Throwback Thursday: The Pale House by Luke McCallin


Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago. If you decide to take part, please link back to It’s Book Talk.

This week I’m reviving a review from Goodreads of a book I read before I started my blog. It’s The Pale House by Luke McCallin, the second in a series of books featuring Gregor Reinhardt, a German Intelligence Officer.   I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Man From Berlin, but I think this one was better and the third, The Ashes of Berlin, even better again (you can read my review of that here).

It’s a great series for anyone who loves a good crime mystery or for those with a penchant for books set in and around WW2. I can’t wait to see if Luke writes a fourth book, or a fifth, or a sixth….

ThePaleHouseAbout the Book

It is 1944 and German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt has just been reassigned to the Feldjaegerkorps – a new branch of the military police with far-reaching powers. While retreating through Yugoslavia with the rest of the army, Reinhardt witnesses a massacre of civilians by the dreaded Ustaše – only to discover there is more to the incident than anyone believes. When five mutilated bodies turn up, Reinhardt’s investigation begins to draw the attention of those in power and his friends and associates are made to suffer. The stakes rise as he desperately tries to uncover the truth while his own past with the Ustaše threatens his efforts. When it comes to death and betrayal, some people have long memories… and they remember Reinhardt all too well.

Format: ebook Publisher: No Exit Press Pages: 383
Publication: 15th May 2015 Genre: Historical Fiction    

Purchase Links* ǀ
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Man From Berlin, The Pale House and The Ashes of Berlin on Goodreads

My Review

In Gregor Reinhardt, the author has created a compelling character with realistic doubts and flaws. The fact Reinhardt is a German officer provides an unusual viewpoint and it is to the author’s credit that Reinhardt remains a sympathetic character. In this sequel to The Man From Berlin, the author creates a convincing picture of the horror and brutality visited upon the citizens of Sarajevo as competing factions fight for control amid the confusion of the German army’s retreat. As Reinhardt comments, ‘These were end times. There was nothing to lose, and all to gain, for those…who chose to go out and seize it for themselves’.

The extremes to which some are prepared to go to achieve this becomes evident as the book progresses. In navigating the “end times”, Reinhardt once again questions himself and his principles, battling his inner demons. As he says, ‘Full circle. Back to where I was two years ago. Alone. Surviving.’

I really enjoyed the first book and this sequel did not disappoint. Reinhardt is a great character and I can’t wait to find out how his story continues in the next book.

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In three words: Compelling, authentic, suspenseful

Try something similar: The Swiss Spy by Alex Gerlis


LukeMcCallinAbout the Author

Luke McCallin was born in Oxford, grew up around the world and has worked with the United Nations as a humanitarian relief worker and peacekeeper in the Caucasus, the Sahel, and the Balkans. His experiences have driven his writing, in which he explores what happens to normal people – those stricken by conflict, by disaster – when they are put under abnormal pressures.

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