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Dangerous Pursuits

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Member Reviews

A Baffling Investigation.....
The latest entry in the Hazel Best & Gabriel Ash mystery series. Hazel and Gabriel become embroiled in a deadly and baffling investigation. Quirky, nicely written, and intriguing with likeable protagonists and a colourful cast of supporting characters. An entertaining read laced with some wry humour.
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I really enjoyed this book and will give it a huge thumbs up.  With a great story line and excellent main characters - I would highly recommend this book.
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An excellent and solid mystery, engrossing and entertaining, that kept me guessing till the end.
The characters are fleshed out and interesting, the plot flows and kept me hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Gabriel Ash and his dog, Patience, while walking in the woods, is surprised to see a terrified girl running toward him. She has obviously been attacked and needs help.

Calling Detective Chief Gorman, an investigation is begun. However, the description of the attacker strongly resembles Ash. And things really get muddled when a man's body is found close to where the girl ran from. He turns out to be her mother's lover.

Vigilantes try to burn down Ash's second-hand bookstore, more girls are attacked. Ash is in the cross hairs. Along with Hazel Best, his friend, and Gorman, Ash hopes the killer, the attacker is found soon. His own life may depend on it.

Although 7th in the series, this is easily read as a standalone. However, I strongly recommend starting at the very beginning. Strong character development, along with a tightly woven plot make this a compelling read. There are surprises along the way leading to a very unexpected ending. What I found of great interest were the conversations between Ash and Patience.

Many thanks to the author / Severn House / Netgalley for the digital copy of this cozy mystery. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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When Rachel Somers comes running out of the wood Gabriel and Patience, his dog, are the first thing she sees. Obviously upset and scraped up, Gabriel gets her safely home while she explains that someone attacked her in the wood outside her gate. 

When her mother's partner turns up dead in the same spot, suspicions are cast on Ash. While Hazel tries to protect him and find answers on the Somer's family, she is also digging her own grave at the police station. Following orders isn't her strong suit.

I have read all of this series. This was not my favorite. By now I would have liked to see more of Ash with his boys and get some kind of grip on himself. I have to say I did figure this one out from Chapter One. 

I'm hoping for another one soon!

July 2nd, 2020 by Severn House Publishers/NetGalley Review
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Gabriel Ash is almost run down by Rachel, a teenage girl who is fleeing a man who attacked her in the woods.  He's a solitary man (although he has two boys and a housekeeper) whose best friend is Hazel Best, a copper who really wants to be in CID.  Oh and he talks with his dog Patience, a lurcher.  Rachel, though, feels comforted by him.  A search of the wood by the police turns up a body- the body of Rachel's mother Pru's partner, Gethin, whose head has been bashed in.  Then two girls report seeing a man on the canal coming for them and more seriously, a teen reports being raped.  The CID is at a loss for what happened- Pru's not helpful, Rachel didn't see anything- and now to add to it, Gabriel has to deal with harassment because he fits the general description of the attacker.  No spoilers from me on this one.  There are some very good twists but best of all I had the same aha moment as the police near the end.  This is the 7th in a series that I've loved- I love the characters, I love how Bannister is able to convey so much with so little sometimes, I love how she builds suspense, I love how you won't see some things coming, and the plots will make you think.  I also think she's included enough info to make it fine as a standalone.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  It might seem odd to say that a murder mystery was a ray of light during the bad pandemic news but this one did it for me.  Excellent read.
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3.75 stars

This was an interesting read, and I regretted not having read the previous six books in the series. That being said, it works as a stand alone, but obviously the history of the main characters is explained more fully in the earlier books.

Gabriel Ash is a mild-mannered bookseller. He has lived through some desperately hard times and deals with PTSD after having suffered a breakdown years ago. He is an odd but endearing character, warm, sympathetic and intelligent. His dog Patience is a key piece in his recovery. His friend Constable Hazel Best is a bright and ballsy young policewoman who sometimes leaps before she looks. The two of them together are well-intentioned, but not always on target.

This time out, Gabriel and Patience are walking in the woods when they stumble across a hysterical teenage girl whose torn clothing and story indicate that she was attacked. Gabriel calms her down and calls the police. When they arrive back at her home, her mother shows up, and it is discovered that the mother's male partner is missing. It doesn't take long to discover his dead body in the woods.

We follow along with the police as they try to sort out the scene: Who attacked the girl and where did he go? Was this a random attack or was she targeted? Why was her "stepfather" in the woods? Was he attacked by the same man?

The girl's caustic relationship with her mother and the mother's protectiveness but also heavy-handed sarcastic hand with the daughter make the investigation very difficult. And Gabriel is just quirky enough that some local suspicion falls on him.

Nice character development and many plot twists and turns make this an enjoyable read. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Interesting characters and premise but I felt I was missing something by not having read the previous books.  I would have liked a bit more backstory --maybe as a prologue or forward. He an hazel have an interesting relationship but I knows there's more to it.  Central to the story is judging a book by its cover.  My opinion of the mother and daughter changed--the daughter much more than mother
Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review
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Thank you for the free copy of Dangerous Pursuits.  This was the first book that I have read in the series but it certainly will not be the last.
A teenage girl is running from an attacker who has murdered her mother’s lover and Gabriel, one of the two main characters finds her.
Gabriel is a forlorn and damaged human being but I quickly developed a soft spot for him.  His
best friend Hazel who is a police officer attempts to find the killer. Lots of different twists that 
certainly kept attention.
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The premise is a serious one. Gabriel Ash and his dog Patience are out for a walk when they rescue a terrified teen. 

The main characters, Constable Hazel Best and Gabriel Ash (second-hand bookseller in his shop Rambles With Books) perfectly complement each other despite the difference in age and just about every other thing going. Gabriel has a dog he named Patience who talks back to him. 

This is a well-plotted and fast-paced mystery and the mystery never leaves center stage while fully involving the characters from the offices of DCI Gorman and the other close contacts owing to Constable Best. Chewing on the lack of clues, they bounce one theory after another off each other. And just when you think you can see where this is obviously going, there's another twist. 
These two main characters are immensely engaging and the author's writing style entertaining and immersive. This is an easy and comfortable book to take your time and enjoy or gobble up and enjoy the chuckles between the occasional serious contemplative philosophical hypotheses. Dialogue is typical English. I enjoyed the colloquialisms, metaphors, and similes as well as the Irish sense of humor. Lively entertainment! 

The conclusion is one you've seen coming, but denied, hoping it wasn't so. A familiar theme but one we must keep seeing. Such an important, and topical, concept. Still, it's been a delightful ride and I can't wait for the next. Heartily recommended. 4.5/5 stars
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This is a cosy and comfortable series to read featuring Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best. It is well written and gives a good insight into someone suffering from PTSD. I love Patience, the dog, and the conversations between dog and owner. This is a cosy mystery, rather than a police procedural but the series is definitely worth reading. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.
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Reading the 7th book in a beloved series during anxious times is like putting on a warm sweater when you feel a chill. The resolution of the mystery I found far-fetched and rushed, but as always I enjoyed time spent with Gabriel Ash, Hazel Best, and Patience (the dog).

This series presents a really interesting take on someone with PTSTD, told with compassion and understanding.

One weird thing about this series is that we see and hear virtually nothing from Gabriel's two sons. Maybe the author doesn't like to write children.

Loved this line: "marriage meant having someone to share the problems you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single" (p. 183)

I read an advance reader copy of Dangerous Pursuits from Netgalley.
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My only disappointment with Dangerous Pursuits by Jo Bannister was on finishing it and discovering that's it's the 7th book in a series so on this evidence I've, until now, missed 6 excellent previous stories. 
Ash Gordon is walking his aptly named dog Patience (anyone around Ash needs plenty of that) when he's approached by distressed teenager Rachel Somers who has fled a sexual predator. On investigation it appears that Rachel's Mother Pru's partner has been bludgeoned to death in the Spinney that Rachel has fled from,apparently in an attempt to rescue her.....or was he?
Other incidents occur and the residents of Norbold,where the story is set, fear that a dangerous paedophile is on the loose.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Gorman, not so ably assisted by Constable Hazel Best,is on the case while Ash tries to help in a similar manner to how  the proverbial  Bull helps to re-arrange the display in a China Shop.  
Apart from being a great crime story Dangerous Pursuits is great fun with laugh out loud moments ,very insightful in places and has some great characters. No-one in this book is perfect , when Hazel puts her foot  in it it's one less than usual and while many people talk to their dogs Ash not only hears answers but takes advice from his canine chum.. 
I did guess the "big reveal" very quickly and found the Norbold Plod's inability to do so a bit frustrating but I loved the book and fully intend to start from book 1 to catch up on the backstories of the various characters.
Jo Bannister very cleverly combines a believable story with some often quite unconventional characters , some excellent comic dialogue  and even  a bit of quite deep psychological insight and somehow it all works very well.
A well-written book and great entertainment,highly recommended. 

Thanks to Jo Bannister, Severn House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
This is my favorite so far in the series.
Ash and Patience are having a walk and talk (as is usual between a dog and his/her human when a terrified teenage girl comes running out of the woods, crying hysterically after a brutal attack.  This ends up being one of the most baffling mysteries Ash and Hazel Best (a police officer and Ash's best friend) have come up against.
With not a single clue left at the attack site, it looks like they might never find the truth.
I love this series, every book just gets better and better.  Ash and Patience are wonderful, their 'discussions' really make me smile, and I'm glad Ash is doing so much better.  Hazel's wish comes true - but is it a double-edged sword?
With a superb and surprising ending, this book is a must read, highly recommended!
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