “joy” of Cocaine Blues, I needed a guaranteed page-turner to boost my spirits. I figured that this would deliver the goods – but did it?

Well, it seems after Vigilante and this book, we’ve discovered Jessica’s weakness – she can get a little… obsessed with her suspects. After making a huge mistake in the second book, she nevertheless starts a similar personal crusade in this one – possibly an even more dangerous one.

There is something about these books that are so readable. As I said, I needed a page-turner, and that’s exactly what I got. And for a short novel (and to be honest, it didn’t feel that short), there’s an awful lot going on here, some of it remarkably clever.

There is one point where Jessica’s detection skills seem to border on the psychic, but there’s plenty of chances for the reader to play along. Even better, there’s at least one plot idea here that I think is completely original.

It’s a short novel, so this is a short review, but any mild issues I had with the first two books are banished with this one. An extremely entertaining read. Highly Recommended.

PS Oh, and my colleague at work who I recommended the series to is heartily enjoying them too!

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