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Book Review: Did they steal a million yet? by James Crookes

I’ve been back to the eighties, and it was great!

I should probably explain that statement in further detail.

Last year I read “Do they know it’s Christmas yet?” by James Crookes, a glorious tale about siblings Tash and Jamie who managed to accidentally time travel back to 1984, in a Sinclair C5, and break it.

Full Review here

I loved the hilarious adventure they went on with Raymond and Maureen, it became one of my books of the year. I wanted more.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long for a sequel…praise the book gods!

Jamie, Tash, Raymond and Maureen are back, their latest exploits are as entertaining as their first outing and it’s another tale that’s had me chuckling through the bleak, grey, damp January and feeling nostalgic for a simpler time.

From the back…

They accidentally went to 1984 and broke it. But together they sorted out their mess. Or so they thought.

Now the hapless sister and brother are back, and this time it’s a matter of life or death.

How far would you go to save a life? How about stealing a million pounds?

Sometimes you just have to do the wrong thing.

Grab a slow-cooker and travel back to December 1984. You’ll want to stay.

And yes, I did want to stay!

I love the characters in these books, they are incredibly warm and loving. 

Tash might be bolshy, but she has nothing but love for Jamie. 

Maureen’s a secret soft touch (she keeps it remarkably well hidden).

Raymond, I just want to hug. He always gets the raw end of the deal, the definition of wrong place at the wrong time. 

Jamie is a sweetheart, an annoying young brother with a heart of gold; I love the understanding of his Asperger’s that comes across in both of these books, it’s there but it’s not a big deal.

It’s a story and caper with lots of twists and turns as Jamie and Tash find themselves in ridiculous and bloody funny situations, while Raymond’s dragged along for the ride.

But again, for me what makes this book a winner is the glut of Eighties references!

Each one made me smile, laugh, or nod in acknowledgement.

I may not have been born until 1985, but I remember when Saturday morning television was all about kids and it was brilliant. I too remember seeing the viewers gallery on Hartbeat and thinking some of the drawings were rubbish, and that’s putting it politely.

I read this and laughed at the awful fashion and even worse interior design…all the patterns, all the textures and avocado green bathrooms (vom). 

I laughed at the nightmare of programming a video to record something off the television and, more often than not, ending up with the completely programme.

I howled at the reference to putting the Christmas decorations up a week before the event..

Jamie to Tash “No one puts them up in November in 1984, it’s weird” (I’m paraphrasing as I forgot to take a picture while reading, I was too caught up in the story).

Because yes, throughout my childhood, the tree only went up midway through December and stayed there until 12 days after – that’s a tradition I’m campaigning to bring back.

I loved Raymond telling Tash how he thought the future sounded grand. 

I really liked how it made her reflect on modern day; the endless emails, social media, constantly being contactable and thinking Raymond’s quiet Christmas with Maureen sounded nicer. Because actually, it probably was.

I’m always anxious when it comes to sequels, this one really works, it’s as funny, the characters are as lovable and once again I’m left wanting more…”Sake!”.

You should absolutely give this series read, it’s the perfect antidote for constant stream of bad news and scandal that we’re currently plagued by. 

I hope there’s a third book but more than that, the first two books are crying out to be made into television series. I want to watch Jamie and Tash and see the Eighties in all its gaudy glory unleashed on the screen. I want bad perms, twinsets, patterned wallpaper, massive TV sets the lot!

My final note goes to James Crookes; my review of “Do they know it’s Christmas yet?” became my most read post of all time, I have no idea how or why. In the acknowledgements of “Did they steal a million yet?” James wrote about how reviews and recommendations make a big difference to independent authors, well James, it appears that help goes both ways, so cheers for writing books that I get excited about, find easy to review and keep people visiting my site. I’m looking forward to your books continuing to make me laugh.

P.S I had no idea that Ultravox song was called “dancing with my tears in my eyes and that those were indeed the lyrics I’d been singing “Memoires hmmmmm, eee lah di da” or something to that effect!

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Did they steal a million yet? by James Crookes Leave a comment

  1. This sounds like such a great read Sarah! I love when authors include characters with challenges. Great review and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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