Where can a wanted man hide in a country full of returned war heroes?
It’s 1952 and Frank Danby has been looking over his shoulder for the last ten years, forced to lead an itinerant life, getting work wherever he can while trying to keep one step ahead of the police.
Returning to London, he finds a job in an East End pub, where he becomes entangled with Grace, the young and beautiful wife of the landlord. Then the law comes knocking. Facing a justice system prejudiced against him, Frank must find a way to escape the gallows.
Too Many Heroes is a gripping period thriller, exploring love, belonging and betrayal in a country still recovering from WW2. A must for fans of the post-war novels of Philip Kerr, Kate Atkinson and Sara Sheridan
About the author: Jan Turk Petrie lives in the UK.
She is the author of the fast paced Nordic thriller series: the Eldísvík novels. All three of these gripping novels are set in 2068 in a fictional city state just below the artic circle.
‘Until The Ice Cracks’ – the first of the trilogy was published in July 2018.
Volume Two – ‘No God for a Warrior’ was published in November 2018
The third and final volume – ‘Within Each Other’s Shadow’ was published in April 2019
‘Too Many Heroes’ a stand-alone thriller set in England in 1952 was published in August 2019.
A former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, Jan has also written numerous, prize-winning short stories.
The story starts with a war time prologue, during which Frank is a rear gunner in a plane that has just been hit. He encourages his crewmates to bail out and save themselves, but they decline.
Chapter one moves onto the early 1950’s, and Frank is moving from job to job, sending money home as often as he can. He gets a job in the Eight Bells Public House while the owner’s wife, Grace, is away in Brighton visiting her mother. When Grace returns, Frank expects to lose his job, but instead he is kept on by the landlord, Dennis.
Dennis has his fingers in a few pies, not to mention enjoys gambling. So, having Frank around gives him more time to indulge his “hobbies”. It also allows Frank and Grace to get to know each other better …a lot better!
When Dennis gets attacked one night, and is later murdered, it’s clear he hasn’ t been hanging out with a good crowd. At the same time, Frank is kidnapped for a few hours, just long enough to not give him an alibi for Dennis’s murder.
Frank is the main suspect now in the murder, and former locals warn Grace that there are people who want her out of the pub at any price. Frank has to hide, leaving Grace to deal with her husband’s funeral with her best friend, Dot, to help.
Is their romance over? Will Frank be caught and hanged for Dennis’s murder as the slimy, moustachioed detective claims?
The book is a slow-burner, and it takes quite some time before the prologue actually makes any sense – or at least it did to me. The story is categorised as a crime thriller, and while there are elements that relate to the criminal goings-on in London at that time, and that Frank is a deserter (a crime by itself), it’s not a typical crime thriller, more of a romance with a criminal thread running through it. The characters are believable and, despite the slow pace, it’s an easy read with a surprising ending.
I received a copy from Netgalley and this review is wholly my own.
PS – I just love the cover!