by Sam Gordon, Sophie Hénaff
Series: Awkward Squad #2
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: MacLehose Press
I can’t remember how I discovered the first book in this series, The Awkward Squad, but I thoroughly enjoyed it; it felt fresh and it amused me, and I chalked up any small irritations to the translation from the French.
This second book was much the same, although there were more straight-up translation issues this time; errors that should have been caught in editing – like saying the ‘France people’ instead of the ‘French People’ in one spot. And a few things were just cultural references I didn’t understand, not being French myself. Glossing over them didn’t affect my understanding of the plot or the mystery, though undoubtedly I missed a layer of enjoyment.
The series focuses on a department of the police judiciaire, which was occasionally referred to as PJs, which made me giggle more than it should have. This department was created as a repository for all the misfits that couldn’t be fired; they were established in an old office building offsite with all the cold case files that have never been solved, and then left to fend for themselves.
I didn’t expect this to work as well as it does, but I enjoy reading about the individual misfits and how their odd contributions further the pursuit of criminals and solve cases. It’s far-fetched, sure, but it never feels silly or slapstick, somehow.
It’s not perfect, but it’s highly enjoyable, and I sincerely hope the author continues to write more in the series, and that they continue to be translated into English.