Sunday, March 18, 2012

When Skylarks Fall: The Next Joe Box Mystery by John Robinson

Want to know what I’m currently reading? Tough, I’m going to tell you anyway. I am reading three books on the Vikings, four books on the End Times, two on Jewish history and a romantic fantasy by George Macdonald. That doesn’t include the books I’m reviewing for publishing companies or all the e newsletters I subscribe to online.

So what’s a lady to do when the weekend arrives and she simply wants a fun, entertaining read?

She reads When Skylarks Fall by John Robinson, that’s what she does! When Skylarks Fall is the next in the Joe Box Series. For a review of the first book, Until the Last Dog Dies, go here. Joe Box is a private investigator. A Kentucky native and a Vietnam vet, he currently lives in Cincinatti and, you guessed it, solves mysteries. The particular mystery this time involves, Kitty Clark, a fellow Kentucky native and world famous-legendary even- Country music star who is receiving mysterious letters and phone calls by someone who knows information about her so personal no one in the world could possibly know it. Yet someone does.

As the letters and phone calls become more menacing, Kitty hires Joe to find out who this “mystery person” is. Joe travels down to Kentucky to gather information in hopes of finding clues. With the help of a very rich computer expert and a couple of members of the mafia, Joe goes on a search that turns your normal ‘tough PI’ mystery into a suspenseful story that keeps you turning the pages. Each character introduced is a likely suspect but which one is it? The end is not predictable. Some of it is not entirely believable.

Let me start with the negatives:

Without giving away the ending, the “who did it” was within the realm of credibility but there were other developments in the story that I simply couldn’t buy. One part that undoubtedly was intended as a shocking turn of events merely had me rolling my eyes. If you read the book after reading this review, you’ll probably spend most of it wondering what I’m talking about, which, in my opinion, is giving the storyline an added suspense and a good thing. The author should thank me.

Another thing I didn’t like-and I really, really didn’t like it- had to do with Box’ girlfriend. Yes, her again. As shallow and undeveloped as she was in the first book, his attempts to make her more colorful failed on an epic scale. I guess Robinson was trying to make her less perfect and more “real,” but to inform us that a hugely successful architect was a prostitute in her younger days? Really? REALLY? Excuse me while I roll my eyes again.

The following is a sarcastic paraphrase:

“Uh, Joe, I’m sorry to break this to you but years ago I had a boyfriend that insisted I financially support us by having sex with men for money. He also tried to bludgeon me to death.  I’m telling you this because he’s just re entered my life, so excuse me while I go-alone- to the ghetto where he lives and tell him about Jesus.” Insert another eye roll here.

So why did I still enjoy this book and plan on getting the third in the series? Because despite the failings there is one thing that John Robinson succeeds at. Joe Box is an interesting character. I like him. I like reading about him and I want to keep reading to hear what he has to say next, to see what is going to happen to him next. He’s a tough old man who’s had many a hard knock but can keep getting up and giving as good as he gets. He’s dry and sarcastic and I enjoy the repartee he engages in with the other characters. He’s funny and human and the next time I want to take a mental vacation and just enjoy a fun read, I’m going to be reading about Joe and see him solve another mystery.

For more information you can go
John Robinson Books

I bought this book.

Or buy on Kindle for .99

For more information visit the author's website:


  1. would you say that Joe Box has a little bit of Columbo in him? I laughed while reading your paraphrase of the girlfriend's comments to Joe.
    this was a fun book review to read. Thanks, Sharon

  2. Phyllis: I think Joe is a little harder nosed than Columbo. Columbo came across as a nice, bumbling guy-even though he was really sharp as a whip-that's how he got the bad guys. Joe's more in your face sarcastic and tough.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.