Rush Jobs Blog Tour: Hobson & Choi – Series Review

Today, I’m very excited to be talking about Hobson & Choi, the darkly comic detective saga by my good friend and writing group buddy Nick Bryan (you should follow him on Twitter @NickMB, he is very funny).

The first book is The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf and the  second is Rush Jobs, which came out just yesterday.

I’m reviewing both of the books, and for those of you still reading after that, there will be a shiny, shiny giveaway at the end of the post!

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf (Hobson & Choi #1)

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wpid-wp-1417027201089.jpeg“If we get 400 followers, John Hobson will solve that nasty wolf-murder case for free! Fight the thing himself if he has to! #HobsonVsWolf!”

Angelina Choi was only trying to drum up some Twitter followers and make a good impression on her first day interning at John Hobson’s one-man detective agency.

But the campaign went viral and now they have a murder to solve, no money coming in, and an unwilling Hobson faced with battling some enormous beast. With both follower and body counts rising, can they crack the case without offending everyone or being eaten by a huge dog?

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf is the first case starring Hobson & Choi, a bickering, mismatched detective duo for 21st century London. This book collects the debut storyline of the hit darkly comic crime web serial, extensively rewritten and improved for this definitive edition.


I loved that the whole story kicked off with Choi doing the brash “I’m not a kid” teenage thing and messing up the twitter account. The social media aspect of this book could so easily have read as gimmicky, but Angelina’s eagerness to prove herself and be taken seriously makes complete sense, and because there are serious consequences to the slightly distasteful murder-solving twitter promises, the reader doesn’t feel cheated.

The mystery plot was well-paced and building up to a tense resolution, but to me, it was definitely the characters that made the story shine. Besides the obvious question of who had a motive for murdering someone with a crazed dog, there were so many interesting tidbits. Between Hobson’s ex-wife, the receptionist Choi likes, Hobson’s unsavoury mob contacts, Choi’s Mum, the other receptionist, etc…, there’s a huge range of nifty side characters, each with the promise of lots of conflict in future books.

Smaller things also pack a big emotional punch, like an argument between Choi and her concerned mother, which kind of made me want to call my Mum and apologised for the times I was a little shit as a teenager. But never mind that.

Nick’s writing is funny, touching and above all, relatable. It’s got a ring of truth to it that keeps the reader hooked throughout. You’ll read this and find yourself cringing with sympathy when Angelina internally berates herself about that thing she can’t believe she just actually said out loud, or sighing along with Hobson’s exasperation at those hipstery trendy kids that work at the Inspiration Gestation Station. No really, that’s what their offices are called.


Rush Jobs (Hobson & Choi #2)

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23568658“Sometimes #crime feels like the Matrix. Or the #patriarchy or #porn. It’s everywhere, even in people you trusted, and there’s so MUCH of it.”

Angelina Choi returns for her second and final week of work experience at John Hobson’s detective agency, ready for anything after their first successful murder solve.

After all that online buzz, they’re in phenomenal demand. Can Hobson & Choi solve a kidnapping, play chicken with corporate crime, beat back gentrification, save a dog from drug dealers and head off violent backlash from their last case? Or will grim revelations about Hobson’s past leave them floundering in the chaos?

Rush Jobs collects the second major storyline in the Hobson & Choi saga, #1 on Jukepop Serials and #2 in Dark Comedy on Amazon, adding brand new chapters and scenes to the case.


I have to say straight away that I absolutely adored this. I liked the first book quite a bit, but this second volume really stepped up a notch. Hobson & Choi shows its origins as a serialised work with a number of smaller cases interweaving as the story goes, which was where it really hooked me.

As I’ve said above, I don’t read a lot of crime fiction, but I do watch a lot of US-style police procedurals, with a general season arc and a case solved every episode, excepting the occasional two-parter episode or recurring serial-killer villain. Maybe someone watches these shows for the intricate investigations, but I’m unashamedly in it for the characters. The same goes for Hobson & Choi.

This second instalment picks up right where the first left off and builds on the interesting glimpses of conflicts and relationships between characters. I particularly enjoyed seeing Choi grow in confidence as her work from the first book is acknowledged, and I liked Hobson’s pragmatism about the Twitter account: he thinks it’s nonsense, but he’s getting more paying clients out of it, so he’s getting Choi to keep it up.

There are more shades of good and bad in this one, more moments in which both Hobson and Choi screw up big time, more hesitation about the right thing to do. And as the story progresses, it becomes pretty clear that the Big Bad of the book is actually bloody terrifying, in a much more mundane and inhuman way than the hyper-aggressive ‘wolf’ from the first book. This made for some really tense moments when the jokes were reigned in and the true disturbing nature of the whole thing (including Hobson’s murky past) was revealed.

The book also ends on a more uncertain note as Choi’s two-week internship with Hobson has ended, but a third case, Trapped in The Bargain Basement, has already been announced, so we should see some more of Hobson and Choi. Don’t skip the bonus short story at the end of the book; it’s excellent and guaranteed to give you the creeps in a big, nasty, Orwellian way.


About the Author

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me-squaredNick Bryan is a London-based writer of genre fiction, usually with some blackly comic twist. As well as the detective saga Hobson & Choi, he is also working on a novel about the real implications of deals with the devil and has stories in several anthologies.

More details on his other work and news on future Hobson & Choi releases can be found on his blog at or on Twitter as @NickMB. Both are updated with perfect and reasonable regularity.

Subscribe to his mailing list using the form in the sidebar of to get news first and an all-new free Hobson & Choi short story immediately!

When not reading or writing books, Nick Bryan enjoys racquet sports, comics and a nice white beer.

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Finally, Nick is giving away a signed paperback set and three e-book sets of the Hobson & Choi series! So if you’d like to win The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf and Rush Jobs, just fill in the rafflecopter, and good luck!

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Guest Blog: Fight or Flight by Chele Cooke

For this guest blog, I’m thrilled to present one of my writing group buddies: Chele Cooke, a kickass genre author and all-round awesome person. Chele’s latest novel, Fight or Flight, Book Two of the Out Of Orbit series, is out now. You can get a taste of the world by downloading a free e-book of Dead & Buryd, the first novel in the series, or you can read an extract below. Chele is also raffling off 25 copies of Fight or Flight, so scroll down to get to the giveaway!

About Chele

Chele Cooke is an English-born writer based in London. Starting out writing fan fiction, she soon moved onto her own fiction, releasing her first novel, ‘Dead and Buryd’, in 2013, the sequel ‘Fight or Flight’ following less than a year later.

She is currently working on The Out of Orbit series, a number of short stories, a circus based sci-fi, and a paranormal serial currently released weekly on Wattpad.

Chele’s website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Wattpad

Find Fight or Flight on: Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads


From Chapter 8: Catching Smoke

She’d been waiting to see him. Every day in the compound, especially since his note had arrived, she had thought of seeing him again. Keiran reached out first, his fingers on her jaw, gently brushing the bruise on her cheekbone. He drew her forwards and placed a soft kiss on her forehead, her temple, her cheek and then the corner of her lips. She turned towards him then, settling her lips against his tender flesh. His fingers disappeared into her hair, holding the nape of her neck as he urged her up to him, sharing breath, sharing longing.

FoFsmallHis lips tasted of wheat beer and yapoque smoke. He’d been worried. She could imagine him standing outside the Trade Inn, smoking while he waited before coming inside to get a drink. The taste of him was sweet against her tongue.

His skin was smooth and warm, just the way she remembered it. His fingertips pressed into the small of her back, pulling her closer. She gripped his arms and clung on, hoping she hadn’t been imagining it all, scared he might evaporate into the smoke of his cigarettes.

Next to them, Halden cleared his throat.

Georgianna pulled back. Maybe Keiran had done enough to earn Halden’s approval, but she doubted anything was enough for an extended display of affection. The problem was she wasn’t ready to put any space between them. Weeks of thinking of him, wondering whether he was safe, if he really was going to help her, had built up into a pit of longing that had not yet been filled.

The tip of her nose bumped against his and he placed another soft kiss at the corner of her lips. She slid her hands up to his shoulders and pulled herself against him, her cheek against his as she hugged him tightly. Keiran’s arms wound around her waist, kissing her temple again.

When he moved back, the anxious expression was gone, replaced by critical examination. His gaze swept across her face, down her neck and back to the injury on her cheek.

“He hurt you.”

She shook her head. His thumb brushed against her cheek again and behind his frown, she could see his jaw tightening. Georgianna grasped his wrist.

“No,” she assured him. “It wasn’t him.”

“Who then? He’s had you for days,” Halden insisted. “I’m no medic, but I know that mark is new.”

She avoided looking at either of them.

“It doesn’t matter, it was nothing.”

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Fight or Flight!

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Writing in non-November Months

I had only written a few things before I moved to the UK, including some really bad fanfiction and a generic epic fantasy first chapter starring a feisty young princess with flowing red hair and a mysterious elf with two apostrophes in his name.

It was only after my first Nanowrimo, having met the amazing NanoLondon writing community, that I started to write original fiction.

I didn’t write much, and my output was extremely inconsistent in terms of quantity.
Let’s not discuss the quality, okay?

Last year I wrote 100,000 words across all of my writing projects, including this blog – meaning that it took eleven non-November months to write as much as I wrote during November. Not a great result, though it was definitely progress. Earlier this year, I entered a LiveJournal challenge called Get Your Words Out, aiming for 150,000 words in the year.

I won’t lie, I’m not keeping up with the monthly goals I’ve set for myself at the moment, but the year is only just beginning. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up the pace once I’ve gotten more practise under my belt. I’m always trying to set up regular writing habits for myself, and I’ve never been very successful at it. When I started writing The Paradise Swarm again, though, with a plan, a word count goal, and some scenes in mind, things seemed to pick up quite a bit.

Progress is definitely very slow, but it is at least steady, and I think the slower pace allows for better quality too. I brought some of the novel to read to my Critique Group, who were very encouraging and told me to just keep writing.

As I tend to fall prey fairly easily to the ‘Work on this one scene for six months until it shines’ monster, I made an extra effort to take that one on board. One scene gave me quite a bit of grief, so much so, that in the end I straight up ignored it and moved on to the next. Truth be told, as it’s currently in Chapter Two, and I’m pretty bad at beginnings, it’s probably going to die a nasty death later on, rather than being re-written. So all’s good.

The next few months look to be fairly bad in terms of productivity as work is getting busier and I have to move soon, but I’m going to try and keep writing through the chaos.


Too close to my own work

This week, I was really hesitant about whether or what to read out at Writer’s Group. I felt I should read something because I’d already skipped one week, but since I worked on the plot last week a lot has changed. A large chunk of chapter one and the whole of chapter two will have to be re-written, only NOT right now.

I had already read the prologue and I was still working on chapter three, so I settled on the opening of chapter one, a pretty slow-paced tidbit about our main character’s living arrangements. I almost didn’t write it in the first place because I can’t help but feel I will have to cut it in the future. I’m self-conscious about the writing style, of course, but I also worry that the scene is too quiet for the opening of the book.

I wanted supportive advice about this, so I took the plunge and got better feedback than I’d expected. We got rid of some less-than-Victorian words, swapping ‘cagey’ for ‘disreputable’ – definitely a plus! And someone said my description were atmospheric, which was just really, really nice! I often worry than I come across as a bit flowery and long-winded (because I love making flowery, long-winded English!), so it was great to have my description vindicated.

I guess this proves that I’m really not that good at appraising my own work. I don’t know if it’s because I’m too close to it or because I still put ridiculous expectations on my poor first draft, in any case I thought I would get more criticism regarding where the story is going. Then again, not everyone has been working on this for a whole year.

I’m now working on chapter three, where the gore and creepiness really start. I’m thoroughly enjoying writing it and I think I’m decent at the gore and creepiness, so I can’t wait to finish it up and read some of it in a couple of weeks’ time.


Writing Group

I’ve recently started going to a fortnightly Critique Group which meets a short walk from my office and a short bus ride from my house. It’s a very friendly group of regulars, now including two of my close friends, who give honest and supportive critique and advice.

Having attended a couple times before I brought anything to read, I knew there would be no gratuitous tearing into my work. Still I was shaking when I brought my first piece of flash fiction to read. Some of the people is that group are very talented, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.

I got very positive feedback on the flash fiction, so I brought in the first bit of the prologue for my work in progress. This got mostly positive feedback too, as well as some useful nitpicking. I was happy that there was nitpicking because the group operates on the basis that they only nitpick if they don’t think there is anything majorly wrong with the story.

The feedback I received gave me drive and confidence, so much so that the week-end that followed I did some of the most pleasant, least anxiety-ridden writing I’d done in a while. I carried on with the unfinished prologue I’d shared at the writing group, and got it done while I was on holiday with my family in France. I also had no internet and gorgeous weather, of course, but I know the positive feedback was a great part of how successful that week-end was.

Now, I’m trying to channel the drive and energy I had during that week-end into pushing forward with the novel so I have something decent to read next time.