Having survived eight weeks of the worst emotional turmoil I’ve ever endured, what should I fall prey to next but whatever horrid ailment has seized all my children over these American holidays! After finishing my last book for work yesterday morning and staring down the barrel of many, many more books for work, I decided to rebel and read something for myself, taking an early gander at the last copy of the Bad Machinery series that I currently own, The Case Of The Modern Men.
Loyal readers will know that I usually save the Bad Machinery books for Christmas morning, when the rest of my family is all occupying themselves with presents and I get an uninterrupted hour or so of quiet reading surrounded by their burbling laughter (or the occasional squeal of frustration or rage that I’m well used to tuning out, at least on Christmas morning while their father tends to them.) But I really wanted a comfort read with pictures today, and I can’t for the life of me find the copies of Steeple that my husband bought for me last year, so I decided I’d just go ahead and read this book then order the rest to read over Christmas as usual.
And it was absolutely worth it! I was so sick today, I couldn’t even sit up for the Sennelier Monday Live sessions I usually do with my friends (tho in fairness, I was also a little intimidated that they were doing a portrait in watercolors this week: I just did my first portrait in oil pastels last week and that was a Big Deal for me. That said, I’m pretty sure my rendering of Eugene Delacroix was Not Great, so I’m hesitant to apply my shaky art theory across mediums to a non-dead person.) But reading this book was just about what I needed, even if my energy levels weren’t quite up to downing the whole thing in one go, as I usually do. I actually had to take a break between reading Parts 2 and 3 of this book to take a restorative illness nap with my also-ill youngest!
But the story was charming and transporting as always, even if this installment was much lighter on the supernatural than usual (tho arguably the whole thing is very influenced by what happened at the end of The Case Of The Forked Road.) There is a supposedly haunted scooter involved, but really this is the story of a burgeoning gang war in the town of Tackleford between the mods and the rockers. Our intrepid sleuths are on the side of peace, even if Jack feels more of a kinship with the mods and Shauna, who has joined a band, is firmly pro-rocker. Add to this the hijinks of French exchange students upending our young investigators’ lives, even as the hormones of adolescence start kicking in more firmly. In fairness, Jack’s always been a bit moony over the opposite sex, tho seeing Sonny start to show interest in girls is like watching one of my own babies grow up. At least I still have sensible, football-mad Linton!
Ofc, this would not be a Doreen review of a Bad Machinery book if I didn’t fawn over my girls, and especially the irrepressible Charlotte! Shauna is also a badass here, tho Mildred only makes brief cameos, as she’s too busy terrorizing her father’s co-workers to do much investigating. Weirdly, Little Claire has her lisp back! Honestly, I wouldn’t even have noticed if I hadn’t gone back to read my review TCotFR, where she no longer had it: I just so closely associate it with her that I forgot utterly that she’d lost it!
I’m a little sad that there are only 2 books left in this series, but that’s impetus for me to get to reading the rest of John Allison’s oeuvre. I own quite a number of those books but keep putting off reading them till I get through these, my absolute favorites. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get through more than just the one this year!
The Case Of The Modern Men (Bad Machinery #8) by John Allison was published July 30 2019 by Oni Press and is available from all good booksellers, including