The Boy Who Saw

Written by Simon Toyne

Review written by Andrew Hill

A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.


The Boy Who Saw
HarperCollins
RRP: £14.99
Released: June 15 2017
HBK

Josef Engel is a tailor in the historic southern French town of Cordes-sur-Ciel. He is a survivor of the Nazi death camps and of one in particular - Die Schneider Lager – The Cutter’s/Tailors Camp. This was where the inmate’s striped uniforms were made and overseen by the brutal Standartenfuhrer Artur Samler. It seems that someone wants a list of survivors of that camp and they come first for Josef.

When Commandant Benoit Amand, of the Police Nationale arrives at the scene, he finds a tall, pale, thin man playing the piano - Solomon Creed. Creed points out the message written in German using the victim’s own blood, ‘Finishing what is done’. The Commandant arrests Creed and so the adventure begins.

If you’ve read the first Creed book, then you know that he is a man with a certain skill set. He is a man searching for his past and this is the reason why he’s at the tailor’s house. His suit bears a label with the tailor’s name and ‘This suit was made for Mr. Solomon Creed’.

The author zigzags us across France as Solomon escapes the police, meeting the daughter and grandson of the tailor (seeking to protect them). Solomon also searches to find the other survivors and perhaps some clues to unlock his past. The pursuer becomes the pursued when a shadowy right-wing French Nationalist group appear hell-bent on finding the other survivors, utilising a network that is spread across France which includes wealthy business people, politicians, newspapers and even the Sûreté.

We get to understand who Solomon Creed once was, though now he’s a man with a firm moral compass, prepared to do bad things to bad people when necessary. I enjoyed the bond that he forms with the grandson Leo who has a form of synaesthesia that enables him to see people’s moods in colour form.

There is clever use of dual timeline in the narrative which helps fill in the backstory of Die Schneider Lager. There’s also a gathering pace and sense of urgency as the chase hots up and comes complete with a twist that you’ll never see coming.

Whilst The Boy Who Saw does work as a standalone, I’d highly recommend reading them in order as this instalment has kept the high standards that Simon Toyne brought to the previous stories. I truly hope that Solomon Creed # 3 is not too far down the road.

 



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