Flying Bombs and Rockets

Between June 1944 and March 1945 London came under attack from Hitler’s vengeance weapons : the V1 Flying Bomb, the first cruise missile and later the V2 rocket, the first ballistic missile. These killed 8938 Londoners, seriously injured 25,000 and destroyed tens of thousands of houses and other buildings. This web site it about the attacks and how it affected parts of South London. For more information click HERE.

Review: Black Out by John Lawton

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Kindle Edition. File Size: 734 KB. Print Length: 352 pages. Grove Press (1 May 2012). ASIN: B006G0VGO2.

Publisher’s Blurb: London, 1944. While the Luftwaffe makes its final assault on the already battered British capital, Londoners rush through the streets, seeking underground shelter in the midst of the city’s black out. When the panic subsides, other things begin to surface along with London’s war-worn citizens. A severed arm is discovered by a group of children playing at an East End bomb site, and when Scotland Yard’s Detective Sergeant Frederick Troy arrives at the scene, it becomes apparent that the dismembered body is not the work of a V-1 rocket. After Troy manages to link the severed arm to the disappearance of a refugee scientist from Nazi Germany, America’s newest intelligence agency, the OSS, decides to get involved. The son of a titled Russian émigré, Troy is forced to leave the London he knows and enter a corrupt world of bloody consequences, stateless refugees, and mysterious women as he unearths a chain of secrets leading straight to the Allied high command.

My take: This is John Lawton’s debut novel and the first instalment in Inspector Troy Mystery series. It was first published by Viking in 1995 and now is being reissued by Grove Press. I had heard many good things about this books from bloggers whose opinion I have in high regard, however, my first exposure to this author had leave me a bit disappointed. Moreover it took me longer than usual to finish it as I had to interrupt my reading quite often. I certainly think my expectations were too high. The atmosphere of London during the II WW is effectively recreated and I’ve been always fascinated by the time period in which the action is set. Unfortunately I lost track of the story line several times and, occasionally, I had trouble understanding what was going on. Probably it was all my fault since I had to spend more time than usual checking out words in the dictionary. Characters and situations come and go in a way that is difficult to understand in my view. Some times the narrative flow changes abruptly and it takes time to find out the character’s name and her/his role in the book. Anyway I expect to read the rest of the series and I would have given it a 3.5 if I had used decimals.

My rating: 3/5.

Black Out has been reviewed by Norman at Crime Scraps, Rob at The View from the Blue House, among others.

I would also suggest to read Rhian’s post at It’s a crime! (Or a mystery…) about The Books of John Lawton – The “Troy” series.

Grove/Atlantic Inc.

John Lawton

I’ll count this book for my participation in the 2012 Global Reading Challenge (The Seventh Continent – History).


Black Out (Apagón) de John Lawton

De la editorial: Londres, 1944. Mientras la Luftwaffe hace su asalto final sobre la ya maltratada capital británica, los londinenses corren por las calles, buscando refugio subterráneo en medio de la oscuridad que se extiende por toda la ciudad. Luego, cuando el pánico disminuye, empiezan a aflorar junto a ciudadanos extenuados por la guerra otras cosas. Un grupo de niños juegan en un lugar del East End en donde ha explotado una bomba y se encuentran con un brazo cortado. El detective sargento de Scotland Yard Frederick Troy se desplaza hasta el lugar de los hechos. Pronto resulta evidente que el resto humano no ha sido consecuencia de un misil V-1. Y cuando Troy consigue establecer cierta relación entre ese brazo y la desaparición de un científico refugiado de la Alemania nazi, la nueva agencia de espionaje de Estados Unidos, la OSS, decide involucrarse. Entonces Troy, el hijo de un noble ruso emigrado, se ve obligado a abandonar el Londres que conoce para adentrarse en un mundo corrupto de consecuencias sangrientas, de refugiados apátridas, y de mujeres misteriosas mientras descubre una cadena de secretos que conducen directamente hasta el alto mando Aliado.

Mi opinión: Se trata de la primera novela de John Lawton y es la primera entrega de la serie de misterio protagonizada por el inspector Troy. Fue publicada inicialmente por Viking en 1995 y ahora está siendo reeditada por Grove Press. Yo había oído muchas cosas buenas sobre este libro de blogeros cuya opinión tengo en gran consideración, sin embargo, mi primer contacto con este autor me ha decepcionado un poco. Por otra parte me llevó más tiempo de lo normal terminarlo ya que tuve que interrumpir mi lectura con bastante frecuencia. Ciertamente creo que mis expectativas eran demasiado altas. La atmósfera de Londres durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial está recreada con gran efectividad y siempre me ha fascinado el periodo de tiempo en el que transcurre la acción. Lamentablemente perdía a menudo el hilo de la historia y, en ocasiones, he tenido problemas para entender lo que estaba sucediendo. Probablemente era por mi culpa, ya que he tenido que dedicar más tiempo de lo acostumbrado a mirar palabras en el diccionario. Los personajes y las situaciones aparecen y desaparecen de una manera que resulta difícil de comprender. En ocasiones el flujo narrativo cambia de forma brusca y lleva un tiempo descubrir el nombre del personaje y el papel que desempeña en el libro. De todos modos espero leer el resto de la serie y le hubiera dado un 3.5 si hubiera usado decimales.

Mi calificación: 3/5

2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet R is for Reig, Rafael Reig

The Crime Fiction Alphabet arrives this week to letter “r”, and my R is for Reig. Rafael Reig was born in Cangas de Onís (Asturias, Spain) in 1963. He spent his childhood in Colombia and studied Philosophy and Literature at Madrid’s Autonoma University. He gave literature classes in New York, where he received his doctorate, and in several American universities. He currently teaches at the school of literary creation Hotel Kafka and is a contributor to several publications, both digital and on paper. From among his novels, Sangre a borbotones [Lengua de trapo, 2002] (Blood on the Saddle, 2006) was awarded the Critics’ Prize in Asturias, was chosen by the Lara Foundation as one of the five best novels written in Spanish in 2002 and was shortlisted for the 2006 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. Guapa de cara [Lengua de trapo, 2003] is also available in English, A Pretty Face, Serpent’s Tail, 2007. (Information taken from Tusquets Editores).

Bibliography:

  • Esa oscura gente(1990)
  • La fórmula Omega(Lengua de trapo, 1998)
  • Sangre a borbotones (Lengua de trapo, 2002); translated into English as Blood on the Saddle (Serpent’s Tail, 2006)
  • Guapa de cara (Lengua de trapo, 2003); translated into English as A pretty face(Profile Books, 2007)
  • Autobiografía de Marilyn Monroe(Lengua de trapo, 2005)
  • Hazañas del capitán Carpeto(Lengua de trapo, 2005)
  • Manual de literatura para caníbales(Debate, 2006)
  • Visto para sentencia(Ed. Caballo de Troya, 2008)
  • Todo está perdonado(Tusquets Editores, 2011)
  • Lo que no está escrito (Tusquets Editores, 2012)

Dickens & Clot Investigations Ltd, a detective agency in a waterlogged Madrid, has a couple of unusual specialities: helping distraught authors in search of characters who’ve quit the page and assumed a life of their own, and taking on Manex Chopeitia, legendary Big Brother of a mighty genetic-engineering company. Carlos Clot-a paunchy, alcoholic private eye gumshoes his way around a drug- and drink-sodden metropolis in a personal quest to put both real’ and fictional’ people in their place. (Fantastic Fiction)

Children’s author Lola Eguibar is dead. With the help of her teenage character Benito, she sets out to investigate her own murder. Set in a surreal Spain that is part of the United States, where everyone speaks Anglo and the world has exhausted its supply of oil, this is a remarkable blend of crime, science fiction, and satire. (Fantastic Fiction)

Todo está perdonado / All is Forgiven. Laura Gamazo, the daughter of a successful businessman, is poisoned to death on her wedding day in Madrid. Herfather, Perico Gamazo, turns to his old protégé, Antonio Menéndez Vigil, a retired intelligence agent, to help Detective Carlos Clot solve the murder case with utmost discretion. Laura was the last descendant of a powerful family line and the murder weapon, a poisoned host, is significant due to the business relationship between her father and the Catholic church, but not only. Vigil knows the story behind the Gamazo’s family fortune, and it is inevitable, therefore, for him to go into the emblematic saga of twentieth century Spain. The police investigation reveals interests and guilt, past sins and impossible purities, while it exposes a dystopian Madrid, flooded but sailable, during the 2008 World Cup. It is a city where new tribes and religions proliferate for whom everything is not forgiven. A complex novel that, with great humour, reinterprets the recent history of Spain from a perspective that is totally new to Spanish literature. (Tusquets Editores)

The 2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other fellow bloggers.