Today I’m bringing you my review of Irex by Carl Rackman as part of the blog tour hosted by The Write Reads. Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Author: Carl Rackman
Number of Pages: 394 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Date Published: September 25, 2016
Buy the Book: Amazon
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In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland, bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton soon discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret that threatens the lives of everyone on board. As the Irex battles relentless storms, Hutton fights battles of his own as he becomes mired in the intrigues of his passengers.
When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship. He quickly runs into opposition – powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to spike his inquest. Locked in a conflict with the sinister agents sent to obstruct the investigation, he begins to discover that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed, while the evil that stalked the ship now threatens anyone who seeks to expose it…
Irex is an atmospheric mystery, set in a rich Victorian world, packed with intrigue, twists and unforgettable characters — the gripping first novel by Carl Rackman.
Irex took the Silver Medal in the Historical Fiction category of the #RBRT 2017 Book Awards
Irex is a historical mystery that had me captivated from the very beginning and I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of historical stories full of twists and turns.
Irex takes place over dual timelines. The one timeline takes place on a ship called the Irex and it is told from the perspective of Captain Will Hutton. Captain Hutton seems to be a decent man, with a strong sense of faith, who is in way over his head as a result of the passengers on his ship. The other timeline takes place after the Irex wrecks off of the coast of the Isle of Wight and it is told from the perspective of the county coroner, Frederick Blake, who is tasked with running the inquest in the events that happened. Mr. Blake is also an honest man who runs into difficulties and danger when he starts to get a bit too close to the truth about what happened aboard the ship.
I enjoyed the dual timelines in this book. I enjoyed reading about what happened on the ship with the Capitan and the crew and then seeing what Mr. Blake and his colleagues uncovered through their questioning and investigating. I found myself getting very invested in Mr. Blake’s inquest because I was desperately wanting to know if he would uncover what I just read in the previous chapter.
This book had a lot of characters, and, at times, I had a difficult time keeping track of who was who. Some of the characters in this book were quite sinister and they made this book very exciting because I wanted to know what would happen next. I enjoyed the characters working on the inquest more than I enjoyed the characters on the Irex, and my two favourite characters were Mr. Blake and Mr. Rennie, who was a reporter assisting with the inquest goes.
As far as the story goes, I enjoyed it. I thought the mystery was enjoyable and there were a lot of twists and turn that made it difficult to put the book down. I’m not very familiar with the time period this book takes place in, so there were some things I had to look up because I was curious, but I was still able to enjoy the story without being familiar with the history. I also found it neat that the Irex was a real ship that wrecked near the Isle of Wight.
As far as the writing goes, this book was very easy to get drawn into. The story was easy to read, which made it easy to get hooked on the story.
Hi! I’m Carl Rackman, a British former airline pilot turned author. I spent my working life travelling the world and this has given me a keen interest in other people and cultures. I’ve drawn on my many experiences for my writing.
I write suspense thrillers with a grounded science-fiction theme. I like reading novels that feature atmospheric locales and I enjoy complex, absorbing storylines combined with rich, believable characters, so that’s the sort of fiction I write. I try to create immersive worlds for the reader to explore, and characters who are more than just vehicles for the story.
I come from a naval military background and have held a lifelong interest in military history and seafaring – all my books usually contain some of these elements!
I hope you’ll enjoy my books and leave reviews. I try to personally thank reviewers if they’ve particularly enjoyed my books.
Find out more about me, my writing and my upcoming books at rackmanbooks.com. You can usually find me on Twitter – @CarlRackman