‘Times Like These’ by Stephen Puleston

Times Like These (Inspector John Marco Book 4) by [Stephen Puleston]


A city emerging from Covid lockdown restrictions. A mutilated corpse is the second murder after the brutal killing of a sexual predator. Detective Marco is convinced a single killer is at work. But can he stop more deaths?

The body of man involved in two failed prosecutions for sexual violence is dumped on a secluded road. Marco has to face criticism from a community appalled by the failure of the police. When the mutilated body of a man with no suspected links to sexual offences is discovered Marco is convinced one killer is at work.

But his superiors disagree. A profiler, insisted on by Marco’s Superintendent, only adds to his frustration. Can Marco win the day?

After two more deaths Marco realises how all the threads pull together and who might be the final victim of the killer intent on gruesome revenge. The world might have been locked away and policing very different, but DI John Marco knows that behind closed doors, the bad guys have merely been waiting patiently for their moment to strike.

Faced with his own weaknesses he challenges himself to finish the case as he races to avert the final death.

My Review

I have been a fan of Stephen’s work for a while now.  I haven’t actually caught up with everything he has written, but I do keep pace with his new releases and when I am able to, I read one of his earlier books.  ‘Times Like These’ is the fourth book in the series featuring Detective Inspector John Marco.  It really is another cracking addition to a fantastic series and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but more about that in a bit.

It didn’t take me long at all to get into ‘Times Like These’.  In fact as soon as I started reading the first page, I knew that I would find it increasingly difficult to put the book to one side for any length of time.  I took to the character of Marco from the start and I had to keep reading to see how the story panned out and if Marco caught the perpetrator.  At times I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough.  I did try to ration how much I read in one go but because I was so desperate to find out what happened that my attempts at rationing were thrown out of the window.  I read ‘Times Like These’ over the course of a single day which is good going for me. 

‘Times Like These’ is superbly written but then I think that to be true of Stephen’s books in general.  He grabs your attention from the start and draws you into the story.  Once he has your attention, he will not let you have it back until the moment you read the last word on the last page.  For me, the story was perfectly paced- the story started with a bang and from then on maintained a fairly fast pace.  I smugly thought that I had fathomed out who was who and what was going to happen next but then Stephen threw a curveball into the story and ended up sending me down another path entirely.  I felt as though I was part of the story myself and that’s thanks to Stephen’s very vivid and realistic storytelling.  I was gripped by the story and on the edge of my seat throughout.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Times Like These’ and I would definitely recommend this book to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Stephen’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek  board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

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