Where can a wanted man hide in a country full of returned war heroes?It’s 1952 and Frank Danby has been looking over his shoulder for the last ten years, forced to lead an itinerant life, getting work wherever he can while trying to keep one step ahead of the police. Returning to London, he finds a job in an East End pub, where he becomes entangled with Grace, the young and beautiful wife of the landlord. Then the law comes knocking. Facing a justice system prejudiced against him, Frank must find a way to escape the gallows.Too Many Heroes is a gripping period thriller, exploring love, belonging and betrayal in a country still recovering from WW2.
1952. Seven years since the end of World War II yet the country is still deeply affected by what happened and the after-effects. Frank is an itinerant casual worker, and stories about his war experiences vary. Reserved occupation? Conscientious objector? Deserter? Nobody seems sure, but one thing is clear – Frank is always looking over his shoulder and moving on at the first sign of trouble. A move to London finds him working in a bar where he falls for Grace, the unhappily married wife of the landlord, Dennis. So when Dennis is murdered, the police naturally assume it is a crime of passion. Maybe it is time for Frank to move on again? The book is described as a thriller, but to me, it didn’t have the fast-paced, edgy feel I would normally associate with the genre. Instead, it moves at an unhurried pace, allowing the reader to savour all the subtleties of the story. I thought the book was so beautifully written and the characters so rounded and well developed that trying to slot it into a genre mould like “thriller” really doesn’t do justice to it. A great story, a great read, a well-planned plot and a clever ending all add up to a very memorable book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite - 5 stars
Too Many Heroes is a ‘gripping new post-war crime thriller’ penned by author Jan Turk Petrie, which combines recent historical fiction with psychological themes and a chilling thriller-style plotline. Set in the post-war period of London in the nineteen fifties, our would-be hero is Frank Danby, who finds himself keen to dodge the law and return to normality after the atrocities of the Second World War. Frank falls for the gorgeous but already married Grace, but this is just the beginning of his troubles when the law catches up with him at last. Facing his past and a future that’s about to be cut short, survival is key.
Every page of this well written and fast-paced novel is deeply chilling and exciting to read. Author Jan Turk Petrie makes masterful use of the present tense for her narration, bringing us into the here and now alongside Frank in both his present and the recent past of the war. Unusual locations are cited for the novel’s setting, giving us a unique view of London in a time of returned heroes and supposed glory for the British as Elizabeth is poised to take the throne. The characters are rich and deeply expressive through effective use of dialogue, giving distinct personalities shaped by a world at war, and the necessity of survival in such dark times. Overall, Too Many Heroes explores the nature and cost of that survival, alongside prejudice and pre-judgments, and is a highly recommended read for period thriller fans everywhere.