Before reading this I had not read a crime fiction novel for quite some time. Over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed crime fiction from the likes of Robert Harris and William Boyd and intend to read further with Mick Herron and John Banville. I was a little worried when I received this as novel from one of our publishers, that this might be a little trashy given the over the top nature of the cover. However, from the first chapter onwards I was captivated.
The book deals with normal people living through pre World War II Germany. It deals with the horror of how these souls were swept up along with a movement that wanted to "Make Germany Great Again". The book's plot sweeps you up into it and the crime narrative is an excellent vehicle for exploring the ethical dilemmas that face the main protagonists in the novel. Scarrow's descriptions and sense of place in his book are raw and visceral. He paints vivid dark backdrops for night time prowling under the blackouts of pre war Germany and brilliant crisp mornings with fresh bloodied snow.
I thoroughly recommend this book to those who are fans of crime fiction as the crime narrative is gripping - so much so I could not put the book down towards the end. However, the book also has an added depth for those wanting to question how real people are affected when the politics of a country get thrown so far out of balance and the moral quandaries they then have to deal with.
As an aside, I was telling the murder story in chapter one of the book to some staff at the Lane Bookshop recently when I received a phone call from the WA Police department. They were enquiring about a murder. Apparently my phone had pocket dialed 000 and they had overheard a conversation about a murder. I explained that this was in fact me describing a book called "Blackout" in our bookshop. The police officer on the line had a good laugh about it and hopefully I am not still being monitored.....
'Taut and chilling - I was completely gripped' - Anthony Horowitz
'A wonderfully compelling thriller, reeking of authenticity, and a terrific depiction of the human world within the chilling world of the Third Reich' - Peter James
'Mesmerising. Nail-biting. Unputdownable. Utterly authentic and beautifully written. The perfect way to bring the past alive' - Damien Lewis
Scarrow is a genius and I love everything he writes, but Blackout takes things to a whole new level. It's by far the best book I've read this year - Tom Marcus