The Bullet That Missed – Richard Osman

Published By: Viking
Pages: 432
Released On: 15/09/2022

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

*****

I’ve had an up and down relationship with Richard’s Thursday Murder Club series. I absolutely adore the man and so was thrilled when I saw he had written a book in 2020. However, as eager as I was to read it, it unfortunately wasn’t for me. Talking to other people, I seemed to be in a very small minority who didn’t, but I read it and decided I probably wouldn’t buy the sequel, but wished him well all the same.

But then I got sent an advanced e-copy of the sequel The Man Who Died Twice by the publishers, and thought “What have I got to lose?” It hadn’t cost me anything so I thought I might as well give it a go. And I loved it so much I read it in 2 days,

So when the third came out, I preordered it and got stuck in, and once again, read it in 2 days. So, following this pattern, it only makes sense for Richard to hand-deliver me a copy of book number 4 himself.

He’s evolved massively as an author, you can really see the development in his character writing, storytelling and pacing. He’s really developed the characters and they’re all becoming fully-rounded, with their own likes, dislikes, wit and charm and they’re all lovely. And now I can understand the rumour that Steven Spielberg has bought the rights to it.

I also really liked the chapter lengths. I’ve said it before that I am a fan of many short chapters rather than a few long ones. And the chapters in this…well, some are only 1 or 2 pages, but they tend to be around half a dozen, and that works perfectly for me.

It’s full of twists and turns and red herrings, some more developed than others, the occasional one slightly rushed, but overall handled masterfully.

I liked the introduction of new characters like the Viking, Victor, Pauline, Mike. They fitted in nicely with the characters we’ve got used to over the series, but they’re not there as spare parts, they’re as important to the story as the familiar faces

I think the theme of Stephen’s dementia (shouldn’t be a spoiler as he’s had it since book one) is very nicely handled. You can see the progression of it but it’s not over the top or disrespectful. As someone who has witnessed the deterioration of a loved one with dementia, I found it had been tackled very sensitively and in a very honest way.

There were a couple of things that were left open ended. That could be because it’s going to be touched upon in book 4, or it could be so the reader can make their own decision, and I didn’t mind that. Sometimes you can feel shortchanged when an author does that, but I didn’t think it negatively impacted the reading of it.

There’s obviously the main plot point, but there are a handful of smaller ones that all work seamlessly together. They’re not lengthy or confusing or pointless, they all make sense and you can easily see how they’re linked.

Overall, I think this is his best book yet. He is progressing nicely with each one, which bodes well for the next instalment. It’s uplifting, adventurous, action packed, emotional, moving, hilarious, warming, compassionate and just a really, really good read.

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