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The Clockmaker’s Secret

· Mystery Reviews,5 Stars
Slim Hardy Mysteries, Book 2 • Jack Benton • ★★★★★

A deeply flawed, alcoholic detective, a twenty-year-old cold case, and a satisfyingly odd cast of characters combine to create a great mystery novel.

Some of the reveals are quite shocking, and sometimes it gets a bit emotional to read—though that just shows that Chris Ward (writing as Jack Benton) has done really a fantastic job to get me invested in the characters. Celia, the clockmaker's daughter, in particular, is a tragic figure who didn't deserve the life she got.

I literally did not put this book down after I started reading it. From the time that Slim unearths the clock on the hike in chapter one, it had me hooked.

As for the mystery itself, it kept me guessing until the end. When the reveal came, it made me think, "Oh, I should have seen that!" That's the mark of an excellent mystery, and Benton did a masterful job constructing it. The Clockmaker's Secret is quite well put-together.

The one criticism I have is a minor one: for such a messy mystery, the ending is almost too neatly wrapped up. But it is such a satisfying read, the neat bow at the end doesn't justify docking of a star.

—Paul Austin Ardoin

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