For this month’s review I have chosen The Inn, by James Patterson and Candice Fox. I must admit that when I first picked up the book and settled into my favourite armchair (which is a little worn and has more than a few cat hairs on) I was not expecting to be wowed. I’ve read some of Patterson’s work before and in my view is placed in the ‘easy reading/don’t have to think too much’ category; which is fine – I’m more than happy reading that kind of style (so please don’t think I’m some kind of snob who sits around in a smoking jacket quoting Keats), but what I wasn’t expecting was to be impressed enough to have it as my review.

We’re introduced to our main character, Bill, just as he gets fired from his job as a police officer in the US city of Boston; although we’re not privy at first as to why his employment was terminated. We then whiz forward in time two years and find him running a guest house in a small country town and trying to come to terms with his wife’s recent death, whilst at the same time trying to be a role model for his wife’s teenage cousin who also lives there. 

As the townsfolk know about his ex-police career, Bill is often enrolled into helping sort out local domestic issues (mothers needing someone to have a word with their son who’s taken up smoking something he shouldn’t, or help reminding someone that they owe money to someone else – that type of thing). This gets him involved in trying to prevent a new-to-the-area drug dealer from pushing their wares onto the town’s youngsters. Only he ends up biting off more that he can chew and a full-scale confrontation ensues between the drug dealer’s thugs and Bill and his more than quirky lodgers at the guest house (which include an ex FBI agent, a failed writer and an ex-mob gangster, and a guy that stays in his room all day).

This story is filled full of depth, with the characters coming to life on the page, so much so that I found myself wondering what was going to happen next as I was doing the washing up. I was going to put that the characters are relatable, but I’m not sure you can relate to ex-gangsters and police officers that were dismissed for gross misconduct. But what I think I mean by this is that I can relate to perhaps the eccentricity or quirkiness that some of the guest house characters have (most likely the failed writer if truth be told).

I’m running out of words to do this book justice, but if you’re after an enthralling read then perhaps read up more about this book on the web and see what you think – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Best wishes, Jim

April 2024