#BookReview The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne

TheBoyWhoSawAbout the Book

Who is Solomon Creed? A dangerous psychiatric patient, who has escaped from a high-security facility in America, or an innocent amnesiac trying to establish his true identity?

His search for the truth about himself takes Solomon to the beautiful southern French town of Cordes. But his arrival coincides with the brutal murder of an elderly French tailor, the words ‘Finishing what was begun’ daubed in blood on the walls.

Instinctively, Solomon knows he must help the tailor’s granddaughter and great grandson escape, and together they go on the run. Their flight, though, will set in motion a terrible sequence of events, leading to the exposure of a far-reaching conspiracy with its origins in the Holocaust but with terrible consequences for modern-day Europe. And what will it mean for Solomon himself?

Format: Hardback (544 pages)     Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 15th June 2017 Genre: Thriller

Find The Boy Who Saw (Solomon Creed #2) on Goodreads

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My Review

As if the 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge weren’t difficult enough, I decided to make it even harder for myself by constructing my list from the twenty oldest unread paperbacks on my bookshelves. And vowing to read them in date order. Yes, I know. I also decided to adopt a ruthless approach: if a book isn’t working for me, I’ll set it aside, put it in the pile for the charity shop and pick up the next one. The Boy Who Saw is the second book from my list and at no point did I think about setting it aside.

I absolutely loved the author’s Sanctus trilogy (comprising Sanctus, The Key and The Tower) and felt the same about the book that first introduced the enigmatic Solomon Creed to the world, The Searcher, when I read it back in 2016. Since I described The Searcher as ‘a cracking thriller’, I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to read this follow-up apart from the fact it’s quite a chunky read.  However, the number of pages are quickly forgotten because of the pace with which the story unfolds, the complex and intriguing plot and the author’s trademark teasing chapter endings.

The plot moves between the present day and the period of the Second World War. The events of the latter are revealed bit by bit through excerpts from two memoirs. They describe the horrific treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis and by one individual in particular, described as the Devil in human form for whom ‘Death was his to command’.  It would be nice to think that some of the events described came purely from the author’s imagination but I fear not.

Although the origins of the murders may stretch back decades, events in the present day encompass plenty of contemporary themes: far right extremism, anti-immigrant prejudice and political corruption. And it wouldn’t be a top-notch thriller without a race against time, a breathless pursuit, some full-on action, characters who aren’t what they profess to be and some really bad guys equipped with the latest technology. As the officer in charge of the murder investigation, Commandant Benoît Armand, ruefully observes, ‘Law enforcement in its current state was like a Band Aid on an arterial wound’. However, the arrival on the scene of Solomon Creed with his unique abilities tips the scales back in favour of the good guys – and then some.

I’m not even going to attempt to summarise the twists and turns of the plot, so you’ll just have to trust me that it will keep you guessing right to the end and probably, like me, frantically turning the pages.  I’m not afraid to confess I suspected just about every character of being involved in the killings and was wrong every time.

The author continues to tease the reader with the truth about Solomon Creed’s identity right up to the end of the book, leaving it perfectly set up for a third book – at least I hope so.

In three words: Gripping, suspenseful, assured

Try something similarI Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Simon ToyneAbout the Author

Simon Toyne is the international bestselling author of Dark Objects, the Sanctus trilogy and the Solomon Creed series. He wrote Sanctus after quitting his job as a TV executive and it became the biggest selling debut thriller of 2011 in the UK. His books have been translated into 29 languages and published in over 50 countries.

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