123. Beneath the Surface (Inspector Tom Reynolds Book 2) by Jo Spain

I’m trying a new format here – let me know what you think below 🙂

Kindle Edition – 400 pages

Publisher – Quercus (8 September. 2016)


Did I know it would come to this? That I was playing Russian Roulette? I would give anything to turn back time and to be with my girls. There is no shot at redemption. I am going to die. The gun is in my eye-line as the second bullet is fired. That’s the one that kills me.

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

The first book in this series had such intensity and drive to it that I was over eager to read this second installment. My first impressions had me wondering if the book was written by the same author, as I found the plot to move at a boring slow pace and couldn’t find any excitement to keep me reading. Contrary to the quick way I usually read books, it has taken me an age to read this one, continually putting it down and picking it up with no joy or excitement.

I had no difficulty reading it in terms of language. I wasn’t affected by my dyslexia or my processing when it came to reading this book and I did understand all that was happening. It did become a bit of a chore to read however, as I just couldn’t connect to this particular plot line.

The characters that were so vibrant in book one, became tamed in this book. If this had been the first book in the series, I would have struggled to find something that endeared me to the characters. Having already met them in the previous book, I understood the way they worked and why their behaviours and personalities were the way they were.

Ray’s characters was a big turn around for me, I didn’t think he would grow or mature as much as he did in this book. The character went through a lot in the first book of this series, and honestly, I wasn’t sure where his character would go in this book. I was pleasantly surprised with his character journey, it felt real and understandable and he didn’t deviate from his path or act in a way that seemed out of character. The developments in Laura’s character were confusing to digest. Simply because I didn’t feel the actions in the earlier part of this book matched what her character would do. I understand her need to move on with her life and am proud that she took the steps to do just that, but I think that she went from such extreme emotions to almost forcing herself to move into something new that it didn’t feel real to me. The dynamic between Ray and Laura is constantly shifting and changing and had brought out many theories as I’ve continued reading. As the plot didn’t engage me, it was primarily the dynamic between these two that kept me reading on.

Tom is the perfect blend of leader and father figure to all those he commands. He has a straightforward attitude when it comes to policing and I always feel like his actions and thoughts are genuine. I never feel like he’s fishing for answers and feel that the progression of reveals he comes by are given freely to the reader. I don’t think the book would work well without him – I know the books are the ‘Inspector Tom Reynolds’ series – so without Tom they wouldn’t make sense. I find Tom’s character rather distinguished and it is enlightening to read about an Inspector who doesn’t have a jaded or troublesome past – which I think is becoming the norm with detective crimes/thrillers.

I don’t have a working knowledge of Ireland, so much of what I visualize is either completely fabricated or full of google images I’ve researched for reference. However, I do believe that I am able to conjure a good working image of all that is happening within the book. The scenes were well established and easy to visualize, and I already had an image of what the characters looked like from the first book. Here, I just built upon that image to make the characters more vibrant and defined within my head.

My disappointment with this book was heavy from the beginning. There is actually nothing wrong with this book, I just couldn’t find enjoyment in the plot. I’ve wracked my brains over and over, but I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly why this book didn’t click for me. I just couldn’t get into the plot, nor did I find it particularly riveting, especially after the action packed first book. I feel like I would have understood this book more if I had a better understanding of parliament in Ireland or at least understood the historical points of Leinster House. I still enjoyed the characters, though I found them subdued in this installment of the series. I think in this book; the character took the backseat while the plot itself became more prominent and I think that is where my disappointment stems from. I prefer books that are heavy on characters and character development. Books where the plot is second to the characters, or rather where the characters charge the plot forward. I felt like I didn’t get that in this book, and it saddens me because I so enjoyed the first book. It hasn’t put me off the series however, and I do intend to keep reading.

Lackluster at best but still an alright read. I’ve mentioned above the difficulties I found when reading this and my thoughts throughout the book. I do believe that the book is a good story, even though I myself didn’t really get it. I still enjoyed the characters I’d met previously and thought some of the new characters introduced in this plot were well designed and thought out.

It took me about three months of on and off reading to finish this. I have already read the blurb for the third book in the series and have more excitement that I’ll enjoy it. I hope to enjoy the rest of the series as I’ve come to love Jo Spain’s work – minus this one edition.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Carole says:

    like the new look!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s