Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies of her injuries. Her home has been ransacked. Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father's wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Goring to safety along with a fortune of stolen art. When John's daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art. What is the link with his father's abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Goring's treasures? John races against time to discover the truth...and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried...
The Man Who Played Trains is the gripping new novel from Richard Whittle. If you’re a fan of crime and if you’re interested in the Second World War I would definitely recommend this book.
The novel is told across two timelines, in the present day and towards the tail end of World War Two. In the beginning of the novel we meet John Spargo whose mother has just died after a horrific attack leaving Spargo distraught. Whilst searching his mother’s property he uncovers a collection of old journals written in German and he wonders if the journals have a connection to what happened to his mother. We also encounter Theodore Volker in Germany, a German U-boat captain in the Second World War. Theodore is desperately trying to reach his son who is living with his grandparents. On his journey he is reunited with an old friend of his and is soon caught up in a dangerous situation which he has little control of.
I felt as though I really connected with the characters in this book. I found Theodore’s story slightly more interesting than John’s at first but towards the end of the book, John’s story picks up pace, especially when his daughter Jez is kidnapped. I really wanted Theodore to be reunited with his son and I liked how Richard built up tension in his story as he made the journey there, particularly when he met up with his old friend. There were some surprising twists in this book which I didn’t see coming.
I really liked how Richard pulled the two timelines together in this very intricate and intelligently plotted plot. A really enjoyable read, thank you to Richard for sending me a copy to review.
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Print length: 480 pages
Publication date: 25th May 2017