Blog Tour Book Review: IREX by Carl Rackman

I received a digital review copy as part of the blog tour. It has not affected my opinions.

Blog tour graphice with title of book on picture of a ship on the sea next to image of book all within black border
Genre: Historical
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for IREX: title in white above image of ship's rigging against clouds

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret.

When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to begin to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship — but he soon finds that powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to thwart him. Locked in a race against time and the sinister agents sent to impede him, he gradually discovers that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed…

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


IREX is a dual time line mystery/thriller that takes a real historical event (the wreck of the Irex) and weaves a tale of danger and shadowy figures around it. It was a lot of fun and hard to put down as the tension mounted and the question of what exactly happened during the wreck proved an engaging hook to keep you reading.

The book alternates between the events aboard the ill-fated Irex and the subsequent inquest into what happened. The two weave together, elucidating the events Blake is trying to uncover.

The story aboard is one of blackmail, threats, and questioning what really happened as the Captain tries to protect his crew from a passenger with a secret and one who he cannot keep looking at. It was an interesting use of a (disproved) historical theory that adds to the menace of the dangerous passenger, as well as ensuring it will be difficult for the later investigation to make headway.

The inquest is continually obstructed by the authorities and bribed officials, leading the three men into lots of physical danger. I really liked their relationship, the way they end up working so well as a unit. Rennie, the outspoken Glaswegian reporter who gets roped in was a lot of fun, and very different to the two proper Victorian lawyers.

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: IREX by Carl Rackman

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