This debut novel was quite well written, and backed by some serious research; Glenn Dyer does a creditable job of building a plot around a ‘maguffin’: a vital piece of paper that goes missing from a US photographic laboratory in London. If this item gets into the hands of the Nazis, the second front will be adversely affected or might have to be cancelled, and WWII will go in a whole new direction. The outcome of the War could be affected.
Mr Dyer’s writing style is strong, and the witticisms sprinkled throughout the text tell us he had fun writing the book. But he has a fondness for mentioning smells. It’s like a writer’s tic... A good editor should have picked this up. Had this been restricted to the main character it would not have noticed or if the resolution of the story had depended on his olfactory skill, but several characters were possessed of this super-sense and it had nothing to do with the plot. His editor could also have tightened the plot here and there – so a good technical editor is suggested for this obviously talented author - the extra investment would be worthwhile.
Overall, however, a good, lively debut novel, most certainly in the top quartile of WWII spy stories. I look forward to the next one. I know that it will be even better.
© JJ Toner
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