Friday, February 21, 2020

Review: Cremains by Rob Johnson

Genre: Crime/Comedy


“When sacked bank manager turned bank robber Max Dempsey (aka Simon Golightly) finds himself deep in debt to dodgy undertaker Danny Bishop, he’s prepared to do almost anything to pay it off and keep all of his fingers.
But he’s likely to lose a lot more than his fingers when he agrees to do a ‘little job’ for Danny and unintentionally crosses psychopathic Greek gangster, Nikos Spiropoulos.

Meanwhile, Bernard Pemberton and his granddaughter Tess are on a road trip to scatter their beloved Dottie’s ashes on a Scottish hilltop, but is it really her ashes in the cremation urn or something else altogether?
Cremains is a crime caper that twists and turns its way towards a conclusion that even Max himself couldn’t have predicted.”


Rob Johnson is a playwright with four plays that have been professionally produced and toured throughout the UK. This is his fifth book.

For more, visit Johnson’s website.


Forty years ago a big part of my reading material was made up of comedic crime novels by authors such as Donald Westlake with his series featuring John Dortmunder and Lawrence Block’s series with gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr as the star. Now I read a much wider range of genres and those comedic crime novels don’t seem to make it to my reading list nearly as often. For that reason alone this was a nice change of pace.

Cremains is different from those comedic crime novels of my younger years in that back then I always knew Dortmunder or Bernie or whoever the protagonist was would survive their current adventure, even if they came out of it empty handed. Here I wasn’t sure if our protagonist, Max, was going to survive the story or not. (I’m not going to tell you either.) I wasn’t sure if he did survive this adventure whether he’d be wishing he hadn’t if his wife found out what he’d been up to. (Not to mention his sister-in-law.) It definitely kept me guessing, but also laughing. Both good results.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK


Uses UK spelling conventions and slang. A lot of UK slang. I didn’t feel like I had any issues understanding, but if you think there is only one flavor of English and it’s what you learned growing up in Kansas, this will expand your horizons. Consider yourself warned. (It will be good for you. You’ll feel like you aren’t in Kansas anymore.) I’m not going to mention the little bit of Greek you’ll be exposed to. It’s no big deal, I promise.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

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