Home > Mystery, Senior Fiction > Smiling Jack by Ken Catran.

Smiling Jack by Ken Catran.

Smiling Jack by Ken Catran. Pub. HarperCollins, 2010.

Robert’s father and uncle are killed in a motor accident in which they some how swerved on a bridge and went over the side into a fast moving river. They both knew the road well and the accident is a mystery. Ccould it be murder?

18 year old Robert is taken to the scene by the local police Sergeant, Sarge Peggy and finds the Jack of Hearts by the roadside. Is this a clue? The Jack had been given a bizarre smile and all other murders that occur in the book are accompanied by the same Smiling Jack. I wondered about this because the cover has the Jack of Diamonds on it. Perhaps I missed something.

It is suspected that Robert’s father and uncle were involved in a swindle in which clients money was used to convert into three million dollars worth of gold coins and these coins are missing. Where could they be?

The clients mostly reside in the small country town of Tucker and include the leaders of a religious cult called the Aten whose beliefs are taken from an ancient Egyptian religious leader. What do they know of the swindle?

When several other characters are done to death things start to look grim for Robert.

A classic whodunnit from Ken Catran told in his familiar style and frantic pace which characterised his earlier series on serial killer Blue that included Talking to Blue, Blue Murder and Blue Blood. These are quite brilliant and if you like this title try the Blue series.

Ken Catran keeps you guessing and as always his research into the Egyptology of the religious cult is faultless. His writing style keeps you reading because it is so effortless, and tension is maintained throughout the book. The ending is breath taking.

Will appeal to high school students and reluctant readers.

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