Author: Richard Falkirk
Read on: June 23, 2017
In the immortal words of Staind, “It’s been a while!”. First, I should apologize for my extended absence. The school year ended on June 24 but I then graded the World Geography public exam, which means I graded Question 59 of the exam 2654 times from June 27 to July 3. Sooooooo, with that not-at-all tedious task out of the way, my summer has been freed up considerably to review books. I have a back-to-back review session here this evening, beginning with Blackstone, a novel originally written in 1972 by Richard Falkirk, recently re-released by Thistle Publishing.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read (about 280 pages), so the character development wasn’t extensive. Not surprisingly, we stay mostly with Edmund Blackstone himself. Blackstone (I’m doing everything I can but to put an exclamation point after Blackstone’s name each and every time I type it. It just feels like he deserves one. This is a series and one of the future novels is titled “Blackstone on Broadway”. I can only hope he breaks into song every now and again.) is a Bow Street Runner, the first police force of England. There aren’t many of them, they never wear uniforms, and they often have a shady past which allows them to interact with the shadier members of English society in order to solve their cases. There is a push to have an official police force in England, one with uniforms as we would know them today. However, the Runners are the law at this time and Blackstone is their de facto leader.
Blackstone is, for lack of a better word, a badass. He carries around a club of sorts to smack around the bad guys, he drinks whisky (of course he does), and he is a big hit with the ladies. His mission in this first novel of the series is no small task: he is to protect the future Queen of England, Victoria. Blackstone’s enthusiastic punishment of the baddies catches up to him and he ends up suspended. With no Blackstone to protect him, Victoria is promptly kidnapped and only one man can find her: Batman! I mean, Blackstone! See, the exclamation point just makes sense.
There are a few misdirects along the way and more than enough action. But it’s not all plot and no character. Blackstone is an interesting character. He presents himself as being confident and self-assured but he is constantly second guessing himself. He’ll chastise himself for bragging about his exploits and he’ll dwell on a negative comment from others. Too many of the modern day protagonists have no real flaws or at least any concern about their own actions. Blackstone is the exception.
I had a great time with this one. I hope Thistle keeps bringing out the series. I’ve checked online for copies and the original hardcovers are going for hundreds of dollars! Oh Blackstone, you extravagant hero! Blackstone!
*Thanks to Thistle Publishing and NetGalley for the copy of this novel.*