Pennies For Charon

  Pennies for Charon: A Charlie Bars Thriller (The Charlie Bars Thriller Series Book 1) by Benedict J. Jones

I was contacted by Crime Wave Press asking if I would interested in reading The Gingerbread Houses by Benedict J. Jones which has just been released. This title will make the third suspense noir thriller featuring Charlie “Bars” Constantinou. As I like to start a series at the beginning I asked and received a digital copy of his first stand alone Charlie Bars thriller  (Pennies for Charon) compliments of Crime Waves Press in exchange for an honest review.

After finishing Pennies for Charon I dug a little deeper into Charlie’s past by reading Skewered and Other London Cruelties as he is introduced as a character in the novella Skewered and is featured in 2 of the other shorts. I left a review for this book also.

When we first meet Charlie in Skewered he was newly out from his 3rd stint in prison, struggling to ride the straight and narrow, and nurturing his fledgling art career.  At the start of Pennies for Charon we see him with a new career but back to drinking, hanging in bars, and his painting projects languish unfinished off in the corner. He is oozing more into the gray every day.

This noir tale opens with Charlie and Mazza as partners now in a somewhat shady Private Investigation firm. What starts as a simple missing person case quickly turns into something much darker. A demon obsessed serial killer who wears pink socks, Ouija boards,  and a new rich barrister client that turns out to be just as suspicious of Charlie as Charlie is of him.

Charlie is fleshed even more as we meet his family, and an old flame/ working girl Lena. The suspense and the violence build steadily throughout the story and Charlie definitely takes a darker turn. The theme also continues…with a business partner/friend like Mazza who needs enemies, although after reading Skewered I understand more of his motive.

Benedict J. Jones has tightened up his writing in Pennies for Charon with the use of swift spare prose, with just enough gritty London-isms to give character and grit. If you like your noir with a little twist of the paranormal then you are in the right hands. Mr. Jones provides a great read and his writing just continues to get better.

Time to spark a Benson and take a bite out of The Devil’s Brew.


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Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.