Thursday, September 18, 2014

Out of the BlackoutOut of the Blackout by Robert Barnard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Robert Barnard's "Out of the Blackout" (1984) is the twelfth book by Mr. Barnard that I have read. It is quite an engrossing mystery, but not the best by this author.

1941 in London is the year of the Blitz, strategic bombings of British cities by German Luftwaffe. Many children are evacuated to the country. One such transport that arrives in a village in Gloucestershire has a five-year boy who is not on the list of evacuees. No one can figure out who he is and how he got on the train. The boy says his name is Simon Thorn, but does not seem quite sure about it. He is adopted by a local family and enjoys a happy youth.

The plot skips in time over the period of about 40 years as Simon tries to establish his real birth name and to learn about his family. Will he succeed? Are there any dark and ugly secrets in his family's past? I am not spoiling; read the novel.

The last chapter is the only place where Mr. Barnard shows his trademark acerbic wit and sarcastic writing style, which allows me to raise the rating a little bit.

Two and three quarter stars.

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