Official Review: Running Amok by Paul Hughes

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Samy Lax
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Official Review: Running Amok by Paul Hughes

Post by Samy Lax » 31 May 2018, 09:14

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Running Amok" by Paul Hughes.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Running Amok by Paul Hughes is a C/T/M/H novel that immerses the reader into a world of plotting, manslaughter, and suspense to relate the story—set in the 1960s—of a New Scotland Yard (NSY) Detective Sergeant (DS) Kevin Devlin. The DS has just moved from Glasgow to a “swinging” London. While heading to work after a good old gym workout, he gets tailed by a stranger. Though Devlin “almost” captures his follower, the DS ends up with a concussion, requiring six stitches to his head. And this event marks Devlin’s official entry into the tricky web of conspiracy and murder that the NSY has been trying to break out of for quite some time.

With a new boss to report to—thanks to the old one being murdered—can Devlin work the never-ending string of mysterious cases out or will he join the line of people getting murdered one by one? Are some members of the MI5 involved in these murders?

Running Amok is book 2 of the DCI Spearing and DI Devlin Series. I have not had the opportunity to read book 1 yet, and so I had no idea what to expect from this one. However, the way the author managed to create the perfect blend, introducing tidbits from the personal lives of the main characters in between episodes from their professional lives, piqued my interest and the story seemed to flow smoothly without a hitch thereafter.

The author successfully creates the feel of the “psychedelic period” of England, when drinks and drugs flowed freely, the Beatles had weighed in with their iconic “Sergeant Peppers” album, Jimi Hendrix had emerged in that “Purple Haze,” and the peace movement and protests proclaiming the need for love set the mood along with the weed. When Hughes says it is 1967, you can imagine 1967 even if you haven’t seen that time period yourself in life. That’s how well the author has set the background for the story.

The book has brilliant character development—from those of the officers’ assistants right down to the murder victims (and there were many of the latter). While the author masterfully created two strong, capable female characters that are said to be in an intimate relationship, the readers were also given an insightful look into the changing laws on homosexual relationships during that period.

What I didn’t particularly like about the book is how it had a “congested” feel due to an overload of characters. Due to this, I had to flip back pages several times and reread some sections just to make sure I wasn’t confusing the characters. Some scenes ended too abruptly and I was left feeling that some of these chapters are just too dry and unsatisfying. For instance, the chapter that introduces one of the main characters of the book—The Fox—was too short, not overly informative, and confusing for the most part. If the character means enough that he is given an entire chapter just for introduction, I think he deserved to be presented better to the readers. There were also errors like missing and misplaced words and punctuation, awkward sentences, and multiple grammatical issues.

Owing to the aforementioned errors, I award this book 3 out of 4 stars. A gory scene describing the events connected to a particular murder makes the book inappropriate for young readers. However, if you love reading stories of murder conspiracies, then you will appreciate this book.

******
Running Amok
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Post by NL Hartje » 01 Jun 2018, 02:42

I for one completely commiserate with your dislike for character overloads. If there is a multitudinous array of people to follow, I fervently wish for character lists.
I appreciated your thoughtful review!
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Post by Samy Lax » 01 Jun 2018, 03:30

NL Hartje wrote:
01 Jun 2018, 02:42
I for one completely commiserate with your dislike for character overloads. If there is a multitudinous array of people to follow, I fervently wish for character lists.
I appreciated your thoughtful review!
I am glad I found someone who agrees with me on the character overload point. It gets tedious sometimes. Books go up several levels just when this one wrinkle is ironed out.

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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Jun 2018, 08:10

I really dislike when an author overloads you with characters. That ruins just about every book for me. I do enjoy a good novel set in the 60s, though. I may have to try this anyway. But with my backlog of books to read, I doubt I'll get to it any time soon. Thanks for the review, though.
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Post by joshfee77 » 03 Jun 2018, 06:48

A murderous conspiracy with great characters is my sort of book! Shame it seemed a little overcrowded at times, and that the editing could have been better.

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Post by CommMayo » 03 Jun 2018, 10:55

Not my genre, but your review does it justice. Nice job.

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Post by Samy Lax » 03 Jun 2018, 23:14

kandscreeley wrote:
01 Jun 2018, 08:10
I really dislike when an author overloads you with characters. That ruins just about every book for me. I do enjoy a good novel set in the 60s, though. I may have to try this anyway. But with my backlog of books to read, I doubt I'll get to it any time soon. Thanks for the review, though.
The author does a great job with creating that 60s vibe. It's like sitting in the now and looking back at another era. I hope you get to read this sometime soon.

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Post by Samy Lax » 04 Jun 2018, 22:58

CommMayo wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 10:55
Not my genre, but your review does it justice. Nice job.
I am glad you think so! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)
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Post by Samy Lax » 04 Jun 2018, 23:00

joshfee77 wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 06:48
A murderous conspiracy with great characters is my sort of book! Shame it seemed a little overcrowded at times, and that the editing could have been better.
Oh yes. It doesn't feel like editing has been done at all in the book. That's a huge disappointment. Otherwise, it's a light, breezy read.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)
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Post by SABRADLEY » 06 Jun 2018, 12:13

I love good character development and murder mysteries, but the numberous characters would be a bit much for me. I don't like feeling overwhelmed by all the extra things to remember. Thanks for a great review!

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Post by v_for_vincent » 06 Jun 2018, 19:31

I'm going to check this book out. Thanks.

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Post by cristinaro » 07 Jun 2018, 10:24

Give me a good murder mystery and you'll never know I am in the room. :) I have no problem with many characters in a book as long as they are well portrayed and they have a meaningful role in the story. I may try this one although I'd like to read book one of the series. Thanks for your review!
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Post by Samy Lax » 19 Jun 2018, 11:55

SABRADLEY wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 12:13
I love good character development and murder mysteries, but the numberous characters would be a bit much for me. I don't like feeling overwhelmed by all the extra things to remember. Thanks for a great review!
Hey, I know the feeling! I read to take a break from real life and take it easy in the world inside the book. But if it's making me work SO much for it, I think twice about reading it.

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Post by JR Mercier » 23 Jun 2018, 04:47

A character overload very rarely works out. It's such a shame because it makes a book so hard to follow and enjoy. I really enjoyed your review.
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Post by Roc Madness » 02 Jul 2018, 08:40

1960s murder conspiracy plot - my kind of book. I'll give it a try. Nice job on the review. I'll share it.

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