I received a copy of this book from LiterallyPR as part of this book tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing
Published: December 2020
Joseph Winter is a master criminal, known around the backstreets as Trace – because he never leaves one. That is, until a tip-off about a fabled treasure map turns sour, shattering his reputation and turning his dreams to dust.
With nothing left to lose, Joseph decides to take the leap and persuades a group of interesting strangers to join him on the hunt. After taking to the waves, they are catapulted into a wondrous odyssey stretching across the globe, unearthing not only missing clues, but their own hidden depths when pushed to extremes demanded by the sea.
The treasure hunt leaves questions.
Yet, soon Joseph begins to ask his own…Why are they doing this? Who can I trust? Who am I now?
Joseph Winter is a con artist and a thief known around Victorian London as Trace, because he never leaves one after a job. After suffering a terrible betrayal, Joseph finds himself locked up in prison, his dreams shattered and his reputation destroyed. Yet one thing stays with him: a map leading to the fabled Lost Loot, a treasure existing only in legend… or so everyone thought. Pulling together a band of unlikely allies, Joseph sets out to recover the treasure and his freedom. But who can be trusted in this journey, and with each other’s lives?
I LOVE con and heist books. Throw in a treasure hunt too and I’m completely sold. Which was exactly the case with Seadogs and Criminals. This is a highly engaging book, following a cast of charismatic yet difficult characters in their search for lost treasure. The stakes are high and so is the tension, at least for the first part of the book.
The descriptions of life for the poorest in Victorian London were fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. I particularly appreciated the portrayal of life in prison and the different types of people who might find themselves in there, which is something I haven’t read much of before.
Where this book started losing steam for me was once our heroes start their journey at sea. A lot of time and space was devoted to explaining how a ship works, the various roles and specific terminology and I just… got bored. The pace started really dragging as nothing much happened, not even from a character development point of view. It picked up again once the crew hit land, but it was still a significant part of the book that could have easily been trimmed a little. There is a very handy glossary at the end that made it easier to understand the terminology, which I found very helpful.
Character-wise, I liked the mix of people Joseph meets and pulls together. They are all clearly very complex characters with complicated pasts and lots of secrets, which is something I love. However, for the most part I would have liked to see them explored a bit more. Most of the secondary characters in particular are little more than a name, and for some I actually ended up almost forgetting they were there at all.
This is only the first book though, so I hope we’ll see more action and get to know the characters better in book 2. It really takes its time just setting the scene, and the ending is quite abrupt, leaving it to be continued in the next book so just be aware of that if you don’t like reading series.
Overall though, Seadogs and Criminals was an enjoyable and easy read, and I had lots of fun trying to solve the clues to the treasure hunt with Joseph!
Huge thanks to LiterallyPR for having me on the tour!
Make sure you visit the other stops as well