Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bone Dancing, Blood Dancing

Last year we ran a series of posts on Jonathan Gash's Bonn/Burtonall series, but neglected to post the reviews of the final two books. Today, we correct that oversight. To catch you up, here's where we left off:

Book 1: Different Women Dancing
Nik's Review: Different Women Dancing
Jay's Review:  Different Women, Different Reader, Different Review
Book 2: Prey Dancing
Nik's Review: Prey Dancing
Jay's Review: Book Musing: When Characters Seem Too Old
Book 3: Die Dancing
Nik's Review: Outta My Head
Now on to the final two!

Bone Dancing

Available on Amazon: Bone Dancing
So here's a thing. I was quite happily working my way through Bone Dancing, the fourth book in Jonathan Gash's Clare Burtonall series (though I still maintain that it's misnamed, as she is more bystander than protagonist), when I suddenly had a bit of a shock. 

You see, there's one particular sequence I remember from the books (they are indeed unusually memorable). Rack, the main fixer of the seedy world of crime, is refused protection money by the new manager of a car showroom, so he has the entire stock stolen. It's almost peripheral to the story, just a lovely vignette of life in the shadows. 

So, there I am, lapping up the book, when I suddenly realize that I'm virtually at the end and it hasn't happened yet. After a bout of confusion and concerns of incipient senility, I come to a joyful conclusion. 

I'd misremembered. There aren't four books in the series, there are five.

Yes! A whole other book to enjoy! So I suppose that this post should have a subtitle:

Blood Dancing

Available from Amazon: Blood Dancing
The final book (so far, I live in hope) is a real cracker. Not only does it have that sequence that has stuck with me, but Clare Burtonall finally seems more integrated than she has since the first novel, even though the previous book appeared to leave her cast out by her underworld associates. The plot centres around a vigilante wreaking lethal justice on paedophiles. And why not. Well, the why not and its resolution is the core of the story, and it's great. I expect the book is now hard to come by, but it is well, well worth the effort. 

I still have a minor grumble over continuity. There's a definite disconnect between the end of Bone Dancing and the start of Blood Dancing. At the end of Bone Dancing Clare has been cut-off from the underworld syndicate, and given the track record of everyone else who's suffered that fate over the course of books, she's lucky to do so alive. But there's the suggestion that Bonn, her hired lover, will take her as his live-in woman. 

By the start of Blood Dancing, though, there's almost been a reset back to business as usual. Maybe Gash found that the change was too restrictive on the storytelling, I don't know. It certainly didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book, but it's a small niggle nonetheless. 

This is one of my all-time favourite series of books. Please, please, Mr Gash, write another one?

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