Monday, October 13, 2014

The Summer of Long Knives by Jim Snowden

Hi, everyone! Today I'm a part of the TLC book tour for Jim Snowden's The Summer of Long Knives.

Kommisar Rolf Wundt is ready to leave Germany. His political views make him a potential target in spite of having made a name for himself in solving the Dresden Vampire case. To that end, he and his wife have been working to obtain a visa that will allow them to settle elsewhere when another murder shocks the local community. A young girl - a member of the League of German Girls - has been killed, her body carved with a message whose meaning so far eludes investigators. Rolf's boss has requested that he stay long enough to solve the case, but with things growing even more tense in the country Rolf knows staying could mean very real danger for his marriage and his life. 

Snowden's Summer of Long Knives was really an impressive historical thriller. In a lot of ways it brought to mind Tom Rob Smith's debut Child 44. Both deal with countries in the midst of political upheaval. And both deal with police whose jobs are hampered by their respective political atmospheres. While Rolf doesn't toe the party line the same way that Leo does, they do face similar emotional turmoil.

And like Child 44, Snowden's book relies heavily on believable (and hopefully accurate) history of the setting. Readers will recognize many famous names - Rolf and his wife mingle with the upper-crust a bit, which means that many of the BIG NAMES in WWII Germany have cameos. It sets the scene very nicely for both the overall read and the tension that plays such a huge role in the plot. As mentioned, Rolf and his wife are trying to leave the country. It's not a secret that they are at the mercy of those around them.

The case is quite interesting. The carvings on the body, for example, are such that other officers immediately want to turn an eye to a Jewish murderer (Germany in WWII, remember) but Rolf himself points out that the message can be interpreted many ways. It was interesting to see how Rolf's investigation evolved vs the expectations of others in authority. (I should note, too, that a fellow officer's obsession with phrenology is another nice nod to both the time and atmosphere in which the story is set.)

The Summer of Long Knives is a great read for mystery/thriller fans, especially those with a penchant for historical settings. 

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jim and his work you can visit his website here. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


Jimbo said...

Thanks for the generous review. The phrenology-obsessed character was a lot of fun to write, and he showed just how absurd, and dangerous in its absurdity, the Nazi regime could be.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've never read a thriller set in this time and place and but I do love WWI-era stories. Sounds like a great read!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.