Review of Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

Leah Courtney
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Direct Hit is a mystery/crime novel written in the style of a traditional English detective novel. Although this isn't usually my favorite genre, I really enjoyed the book. It's the beginning of a new series by Mike Hollow, and I'll be looking for further books to follow.

From the book's description:

A review of the English detective novel, Direct Hit, by Mike Hollow
The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy. 

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity--and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villers dead--and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

The book's setting- World War 2, London- makes for a rich backdrop for the crime solving story in Direct Hit. I like reading books set in that historical time period. And it was even more interesting to come to the end of the story and find out that the author based the happenings in the book on actual happenings and places in that time period in London. I think that's historical fiction at its best- taking the actual events and places of the time and weaving the fictional story around them.

There is not extremely deep character development. We get to know our hero- Jago, the detective- from some of his thoughts and feelings. But there is more story development than character development going on as Jago and his young detective, Cradock have to follow the leads as they seek to solve the murder mystery that is the theme of the novel.

The story moves at a good pace as leads unfold. Occasionally there is a bit of action or dialogue that seems a little forced or incongruous, but all in all, the story flows well. And I certainly stayed interested and involved throughout the story.

I give Direct Hit four stars and a PG-13 for content. (There is a murder mystery, but there aren't any unnecessarily grisly descriptions.) You can find the book on the Kregel website here or on Amazon.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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