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The Smoke (Creeping Narrative Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
London comes alive through Jethro's eyes, and it's a wholly convincing portrayal of the postwar era, with low morale due to widespread rationing (clothes, food, alcohol, tobacco) and the psychological scars of the war. A cockney who fled London for a career in the Merchant Marine and then the Merchant Navy only to return and start a new career thieving, he's a sympathetic figure. Of course he only steals from the rich, who are likely to be insured, and he spreads his wealth generously among friends and family. But when he inadvertently steals from a Russian spy, it leads to the unbalancing of his carefully tailored life.
The book is strong on details, both in terms of description and slang. The author has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to get the period lingo right, and it is fairly well sustained throughout, but at times comes across just too campy. One minor annoyance is that he provides a glossary at the start, but then when using slang terms in the text, awkwardly pauses to explain them the first time they appear, interrupting the flow.Read more ›
The plot moves along at a good rate and the characters are well portrayed. Our hero, Jethro, is a likeable rogue with typical cockney roots. He also has solid values, kindness and principles considering that as well as being a stage hand in the London theatres he is also a cat burglar!
The secret service involvement also conjures up what I would believe to be perfect examples of post-war, senior staff within MI5 demonstrating their dedication to protecting the country from the emerging communist threats to the British way of life. (Demonstrating their stiff upper lips, good breeding and superb manners.)
The villains came in two varieties, London gangland, (territorial villains who are quick to show their strength), and International spies that are cruel and ruthless. Both types are equally scary and challenging to Jethro's peaceful existence.
Jethro's colourful friends, his fence "Buggy Billy" / Ray, the coppers and his relatives all help to complete the picture of post-war London and the attitudes, hopes and way of life. The fledgling aspirations of the population in these austere times and how they celebrate their camraderie, coming up to Christmas, was very evocative of how I remember the early 1950s. Tony paints great images in the imagination of his readers.
I am looking forward to future editions in the Jethro series.