30 April 2020
Jack ‘Flash’ Gordon’s private investigation business in Liverpool is in trouble, what with staffing issues and changing technology. So when the ex-copper is commissioned by Sarah Gladwyn from an old Welsh family to investigate a series of threats and attacks from an anonymous assailant it seems like a lifeline. The stalker is obsessed with the family’s role in oppressing the local slate workers in Victorian times and stealing Welsh water for use in England. Sarah’s husband, Oliver Gladwyn, ex hippy traveller and now a green entrepreneur, plans to build a barrage across the Mersey and provide clean energy for Merseyside. You would have thought that the stalker would approve, but no.
It’s a great opportunity for Jack so what could possibly go wrong? How about murders, discovery of skeletons in cupboards, conspiracies, bent coppers, corrupt politicians and violent gangsters. And a terrorist threat to Liverpool’s water supply. Flash Gordon? He’ll need to be Jumping Jack Flash to get through this one.
What did I think about it..
The aptly named Jack 'Flash' Gordon runs a private investigation business in Liverpool, but things aren't going too well for Jack either personally or in his failing business. What Jack really needs is a big juicy case which will help to lift him, and his motley assortment of employees, out of the doldrums. When he is approached by the glamorous Sarah Gladwyn to investigate who is responsible for the vendetta against her family, it seems like the lifeline he and his business needs. However, complicating matters is Sarah's husband, Oliver, who, whilst determined to provide a sustainable source of green energy to Merseyside, has his own complicated agenda.
The city of Liverpool has a starring role in the novel, and the author uses his local knowledge to full advantage, bringing place and people to life. I especially enjoyed getting to know more about Jack Gordon, who, as an ex-cop, has more than enough traumatic stuff in his past to deal with, however, I think it is Jack's relationship with his colleagues where his personality shines through. I especially enjoy his interesting relationship with Mel Gibson, she is a feisty PI, who has a no nonsense approach to questioning suspects, and who offers Jack a friendly face and a listening ear.
From its exciting beginning the story unfolds quickly and we soon discover that there is never a dull moment for Jack Gordon, whether it be in tracking shady criminals who seem hellbent on taking him down, or out for a pub lunch with his belligerent father, trouble seems to follow Jack around, which, for an private investigator, can be something of a challenge.
The author writes well and keeps up a lively pace throughout the whole of this complicated crime story. Filled with an assortment of bad guys, from bent coppers, to shady businessmen, Pool of Life is a lively tale of corruption and skulduggery which is made all the more interesting for being set in Liverpool, a city whose vibrant personality shines through and is as much a character in the novel as the people themselves.
Pete Trewin writes neo-noir crime novels set in Merseyside and the north of England. The themes are dark but the stories are always served with a generous helping of black humour. My influences are as much films Get Carter, Point Blank, Chinatown as books but I have been inspired by writers ranging from Jim Thompson and Christopher Brookmyre to Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy.