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Sunday 26 February 2023

‘Where God Does Not Walk’ by Luke McCallin

Published by No Exit Press,
9 December 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-84344-717-7 (HB)

Gregor Reinhardt is serving as a lieutenant in a Stormtrooper battalion on the Western Front in 1918.  He’s young for the responsibility but war provides opportunities for those who survive.  When a bomb kills a number of other officers at a meeting, one of Gregor’s men is accused of murder and then tries to commit suicide.  Gregor does not believe he is guilty and, in between the more pressing realities of life at the front, he tries to find out what exactly happened.  His investigations gradually reveal what appears to be a conspiracy within the German army, one which is being organised to ensure the war ends on terms that suit those who want Germany’s future to resemble its past. 

His resilience in the face of setbacks, misleading information, and personal danger begins to pay off as he identifies those involved.  In the process he starts to consider his own ideas of duty and devotion to his country in the light of the callousness and corruption he has encountered. 

This is the fourth in the Gregor Reinhardt series and is, in that sense, a good introduction the previous novels, which are set in the Second World War.  Gregor is an interesting and compelling character and the vivid descriptions of life on the front line provide a real sense of place, atmosphere and history.  His travels and his meeting with his father add the civilian element to the picture of life in a war-torn country.  It’s a tense and gripping story with a gradual unfurling of the plot.

Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books by this author:  The Man from Berlin, The Pale House, The Ashes of Berlin

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. 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.

Jo HesslewoodCrime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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