Have you ever come late to a party thinking you missed most of the fun, only to find out that the best was yet to come? Well, I seem to have come late to John Lawton's party because this is the first book of his that I've read. And it is so good that I will now pick up his previous seven books, all part of the Frederick Troy series. What's more, I look forward to the next installment of this new series, about John Wilfred Holderness, aka Wilderness, aka Joe.
How do I know there will be another Wilderness book? Well, I don't want to get ahead of myself. It's enough just getting to know this brand new character in the annals of post World War II noir fiction. Wilderness is a compelling character, a self-described honest criminal. Most of the book comprises his extensive backstory, which is bookended by a plot about smuggling a person from East to West...
Beyond the Book
To say that by the end of World War II Germany was in tatters is a massive understatement. Infrastructure services were at a standstill, craters gaped where centuries old buildings had once stood, the economy was based upon currency the Reichsmark that was essentially worthless. Worse, the government was forced to ration everything from cigarettes to milk. Everything that sustains life was in drastically short supply. Thanks to human ingenuity, however, where there is a demand there is someone willing to step up and become a supplier. This miasma of need proved to be rich soil that nourished an equally rich black market.