Black Out by John Lawton
Black OutIn 1944 London, Detective Sergeant Frederick Troy is called in from Scotland Yard when a dog is discovered with a dismembered arm. The arm was obviously cut off, not blown off by a bomb. Instead of joining the military, Inspector Troy did his work on home soil. Even so, his work could involve civilians or military as he investigates murders.
After questioning the children who discovered the dog, Troy spends time with his old mentor as they track down the body that should go with the arm. From they, he starts following the clues backwards. A Polish immigrant from the same neighborhood disappears. Some German scientists have been secreted into England and have disappeared. Before he is done, Troy has questioned children, other policemen, his uncle, a wealthy young independent woman, an English liaison with the military, and members of the American military. Eventually, he believes he figures out what happened. But can he prove it?
John Lawton’s Black Out is a dark detective novel set near the end of World War II. Inspector Troy’s family is Russian, although he was born in England, the only one who was not naturalized. His outlook is tempered by his culture. He also is intuitive and suspicious by nature.
The war and espionage are always in the background of Black Out. Troy lives through bombings and beatings. The novel ends after the war, but the threads haven’t been cut yet. The novel gets crass at times – Troy is lured to bed too easily and too quickly by women on the fringes of the mystery. Troy’s character doesn’t stay consistent throughout the book and most of them never come to life.
The twists and turns continue in Black Out until the very end, keeping the reader guessing. The ending itself leaves the reader hanging.
Notice: Graphic violence, Strong sexual content, Strong language