Bad Day in Minsk
by Jonathan Pinnock
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 8 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 20 Apr 2021
Duckworth Books, Farrago Books
A witty, fast-paced thriller set in Belarus, with a dash of mathematics and a large dose of danger.
Tom Winscombe is having a bad day. Trapped at the top of the tallest building in Minsk while a lethal battle between several mafia factions plays out beneath him, he contemplates the sequence of events that brought him here, starting with the botched raid on a secretive think tank and ending up in the middle of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
More importantly, he wonders how he's going to get out of this alive when the one person who can help is currently not speaking to him.
Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations.
Praise for Jonathan Pinnock:
‘Lovely stuff.’ Ian Rankin
‘A series of humorous, riotous mathematical mysteries.’ David Nicholls
‘He makes funny and self-deprecating company.’ The Herald
‘Jonathan Pinnock writes compelling tales with a deliciously wicked glint in his eye.’ Ian Skillicorn, National Short Story Week
‘Jonathan Pinnock is Roald Dahl’s natural successor.’ Vanessa Gebbie
'Funny, clever, and sometimes brilliantly daft. A comedy that I am sure would have made Pythagoras, Archimedes and Douglas Adams all laugh out loud.' Scott Pack on The Truth About Archie and Pye
Average rating from 16 members
Welcome to the mad, mad world of Jonathan Pinnock! I never suspected that mathematics and Belarus could have kept me in stiches for a few hours.....Once again we have a date with the best Deniable Asset on Earth, Tom Winscombe as he once again (and against his will) gets involved in an uproariously funny romp through the idiotic world of the Belarusian Mafia and its very colourful and violent idiosyncrasies. Or to quote one of the numerous dorks that will cross his path, "a wasted journey to a Godforsaken shithole at the edge of nowhere" An action packed and highly entertaining plot set in "Absurdistan" where heroes and villains are breathlessly crisscrossing the rather surreal Belarusian landscapes in order to get hold of highly important and dangerous mathematical papers through a series of hysterical events that follow one another through a crazy and hilarious menu full of kidnappings, murders, paranoia, homemade vodka, potatoe stews, corrupt cops....and so forth. A bad day in Minsk is a worthy addition to Mr. Pinnock's Mathematical Mystery Series. An unputdownable and very very funny madcap novel that deserves to be enjoyed without moderation! Many thanks to Netgalley and Duckworth/Farrago for this terrific ARC.
i think I could copy a review of the other books because I always have a lot of fun in reading this books. They are funny, well written and highly entertaining. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Absolutely mind-blowing, wacky and entertaining addition to the series! WOW! Jonathan Pinnock has done it again! I don't think I have ever read a book that is as wacky, quirky and hilarious (in a weird way) as this one. In fact, I have loved all the books in this series so I would say, super-fun series - especially if you are a math-nerd! Highly recommended!
We follow Tom Winscombe in his fourth adventure doomed to go wrong. I read part three last year as an ARC and was delighted by book 1&2, before reading three. I do recommend btw to read part 1-3 first. While Jonathan does little summaries of what happens the previous three books are well worth the read and I finished all four in two weeks. Because I just read 1-3, there was a little more summary than I liked, then again this makes it possible to read it as a standalone book. The things Tom gets into are very over-the-top, but intriguing and fun. A British kind of Carl Hiaasen story, where you never really know who the good guys and the bad guys are. Love the strong female leads (that pass the Bechdel test). If you want to read a silly, nerve wrecking, exciting adventure this is the book for you.
We've all had bad days, haven't we? But rest assured they've never been quite as bad as the one Tom Winscombe's having - kidnapped after a failed break in at the offices of a secretive think tank, sent under-cover into Belarus, kidnapped again (by Belarusan mafia this time), escaping, getting caught in a fire-fight between various gangs while the building burns beneath him ... It's the stuff of nightmares, but since he became involved in the affairs of deceased mathematical geniuses the Vavasor brothers it's become all too frequent an occurrence for Tom. Bad Day in Minsk is the fourth in the Mathematical Mystery series by Jonathan Pinnock, and as much, if not more, fun than the earlier stories. Always inclined to stumble into the sort of trouble that ends up with armed men threatening him, Tom finds himself coerced into posing as an expert on chaos theory and sent to Minsk. He's on his own this time, without girlfriend Dorothy who usually saves the day but with luck on his side, and help from some new acquaintances, Tom manages to not only escape with his life but come out of it all looking quite heroic (if only Dorothy would see that!) Full of thrills, tension and laughs in equal amounts, it's a fun read, which, despite the danger that Tom frequently finds himself in and the high body count among his adversaries, doesn't take itself too seriously. For me, it's the kind of escapism I need right now. It is possible to jump into the series at this point, as Tom makes great efforts to explain the back-story of his highly improbably adventures as he goes along, but I think it's best to start at the beginning with book one - The Truth About Archie and Pye .
I started reading this not realising that it is number 4 in the series.. However once I started I didn't want to stop. Tom is a pretty ordinary guy who has gotten involved with some not so normal people. Some of them are nice, in the loosest sense of the word, and some not very nice at all. In a tale that takes him to the exclusion zone around Chernobyl and to Minsk, there are plenty of thrills and spills and a lot of ouch. Very entertaining.
A bit of background first. Former PR executive Tom Winscombe and his software developer girlfriend Dorothy Chan, who runs Dot Chan with partner Ali, got reacquainted in book 1. Arkady was Tom’s then girlfriend Lucy’s Belarusian Zumba teacher who she left Tom for. Tom accidentally found himself caught in the battle for the famous Vavasor mathematical papers, written by twins Archimedes and Pythagoras. All the hilarious details are in books 1 to 3, involving death by magimix, the sinking of an artificial island and a murdering monk. And now, once again, it all goes back to the Vavasor papers which are still missing. Sergei, a friend of Arkady, helped retrieve the missing papers and took the opportunity to take revenge on the Belarusian mafia Gretzky gang for the death of his brother Maxim. Sergei managed to hang onto the papers but has recently told Arkady he was being followed by someone at the Institute for Progress and Development. Then Sergei disappears and so do the papers so the obvious conclusion is that the Institute has stolen them. Of course the natural thing to do is break in and steal them back, especially having the added skills of their two interns, Katya (Arkady’s niece) and Balwinder. Things don’t go quite according to plan and Tom finds himself in the hands of Helen Matheson, an intelligence operative of some sort. Her past is murky, although she has claimed to have been involved in the UK secret services. However, her unit was privatized and she now works for anyone who will pay her. Tom doesn’t want to go to Belarus, never mind being forced to impersonate a chaos theory expert engaged by the Petrov family mafia and find what has happened to Matheson’s man over there. He certainly doesn’t want to become a Deniable Asset (Grade 2), even now he knows the identity of who was embedded in the Petrov family. And off we trot in another madcap caper of assorted kidnap, murders, villains, familiar faces and sharpshooter little old ladies. No wonder Tom didn’t want to go to Belarus. As with the previous three books, this is brimming full of wonderful eccentric characters and humour to chuckle at on virtually every page. The story is beautifully told and the pages fair skip along as it’s so easy to become immersed in this strange and crazy world that poor Tom found himself in one day and never quite seems to escape from. Wickedly clever and highly recommended. 5*
This is the fourth installment in Jonathan Pinnock's Mathematical Mystery series, and I have to say this was my favorite, by a narrow margin. I have enjoyed the series very much, and although I am entertained by the mathematics in the first three books, this one was heavier on the mystery and lighter on the math. What I liked best about this is that it jumped right in, and in this book, our hero Tom was on his own much of the time. worry not, Dorothy and others certainly make an appearance, but as only he can, Tom finds himself alone in Belarus facing certain death and a worldwide economic collapse. Even though events seem to carry him along, Tom is able to put himself in a position to come out on top, with a little help. If you're a fan of this series, you'll love it. If you're new to the series, jump right in. Pinnock is masterful at filling in the background without wasting chapters retelling old stories. Many thanks to NetGalley and Farrago Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this book, while not knowing that it is number 4 in the series.. However, I don’t think that this impacted my ability to enjoy the story, as the author did a really nice job inserting snippets from the previous stories for the background information needed. I haven’t previously enjoyed a book that combined mystery and mathematics in this manner, and as a bit of a numbers junkie myself, really enjoyed the way this was presented. Curious to dig into the previous 3 books to see how they compare. Thanks for the laughs and entertainment, which we need now more than ever.
Good stuff. With humor and clever plotting, Pinnock does a nice job of keeping readers in suspense and entertained with clever writing. For those that have read his other books. getting this will be an easy decision. Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!