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Direct Hit by Mike Hollow
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Book Description
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 Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villiers, 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 Villiers dead and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

My Review
Direct Hit was a very interesting read about the World War II Blitz over East London. The book reminded me of Foyle's War in many ways. The reader can feel the impact on the characters' lives as the raids continue night after night. To solve a murder mystery when the body is destroyed in a bombing is an impossible task for Detective Inspector Jago but in the end he manages to do so. This book is sure to satisfy anyone who likes police procedurals with a captivating plot, realistic characters and setting. There was a surprise at the end of the book which may develop into a romance for Jago and I look forward to reading book 2 in order to see how this develops. ( )
  EadieB | Aug 14, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
World War II, a seasoned detective, an American Journalist and murder. And another murder all victims hold a piece of evidence in their own stories. Historically interesting and a smathering of something Sherlockian means a great read in my book. Mike Hollow puts forth an interesting read and I thank both he and Library Thing for the chance to win this free copy. ( )
  Terrell_Sanzone | Apr 5, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The subtitle of this book is The Blitz Detective which gives you a pretty good idea what it is about. DI John Jago is with the London police force based in the East End. He is a veteran of the First World War and is dismayed that England is involved in another war so soon. The Metropolitan Police Force has lost a lot of younger officers to the war. Jago is breaking in a new assistant, DC Cradock, who is eager but has a lot to learn.
On the first night of the Blitz a man’s body is found dead in a van. He is possibly a suicide since there are cuts to both his wrists. However, there is also a stab wound to the chest which seems unlikely to have been self-inflicted. Jago and Cradock have an opportunity to view the body which Jago recognizes as that of Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. Before the body can be transported the bombardment starts up and a bomb lands right on the van, obliterating all evidence. Upon talking to the widow and the deceased’s son Jago learns that Mr. Villiers owned a printing business. As Jago and Cradock investigate they become convinced that Villiers was murdered and that he was involved with some shady business with a local entrepreneur called Cooper. When Cooper turns up dead a few nights later it is time to catch a killer. While all this goes on Jago is also responsible for showing an American journalist around the East End. Jago is a little surprised to discover the journalist is a woman and the two don’t get off on good terms as Jago assumes Dorothy Appleton is not a serious writer. When he learns that she was in Spain for the Civil War and various places in Europe as they fell to the Nazis he apologizes and they become friends. Maybe they will be more than friends but that will have to wait for future books.
I assume there will be more books in this series. This is a promising start and Hollow seems to have done lots of research about actual life in the East End during the war. I enjoyed it but I did think the ending was a little contrived. This is nothing new for a beginning writer and the good ones rise above initial problems. I’d be willing to read some more to see how they progress. ( )
  gypsysmom | Mar 13, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book in EarlyReviewer program.
Direct hit is the first book in the Blitz Detective series and the main Character is Detective Inspector John Jago.
This book is very well written and keep you reading till you finish it.I like both historical and mystery fictions and the way the plot was based on London made reading this book more enjoyable for me.Also the characters are very strong and very well processed, you will love them,understand them and care for them. ( )
  ardvisoor | Sep 14, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The story put forth about London during the blitz is one of an amazingly resilient population pulling together through a horrendous time. But that was only part of the story. While the bombers droned overhead crime rates reached new heights down on the ground.

A veteran of the last war, Detective Inspector John Jago won’t be called up for this one. Still, the war has affected everything including policing and when the bombers start hitting targets in West Ham, Jago must learn to take in everything at a crime scene right away. He is called in to investigate a murder and has time to recognize the victim before victim and evidence are wiped out by a German bomb.

This book is part mystery and part travelogue to West Ham during the blitz. There is even a map of the area so the reader can situate themselves and understand more clearly why the area was subject to such attention by the German bombers. The effects of the blitz on the people and the area of West Ham are brought home to the reader and the mystery is interesting. I look forward to reading more books in this series. ( )
  Familyhistorian | Aug 25, 2015 |
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Epigraph
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, And cold the sense, and lost the motive of action. Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury. "East Cocker" (1940) from T.S. Eliot, Four Quarters
Dedication
For Catherine and David, my great privilege
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He was alone, and there was no one to help him.
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Old Frank Thompkins was right. It was all going from bad to worse.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
John Jago is a detective inspector in London’s Metropolitan Police. He serves on K Division and is based at West Ham police station, where he’s assisted by Detective Constable Peter Cradock – not everything Jago might wish for, but, as they say, there’s a war on.

He’s 42 and a bachelor – he didn’t set out not to marry, but simply hasn’t found the right person. He left school at sixteen, and at eighteen was conscripted to fight in the British Army during the Great War. Two years later the war ended, and he had to find his way back into civilian society.

In 1919 he joined the Metropolitan Police and served as a uniformed constable until transferring to the Criminal Investigation Department, first as an aide to CID, then as a detective constable. He was promoted to detective sergeant and later detective inspector. By 1940, he’s spent half his life in the Metropolitan Police.

When the Blitz is unleashed in September 1940 and the bombs start to fall on West Ham, the police are more stretched than ever. Homes are destroyed, lives are wrecked, and people struggle to maintain as normal a life as possible.

But for some, the dark hours of the blackout are the perfect cover for theft, violence, even murder. Crime doesn’t stop just because there’s a war on – and there’s no shortage of cases to keep DI Jago busy.
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