This crime thriller, set in Nazi Germany, is by far one of the best I have ever read. It’s been almost a week since I finished Blackout by Simon Scarrow and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is so chilling, so thought provoking. I don’t want to spin a load of clichés, but Blackout is a must read!
The sinister and very threatening oppression throughout the narrative intensifies as the plot develops, and it is truly visceral. I was genuinely scared reading this novel (especially when I was reading it very late into the night) but still I couldn’t put it down.
Recently released in paperback (24th September 2021), Blackout is a Top Ten Times bestseller, and has also recently been announced as a Richard & Judy Book Club pick.
Set in Berlin in December 1939 and with Germany newly at war, the Nazis tighten their terrifying grip. Each evening during the harsh winter, the Nazis enforce a rigid blackout on the city:
Soon Berlin would be swallowed up by the winter night and the blackout wardens would be patrolling the streets on the hunt for those who had failed to seal the light inside their homes. Stern warnings would be issued, or worse…fines and a spell in prison. There would be other hunters on the street as well…People looking for black market traders; prostitutes and rent boys…And then there would be the rapists and the killers
When a former actress rumoured to be an old mistress of Goebbels is brutally murdered, Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is tasked with solving the crime. Why? Because Schenke has still not joined the Nazi Party and the SS need a ‘good criminal investigator who will pursue the case without prejudice or hope or preferment.’ Yet Schenke’s failure to join the Nazi Party means he is treated with a sinister and very threatening suspicion.
As the chilling story develops and Schenke tries to keep his views of the Nazi regime to himself, the tension intensifies in so many ways. At times I was so angry and frustrated by Schenke. Yet as his integrity increasingly conflicts with the oppressive Nazi regime, the perilous nature of his situation becomes progressively fraught by the day. This creates such a gripping, exciting thriller, but it is genuinely nerve wracking too.
I did work out who the killer was. I don’t think it was that difficult. Believe me though, working out the murderer didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the novel in anyway. The murder mystery aspect of the novel is truly scary; but for me, it wasn’t the scariest aspect. Personally I think Simon Scarrow’s true intention was to viscerally portray the terrifying impact the Nazi regime had on ordinary German people. He achieved this brilliantly, especially as he skilfully weaved real-life characters into the plot.
Blackout is the first book in Simon Scarrow’s new crime series. Honestly, if the second book in the series was released tomorrow I would immediately toss my current read aside (Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice) to read the new Scarrow crime novel. I am desperate to discover how Schenke will navigate the rest of World War 2 under a Nazi regime he doesn’t believe in. Will he actually survive? I so hope so as even though he angered me at times, I really liked and respected him.
Thank you Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of Blackout to mark the paperback release of this gripping read. To follow the blog tour, please see below.
Happy reading everyone. Just a few words of warning – if you want a good night’s sleep, don’t read this great book late at night! 🙂