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#BookReview of Just One Damned Thing After Another

  5 Mar 2021 |    4 minutes  |   Paul Mitchell

Book cover of Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Title:  Just One Damned Thing After Another
Author:  Jodi Taylor
Date Published:  21 Nov, 2013
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Accent Press
ISBN:  9781783751785
Series:  The Chronicles of St. Mary's #1
Pages:  334
Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Just One Damned Thing After Another is an incredible start to the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. It tells the story of Madeleine Maxwell (Max), a doctor of history recruited to St. Mary’s, a research institute for Thirsk University. St. Mary’s however is not like other research facilities. It’s pretty secretive about its methods, most notably the practice of visiting historical incidents as they happen. Teams of historians travel back in pods to predetermined places in time observing the events, never intervening (History doesn’t like that!).

To become fully-fledged historians, Max and a cohort of other recruits are put through their paces with rigorous training and tests which they must pass. The final test being to travel back alone to an unknown time and place and to survive for two weeks. Max and fellow recruit David Sussman (not widely liked) pass the tests with flying colours and are given the blue overalls of Historians.

The next part of the book then tells of their adventures.

Max’s first jump is to see Westminster Abbey being built where she attempts to intervene in a robbery and is almost killed by history. The next jump is with Sussman and Kalinda Black (Blonde and blue eyes. Looks like a Disney Princess. Possibly drinks the blood of newly qualified trainees). They travel back to an old French chateau at the Somme in 1917 World War 1 to find the cause of a fire that wreaked havoc and a lot of casualties. Again Max finds herself in danger after being trapped in the building, narrowly avoiding death. Although there is a sense of imminent danger whenever they jump, it’s all seemed a bit light-hearted up to this point.

Things however begin to change when Max and Sussman are offered the opportunity to travel back to the Cretaceous period. They’re going to study the flora and fauna of the time and yes dinosaurs! The jump will last for a few months so everything must be thoroughly planned and prepared beforehand, Max has been made team leader for the project. Everything begins but events don’t turn out as planned…

My Review

I loved everything about Just One Damned Thing After Another. Jodi Taylor has written a rollercoaster of a ride from start to finish and I was sad when we reached the end. To be fair, it wasn’t a book that jumped out and said “read me” or indeed in my case “listen to me” as it appeared regularly in my audiobook recommendations. But I’m so glad that I took the plunge.

The story is told firsthand by Max and as I’ve mentioned, it starts off quite light-hearted at a brisk pace. During her initial interview, Max is shown around the building but hasn’t been let in on the ‘secret’ yet. There are fairly regular explosions caused by the research team which nobody seems to bat an eyelid about. The final test during training where most of the trainees seem to ‘cheat’ in one way or another. It all seems very… British. Yes there is danger (historians have jumped, never to be seen again), yes our heroine is almost killed (twice) but you never really think that she is in any real peril.

That however changes during the jump to the cretaceous period. From here things get a bit darker and we get a glimpse of our first real villain who shall remain nameless for now. There’s attempted rape and murder as we progress through the story. Although it’s not as graphic as in a lot of books, it is something to be aware of.

One of my favourite features of the book is the characters and their interactions. Max seems to get on with pretty much everybody apart from Isabella ‘Bitchface’ Barclay, who seems to target her during lessons. She even fails Max during one of the tests. Other characters of note are:

  • Chief Leon Farrell (seems to have a fondness for Max although initially, he appears aloof).
  • Tim Peterson (another historian and provides a good sounding board for Max).
  • Edward Bairstow (director of St. Mary’s and seems to keep everything together).
  • Dr Helen Foster (the medical doctor with people skills of Vlad the Impaler).

Plus a whole lot more from the technicians to the medical and security teams, not forgetting the historians. There’s also Mrs Partridge who is PA to the director but she’s a lot more than that…

There are a few plot twists, some moments of genuine sadness and a host of laugh-out-loud moments, especially when Max’s describes certain characters.


So would I recommend Just One Damned Thing After Another? Oh good god yes! The best part is there are another eleven books in the series, I for one can’t wait to get started on the next.


I listened to the Audiobook of Just One Damned Thing After Another read by Zara Ramm. Wow, what a performance. You could almost believe that you were listening to Max telling you her story. I’ll definitely be listening to the next in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series.

Highly Recommended…

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