Monday, February 27, 2023

Review: The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

by Richard Osman
Release Date: September 15, 2022
2022 Viking
Kindle Edition; 413 Pages
ISBN: 978-0241512425
Audiobook: B09RTNYFDV
Genre: Fiction / Cozy / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.75 Stars

Trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A local news legend is on the hunt for a sensational headline, and soon the gang are hot on the trail of two murders, ten years apart.

To make matters worse, a new nemesis pays Elizabeth a visit, presenting her with a deadly mission: kill or be killed...

While Elizabeth grapples with her conscience (and a gun), the gang and their unlikely new friends (including TV stars, money launderers and ex-KGB colonels) unravel a new mystery. But can they catch the culprit and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?
My Thoughts
The Bullet That Missed is the third entry in this somewhat fun cozy mystery series featuring supposedly harmless pensioners.  And while I did enjoy the book, I have to admit that this one seemed to have some very loose plot lines, and I found the dialogue between the characters far more tedious than in previous instalments. And it also felt like the author didn't know what to do with some of his characters as they simply seemed to disappear for pages, without explanation, and then suddenly they were there again.  
First of all, although touted as a mystery, this is primarily a character-driven book, following the lives of four pensioners and a couple of police detectives as they work together to solve interesting crimes. Personally, I loved the focus on the four main characters, with glimpses into the lives of the police officers, but prefer the focus to be on our favourite pensioners, especially Joyce, who, I have learned, is the one we really need to watch.  Her journal entries are the heart and soul of the books, but they were a bit lacking in this instalment, something I missed quite a bit. 
Unfortunately, the number of characters has grown considerably, and I feel like the author doesn't quite know how to fit them all into his plot lines, and they are getting away from him, removing the charm that was in the first book from this one.  As I've already mentioned, some core characters disappear completely from the story, only to suddenly reappear without explanation as to where they have been.  Personally, I just found them a lot less interesting, and I wasn't as invested in learning more about these characters as I was in the first two books.  
There were moments that were really good in this book, but there were moments that made me cringe as well.  At first, I enjoyed the spy mystery involving Elizabeth, but it eventually turned into something a bit silly and I couldn't help rolling my eyes at some of the things that were happening in this book.  I know the book is meant to be satirical in nature, but there were points where it became farcical; it made me question whether I should continue or just call it quits. I can handle satire, but the silliness got to me after a while.  

The Bullet That Missed is one of those books where I love the main characters, but struggled to enjoy the plot and thought the author was trying way to hard to include information about his characters and the plot that weren't really needed, through additional boring dialogue that made the book feel sluggish and slow. The book included a number of extra characters that really took away from the charm of the first book, and I missed the simpler story lines featuring our main characters.  The characters no longer feel genuine, and everything seems to be working out for everyone. Just not for me as I don't think I will be continuing this series.