Book Review: The Tailor of Riga by Jonathan Harries


“The tailor of Riga is a crime thriller story about a family that has been assassins for 70 generations. Dating back to the 19th century, the tale begins with the protagonist expressing his doubts over joining his assassin family and how it all started when he was only 17, drinking liquor, and was considering initiation into the ‘family business.’” (Happy Booker via GoodReads)

What I Liked

This is historical fiction that finds itself right in my wheelhouse. I love the blend of family genealogy and narrative. The author tells what I hope (?) is a fictional tale, weaving from first person to third to first again in classic frame style. Notable historical figures make appearances, such as Jack the Ripper, Lenin, and Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

What to Watch For

Each chapter begins with a Dramatis Personae, a cast of characters from the family line and other notables who will appear in the chapter. I thought this took away from the story heavily, as I found myself skipping pages of this to continue on with the narrative. It would have been better, in my opinion, to have encountered each person as they make their appearance in the story.

Final Thoughts

As stated above, I enjoy the blend of personal ancestry and narrative (I have a future WIP of my own planned in this field). If you’re into historical fiction (as I very much am), consider this story. Minor gripes aside, it is a fascinating way to present one’s lineage to the world.

Overall rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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