Blog Tour: The Puppet Maker, Jenny O’Brien

Book Review: The Puppet MakerDetective Alana Mack Book 1, Jenny O’Brien

The Puppet Maker, Jenny O’Brien

Mystery: The Puppet MakerDetective Alana Mack Book 1, Jenny O’Brien


I am thoroughly annoyed that I agreed to review this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I did like it. I have way too many series to read without now adding a new author to my “must read” list. Alas, the woes of a book dragon.


Detective Alana Mack is with the police department in Dublin, Ireland. She leads a team handling serious crimes, particularly murder. Sometimes, though, it’s the small things that get to a detective. As small as a two-year-old girl left alone in a shopping cart in the middle of a grocery store. A little girl with a a stark warning: “Her life and mine depend on you not trying to find me.”


At the same time as the little girl is brought into the station, two “rough sleepers” bring in a bag of what seems to be meat. One of these men was a doctor who used to work with the police department. A quick glance at the contents of the bag told him that this was not animal offal. The liver and kidneys in the bag came from human bodies.


Combined with a missing person case that was already taxing her shorthanded team, Alana drives herself relentlessly to solve the cases. Her challenge is much more than just the cases. Alana is paralyzed from the waste down. Hints are provided, but the reader is not informed of the cause of her paralysis. We do find out that it was job related, and there is no apparent hope for a change in her condition. Unwilling to let her wheelchair define her or limit her, Alana leads her team with a combination of toughness and compassion. She protects them from her overbearing boss, she deals with crises calmly and efficiently, and she makes sure they take time to live. 


Then, there’s an unexpected break in the case. DNA from the body parts matches that of the found little girl. The toddler is a close relative of the previous owners of those organs. Yes, owners. The contents came from two different people, both of whom were related to the child.


Jenny O’Brien draws her characters with both compassion and understanding. A former nurse, O’Brien uses her experience to flesh out (no pun intended) the medical aspects of these cases. I do worry that her search history could be misunderstood were it to come to the attention of the authorities. Her setting of Dublin is written with love for a city that has long captured my imagination. At this point in my life, I suspect the only way I’ll be traveling to Dublin is in my mind. Careful and insightful writers like O’Brien make that mental visit much richer.


Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of The Puppet Maker, provided so we could give an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.


The Puppet Maker, Jenny O’Brien

Book Review: The Puppet MakerDetective Alana Mack Book 1, Jenny O’Brien

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