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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

‘The Pale House’ by Luke McCallin



Published by No Exit Press,
27 August 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-84344-551-7.

It is 1945 and ex-policeman Captain Gregor Reinhardt is assigned to the new branch of the military police called the Feldjaegerkorps and is sent to Sarajevo to help with the German retreat from Yugoslavia. On the trail of suspected deserters he comes across a massacre seemingly of civilians, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

While Reinhardt is looking into who carried out the massacre and who they were, five mutilated bodies are discovered deepening the mystery even more.

Reinhardt's investigations lead him to realise the Ustase are deeply involved and the further he digs into finding out the truth the more his life becomes threatened. More inquiries lead him to the 999th Field Punishment Battalion but all is not as it seems and Reinhardt is sure the man Jansky in charge of the Battalion is corrupt but proving it is another matter.

Peric a top man in the Partisans asks Reinhardt to help him get rid of the Ustase who are becoming more and more brutal and dominant. How he manages to do this makes a terrific story running in tandem with his other investigations. Intriguing.

I found this book very interesting and although at times brutal, I doubt that the incidents in the story were anywhere near as bad as the actual happenings at this time in history.

It is very well written and wonderfully descriptive. At times I could almost feel the cold and the desolation of the people of Yugoslavia so well was it related.

On reading the Historical Notes at the end of the book I was very interested to learn that many of the characters in the plot actually existed and a lot of the events did occur. Even the Pale House was real but was known as “the house of terror”.

Apparently there are two more Gregor Reinhardt novels due to be published soon, I shall look out for them with anticipation.
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Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Luke McCallin was born in Oxford, grew up in Africa, was educated around the world, and has worked with the UN as a humanitarian relief worker and peacekeeper in the Caucasus, the Sahel, and the Balkans. His experiences have driven his writing, in which he explores what happens to normal people put under abnormal pressures, inspiring a historical mystery series built around an unlikely protagonist, Gregor Reinhardt, a German intelligence officer and a former Berlin detective chased out of the police by the Nazis. The Man From Berlin was published in 2013, followed by a sequel, The Pale House, in 2014.
He lives with his wife and two children in an old farmhouse in France in the Jura Mountains. He has a master’s degree in political science, speaks French, is learning Spanish, and can just get by in Russian. When he’s not working or writing or spending time with his family, he enjoys reading history, playing squash, and keeping goal for the UN football team.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.






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