Monday, 1 July 2019

The Gingerbread Houses by Benedict J Jones

The Gingerbread Houses by Benedict J Jones
Published in Hong Kong by Crime Wave Press on the 20th May 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A dark secret lies at the heart of the British government; a secret so appalling that they will kill to protect it.

Charlie Bars is back in London and has taken on a missing persons case. Easy money –or so he thinks. The man he is looking for is inextricably linked to the evil perpetrated in the Gingerbread Houses and as Charlie's search progresses, he finds himself drawn into the seedy underbelly of the capital; a world of abuse, exploitation and deviancy that threatens to destroy his soul.

Others are looking for the missing man too and hunter soon becomes hunted as Charlie finds himself the target of an insane torturer haunted by the ghosts of his military past.

As he descends into the darkest depths of human depravity, Charlie desperately tries to stay out of prison, on the right side of his morality and, most importantly, alive as he seeks to uncover the buried secrets of the Gingerbread Houses.

The Gingerbread Houses is the third book in Ben Jones' Charlie Bars thriller series. I loved the second book, The Devil's Brew (having, of course, still not read the first!), so I was very happy to be given the opportunity to read and review this new installment of Charlie's adventures. This novel is set in the seedier parts of London and introduces a number of characters who are generally thugs, gangsters and drunks. I wasn't so keen on this London setting as I was on the previous Northumbrian location because it didn't feel as unique. Jones understands well how this world works though and we are taken on a thrilling journey with lots of blokey posturing and serious violence. There are some pretty gruesome scenes to stomach, alternating with a lot of visits to pubs and bars. In fact, I did get fed up with someone 'taking a deep bite' of their drink, seemingly on every second page. Jones' use of colloquialisms does add to the authenticity of the characters, but this one was so overused that I felt it became caricature instead. I wasn't always convinced by the characters' actions either. Charlie and Mario are great and I was intrigued by Hilda's role, but Ellie was more plot device than realistic woman. That said, The Gingerbread Houses is a fun escapist thriller which makes for a satisfyingly entertaining read.

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Books by Benedict J Jones / Thrillers / Books from England


  1. I like suspense/thriller/mystery type books, or any combination of the three, lol. I think this sounds like a promising read.