Tangled Web UK Review December 2000
Screen Savers by
hbk out March 00
Published by Headline
There seems to be an epidemic of part-time private eyes in northern British cities recently, as we have Martin Edward’s solicitor, Harry Devlin and Ron Ellis’ Johnny Ace, both in Liverpool – now Quintin Jardine’s Oz Blackstone in Glasgow. He is a lawyer’s runner, a wrestling compere and a budding actor, as well as a private investigator!
Screen Savers is the fourth Oz book, though the author also has a string of Skinner yarns, revolving about a Scottish Deputy Chief Constable. There is no doubt that he is an accomplished writer and the words pour smoothly from his pen/keyboard.
His hero Oz Blackstone is an attractive and believable character, though towards the end , the story gets a bit James Bond-ish and the customary cliché of “suspension of disbelief” has to be invoked when Oz and his actor pal get the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff to authorise them to lead a Special Boat Service frogman attack on an oil rig in Dutch territorial waters. The whole yarn concerns a vendetta against Oz and his closest family and friends, interspersed with Oz’s entry into the film world on the strength of voice-overs for various adverts, as a consequence of his popularity as wrestling-bout barker. The quality of writing is excellent, witty and well-paced. The only slight grouse I have is that the author refers too often to previous Oz books, bringing in characters and situations about which we have no knowledge, unless we happen to have read - and remembered – what went on previously. But this is small price to pay for such a good read.
- Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)