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Book Review: BLACK OUT by John Lawton

It is 1944 in London, and the Luftwaffe is making its final assault on the British capital. After yet another destructive German bombing attack, a severed leg is discovered, and Detective Sergeant Frederick Troy is certain the dismembered body part is not the result of a V-1 rocket. As Troy investigates further, he discovers links to a missing refugee Nazi scientist, America's new Intelligence agency, and a mysterious woman, all of which leads straight to the Allied high command.

John Lawton's BLACK OUT is a World War II thriller that is less about Troy discovering whodunnit, and more about him figuring out how to prove it and make an arrest. The story is fast-paced with a stumbles at points. There are a few starts and stops in Troy's investigation which become a bit frustrating after a while.

Although set in World War II, there is little historical context or detail in the book other than the occasional mention of bomb holes, black out curtains, and the Allied high command in London. The characters are hit or miss in this book, with some being a bit too stereotypical. For instance, the two featured female character play their respective roles perfectly: a femme fatale and a nymphomaniac. Both behave exactly as one might expect from characters of those types.

Over all, BLACK OUT was an enjoyable read, but the plot sometimes seemed a bit too coincidental and was predictable. The twists and turns were decent, but not what I would call outstanding and heart-pounding. It is an easy read, but certainly not a page turner.


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