Mcfly Posted on 12:00 am

Reviewing The Tailor of Riga

  • Title: The Tailor of Riga
  • Author: Jonathan Harries
  • Format: ebook
  • Publisher:Jonathan Harries Ink
  • Genres: crime thriller, fiction
  • Page #: 308
  • Release Date: July 7, 2020
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*** This post may contain spoilers. ***


I had absolutely no intention of getting into the family business. As I told my father the night he enlightened me on what my ancestors had been up to for over a thousand years, “Sticking a curved dagger into someone’s liver ain’t quite my cup of tea. “As it turned out, I had no choice. When your family’s been assassinating reprobates and other loathsome individuals for seventy generations, you have a certain obligation. So, while it was a little disconcerting to hear how dear old granny would have become a prostitute if Grandpa Joe hadn’t whacked one of Germany’s top agents just before the start of World War I, it certainly piqued my interest. Of course, as I discovered, prostitution and murder were pretty de rigueur for my family. After all, it was my great-grandfather who was hired by the British secret service to kill Jack the Ripper and my mother’s cousins who took part in the attempted assassination of Lenin. My only regret when I finally took up the family sica was not eliminating Jean-Bedel Bokassa just before he crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Empire and ate my two friends. But we all make mistakes.

**** I was given a copy of this book by the author but all opinions are my own. ****

My Review

This book switched between 1st person narrative and 3rd person narrative, which I actually found enjoyable because of the story that was being told. Jonathan Harries created an entire make believe story with his own family as the main characters. I really liked the way he blended real people and fiction in order to create a unique story that makes you want to believe in the events he’s created.

For a good portion of the book, a span of over 3 generations, the only alcohol mentioned by name or type is Vat 69 Scotch Whiskey. There are vague mentions to other options being available with terms like ‘booze’ or ‘a drink’ but it’s as if there is one liquor available just like the Harries have only one line of work avialable for those 70 generations while they are cursed. There is a portion of the book that takes place in Russia and vodka is not mentioned, even once. Finally, at the 71% mark a gin and tonic is requested, and near the very end they have some beer offered to them but I am lost as to why a specific brand of Scotch holds such a significiant place of value in the novel. Vat 69 Scotch whiskey holds significance within the story but I was never able to determine what the true significance was. Once the story was complete I decided to accept that the family choose to only drink this Vat 69 Scotch Whiskey as a representation of the families choice in their line of work but I don’t think that’s it, there’s something more and I simply missed it.

The part of the story where Jonathan is the official family member holding the position was the most enjoyable. This is partially due to the fact that its the end of the book, but it’s also because he found a way to put his own spin on something he felt an obligation to carry on. And there is also the fact that his first kills as a mercenary where felt with regret. The deaths shown by his forefathers allowed a sense of doing justice, while his first experience did not provide, or allow,for that same sense of justice. Sure he saved a mans life, but with horrible consequences, his actions resulted in the deaths of multiple good intending people and allowed an already horrible leader the opportunity to take more advantages of his power in horrendous ways.

At the beginning of every chapter Mr. Harries includes a section entitled “Dramatis Personae”, that included the names, lifespan and relevant life details of new characters in the chapter, it has its value but there were times when its presents interfered with the flow of the story. As the story progressed I found myself contemplating skipping this part because I wanted to find out what happened next, but I never actually skipped it and there were a few times I was genuinely thankful for it because the chapter would have made little sense had I not been provided the information included in the Dramatis Personae.

So, yes there were a few quarks scattered throughout the novel that I was not particularly fond of but my overall view of the book was defiantly a 5.Jonathan Harries early years living in Africa combined with his latter years living in the US combined very well into a book I truly enjoyed. Later this month, July 27, the prequel ‘The Carpet Salesman from Bagdad’ is being released and I can’t to read the advanced readers copy he has provided me to review. So keep your eyes out for that review in a couple of weeks.

Oh and I almost forgot we are going to be privileged with the opportunity to read a special guest post written by this incredible author, Jonathan Harries, later this month as well so keep your eyes open for that to. Apparently this July is full of Jonathan Harries, so I hope you all enjoy ‘The Tailor ofRigá’ before we get to the next novel.

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