Book reviews: Orders from Berlin, Lamb, The Forgotten

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Simon Tolkien

You may recognise the surname, but there are no hobbits, wizards or powerful rings in this novel.

JRR Tolkien’s grandson, Simon, holds his own in this gripping Second World War espionage thriller.

It’s 1940, and one of the worst wars in the history of mankind is well under way. The Luftwaffe is bombing London; the RAF is bombing Berlin.

However, Hitler wants no more of this. He wants to focus his efforts on beating the Soviets, and wants peace with Britain.

But Nazi-hating Winston Churchill stands in his way, and the only solution for Hitler is to hire a double agent in MI6 to assassinate him.

This is a simply brilliant novel. Tolkien weaves historical facts into his fiction, and it’s seamless. His description of the Blitz is incredible.

Tolkien is brave to create a 
character of Hitler, but it’s believable, and he’s obviously done a lot of research.

hardback by HarperCollins, priced £20


Bonnie Nadzam

Scrawny, gap-toothed eleven-year-old Tommie is only acting on a dare from her friends when she approaches David Lamb, a 54-year-old in the grip of a mid-life crisis who has just buried his father.

While asking for a cigarette, her ignorant confidence is shaken when he pretends to abduct her, to scare some sense into her before taking her home.

But a bond is forged and David’s spurious decision leads to a horrifically skewed exploration of the old American Dream.

US writer Bonnie Nadzam’s debut novel is, quite simply, a page-turner. It’s hard to avoid comparisons with Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita due to its themes but the omnipresent narration is perfectly unsettling, giving hints of past and future events and casting dark hints on interpreting the present.

Despite David’s surname, Tommie is the real lamb, and his manipulation of her gullibility is chilling to read and the suspense is as gripping as the minimalist style.

Hutchinson, paperback £12.99


David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s latest thriller brings you back into the world of US military criminal investigator John Puller, an agent with no rules.

Puller’s latest case is close to home when he is called to investigate a death in Paradise, Florida.

The victim, his aunt; the motive, unknown. The crime had already been ruled as an accident but Puller finds evidence to the contrary.

As he delves deeper into the mystery, he realises the sleepy town of Paradise is a hotbed of secrets and lies. And with more and more of the residents being killed, he faces a race against time to solve the case.

Baldacci has proven once again that he can keep you on the edge of your seat with a thrilling, action-packed storyline that draws you deeper into the explosive world of John Puller.

Macmillan, hardback £18.99

Book recommendations for world book day.

Books you should read before World Book Day