Death in Blitz City

David Young
1942. Hull, East Yorkshire - It is the most heavily-bombed city outside of London - but for the sake of national morale the Hull Blitz is kept top secret. Only the politicians in Whitehall and Hull's citizens themselves know of the true chaos. Newly-posted Inspector Ambrose Swift cannot believe the devastation he finds. But for Swift and his two deputies - part-time bare-knuckle boxer Jim 'Little' Weighton and Dales farmer's daughter Kathleen Carver - it's murder, not the war, that's at the forefront of their minds. When a series of sadistic killings is wrongly blamed on locally-stationed black American GIs, Swift, a one-armed former WW1 cavalryman who tours the rubble-strewn city on a white horse, soon discovers these are no ordinary murders. The fetid stench of racism, corruption and perversion go to the very top. And for Swift, Weighton and Carver, finding the real killers means putting their own lives at risk - because powerful forces in the US and Britain cannot let the war effort be undermined. Not even by the truth.

I was really looking forward to reading Death in Blitz City after reading so many positive reviews on twitter. Set in Hull, a city close to my heart, it's set during the Second World War and starts with a really grizzly murder. Although books set in the past aren't my usual read, this is a brilliant well-thought-out crime story.

I haven't read any of David Young's novels before, but if this is an example, then I'll be searching them out. The story follows Ambrose Swift, a nearly posted DI from London and his trusty lieutenant Jim 'Little' Weighton. They're called out to the discovery after a nights bombing when a body is discovered. It's not a victim of the bombing raid, but this is murder. The body of a young woman is found with her heart removed. It's up to Swift and Weighton to find her murderer. A story that goes deep into some very unpleasant areas.

There's a lot to like about this book. Hull is the shining star of it. A beauty of having a recently arrived detective to the city, is the ability to have more description of the various areas. There are references to the various sights, including Thwaite Hall, Hepworths Arcade and Dinsdale's Joke shop, a Hull treasure. The story deals with the harsh realities of the blitz. Hull was one of the cities worst hit by air raids. Often described on the news as 'A Northern Coastal Town' on the news, Hull was decimated in places. (check out Joe Solo's 'A Northern Coastal Town')

Racism rears its ugly head in this book. From the remnants of the Moselyite fascist movement to the segregation and 'Jim Crow' American soldiers. This story is centred on the relationship between the officers and ranks in the US army. It's still unbelievable that the Americans who came to aid the allies get rid of a fascist dictator, had segregation and 'deep south' fascist values. There's also a touch of good old British political scandal.

Although this book is set seventy odd years ago, it's written in a modern style. The stories haven't grown old, but are bang up to date. The author has woven a highly readable, yet intelligent plot into this book. I hope he writes more about these characters. There's high excitement towards the end and just enough suspense, to make this a taut adventure.

A five star read.

Thanks to Netgallery and Bonnier Books for the chance to read the ARC of Death in the Blitz City in exchange for a non-biased review.

Review by Brompton Sawdon
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Brompton Sawdon - Author

Brompton loves books and is always willing to give a viewpoint on books that have been exciting or disappointing.

From the top of a tower, somewhere in the Pennine Hills, Brompton views the world though world weary eyes. Occasionally ranting or raving over something that may seem irrelevant to you but matters to Brompton.

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