Approximate word count: 65-70,000
Availability Kindle: YES Nook: YES DTB: YES
Born in Nigeria, Mobashar Qureshi later lived in Pakistan and now lives in Toronto, Canada. He graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Toronto. He was named one of the “ten rising Canadian mystery writers to watch” by Quill & Quire Magazine in 2007. For more information visit the author's website.
A Plumber, an Electrician, a Caretaker, a Locksmith and a Butcher. Why do they secretly meet every week?
Karl Whaler, a detective for the Chicago Police, is investigating a brutal murder. Then another murder happens that appears related, yet nothing ties the two victims together. Who is doing this and why?
Some might call this book a mystery. I’m inclined not to because whodunit, the key element in a typical mystery, is apparent early in the book. Yet there is still plenty of mystery. The questions of why the murders were committed, will the police catch the culprits, even whether the reader wants the murderers caught are unanswered questions - mysteries in a way. Then, near the end, some additional mysteries crop up.
The above is a part of what I liked about this book. It is also an example of what I was thinking of when I discuss indie authors in the “why Indies” page of this blog. Something that is different from the typical formula and takes risks is much more likely found among Indies. What this book does differently is take a couple different formulas and combines elements from each. In most books who you should root for is obvious. It might be the criminal trying to pull off the bank robbery or it might be the detective trying to catch him. In The October Five, it isn’t clear. The author doesn’t try swaying the reader toward any of the choices, nor while reading, did I ever decide. The ending has no clear winner either although there are some definite losers. Yet, somehow, the ending was still satisfying. Maybe because real life is seldom clear cut and unambiguous either.
I try to mention in this area when a UK or Aussie author uses spelling or expressions that is correct for their native country. I consider these comments neutral since different people react differently to this situation. For me these are typically a positive because they add color (or colour in this case) to the story. It reminds me that the story is taking place somewhere other than the US. Others might find this disconcerting. By making the reader aware they can decide based on their tastes whether this matters or not.
You may wonder why this long discussion. It’s because The October Five doesn’t fit the typical situation. First, the author lives in Canada where typically UK spelling is used, but the setting for the book is Chicago. It appears Qureshi mostly used US spelling conventions, however, some UK spelling variations snuck in. His also used US measurements (feet, pounds, miles, etc) which, given the characters are from Chicago, is correct. However, there is at least one instance where a character thinks in kilometres (with that spelling) rather than miles. These situations are very few and shouldn’t affect your reading pleasure too much; however, it is slightly jarring when you stumble onto these.
I spotted very few typos or proofreading issues.
Rating: **** Four star