The Dead Don’t Wait by Michael Jecks

Living in London in 1555 was never easy, but former cutpurse and now reluctant assassin Jack Blackjack is having one hell of a bad day. He’s in debt to some very nasty moneylenders, the pretty wench he’s trying to bed turn’s out to be a con artist, and he’s got some serious servant problems. Now there’s a dead priest, and of course Jack’s been accused of murdering him. 

This is the fourth in Jeck’s Bloody Mary Tudor Mystery series, and I think by far the best. Jack’s not your typical protagonist, and definitely not a hero. He’s a charming rogue whose life revolves around his pleasures and survival, which often gets him into trouble without his even trying. The enjoyment is in watching him get entangled in various tight spots and inveigle his way out. 

The plot, which involves the murder of a priest, plus a possible treasure, and Jack’s effort at self-preservation (remember the aforementioned money-lenders and pretty wench?), is intricate and entertaining. The dialogue is intelligent, lively and witty. There is also the added appeal of learning about events during the reign of Mary Tudor. This was a turbulent period of change. Peoples lives were turned upside-down by new laws, and the return of Catholicism. This story reflects the times and what it took to survive, or not.

All in all, this was a very entertaining read. Looking forward to more Blackjack adventures.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the advance reader copy of this book made available for my review.

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