Jack Irish remains a hugely companionable and likeable hero. A man's man with a sensitive, artistic side (albeit with fine wine, furniture and horses); he's not afraid to fight and he also gets hurt. Jack is also partial to the ladies, and thus gets hurt emotionally as well. He's not perfect, but enough of a cynical cool guy as you could ever want to meet. He's also kind enough to old men and animals to redeem himself.
This novel follows much the same path as the last: a call from the past, a horse racing scam and a couple of love affairs (one dying, one starting) all tie up together to provide structure to a plot that is slightly less believable than the last. There is a sense that we have been here before, but it's not a bad place to be. It allows Temple to expand and enjoy the company of his characters, who are all good fun. In fact, this is what makes the novels enjoyable. They are a nice place to hang out; a group of good blokes in various locations in southern Australia, with some sexy women who want to be with Jack. And that means you want to be with Jack too.
In our last “Jack Irish” review we recommended that Temple carried on with this series - for the very reason that this formula works. However, after reading another one in the series, the satisfaction in a sense of place and company has become slightly marred by the repetitiveness of the story. The next book should stretch beyond the confines of the plot structure that Temple has constructed for these books. He is such a good writer of taut action and sharp conversation that he can afford to loosen up and become more creative with the narrative. So, maybe you can get too much of a good thing, but in the case of the series, and this book, it still remains a good thing and a very good book.