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.