Review: Retribution* | Bob Bennett

| Bob Bennett
Published: 8th April 2021 by Clink Street Publishing
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

A mystery, thriller that follows an IRA gun-runner and various other scams across the UK isn't what you'd usually find me curled up reading, but in my 20211 voyage to read outside of my comfort zone, I thought I'd try new things, and found myself in the world of Retribution by Bob Bennett.

After a mysterious disappearance on the canal, Jock turns up in Belfast gun-running for the IRA during the ‘troubles’. He hatches a more lucrative scheme with a Palestinian and the story follows the conspiracy to divert weapons to the Black September Organisation. Helen, Jock’s erstwhile partner in a previous black market scam, is reunited with her son after a prison sentence and she fears for her safety while Jock is at large. We follow the arms shipment by road, Grand Union Canal and sea to a destination on the Suffolk coast where Jock is ultimately served his final retribution.

I'll start out honestly saying that this definitely isn't one of my favourite reads and I wouldn't go around recommending it left, right and centre. Although, I can also acknowledge that I- a musical theatre loving, 23 year old- am probably not the target audience. So perhaps I will force it into the hands of my dad and see what he thinks. 

Truthfully though it wasn't the plot itself which made me struggle with this book, but rather the writing style. I personally found that it read like a story aimed at a young audience, with lots of telling and pointing everything out. As a mystery, things were a bit too spoon fed so nothing was particularly shocking and despite a clear attempt at giving everyone back stories, I didn't feel strongly enough for any of the characters to really care about them. 

There were parts of the characterisation that were well done but equally other parts came across as somewhat over the top or too try hard. We were told straight up multiple times that the lead character is Scottish, but on top of this his dialogue was also written like a walking stereotype of a Scotsman. I know it was important to the plot but it felt like being constantly pointed in the direction of what I should be picking up on, rather than being given the freedom to work things out on my own. The connections between the various characters (of which there are quite a few) were well thought out but again, there was no really mystery or connections for the reader themselves to make.

One aspect I did enjoy what the geographical element of following the shipment on its journey and the various modes of transport and routes it took to reach its final destination. The author clearly did a lot of research for this book and that shines through throughout. 

I think there's certainly a target audience for this book, and whilst I do not feature in that, I'm sure there are people who will fly through this and enjoy the light mystery it provides.

*This book was sent to me for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*