The Kindle store’s description of Quinn Checks In was promising, and the fact that it appeared in the top 3 for a number of different categories suggested that it would be a good read. As the first book in a series, I had high hopes that the story would be deep, and would compel me to go on to read them all. I had also decided, after having thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl, that I quite fancied reading another mystery book.
In spite of all these high hopes, I have to say that I was left generally disappointed by Quinn Checks In. I didn’t feel that there was anything that kept me wanting to turn the pages, other than the hope that the book would improve as I got further into it. I must say that I found Liam Quinn, the protagonist rather charming, both as a result of his self-deprecation and moments of humour. As a reader, I was also on his side, given the fact that he has clearly learned from his past mistakes, and wishes to set himself down the correct path this time, as well as his obvious don’t-mess-with-me character. However, I found other characters fairly hollow, given that there were so many of them that it was sometimes hard to keep track of who was who. As a result of this, and the fact that many of these characters were predictable stereotypes found in a crime novel, I struggled to keep interested and did skim read some parts of the book.
Additionally, while I did appreciate the backstory behind the novel, and the fact that it wasn’t difficult to keep up with this story, understanding the reasoning behind inter-character relationships and dynamics, I found that some elements of the narrative were a little too simplistic. For example, problems were always solved a little too conveniently, to the point at that they seemed unrealistic and, personally, I would expect crime/mystery narratives to have a little more verisimilitude. Having said this, Thomson does paint a rich picture of the setting of Philadelphia and puts it in context of the people that live in the city. This does mean that there is an effective backdrop for the narrative which means that, even if the narrative itself is unrealistic, at least its setting isn’t.
I also found the ending largely disappointing, no ‘real’ solution for the crime that had been followed for the rest of the narrative. Instead, there was more of a summary of what was to come. I feel a better solution would to have leave the narrative on a cliffhanger- at least, that would have probably encouraged me to read the next book in the series.
Having considered everything, I cannot say that I would recommend Quinn Checks In, certainly not to anyone who is expecting a high-quality read. Perhaps it would be a good light holiday read, and I must admit that I would consider reading another book in the series, simply out of curiousity to see if there is improvement, and not because I feel compelled to know more.