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Black Out (Inspector Troy #1)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,013 ratings  ·  142 reviews
In the tradition of John le Carr
Paperback, 356 pages
Published August 22nd 2007 by Phoenix Press (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,135)
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Rob Kitchin
I found the first 100 pages or so of Bloack Out a little frustrating. The story kind of ambled along and exploited a whole series of coincidences that I found very convenient and unlikely. This is a big city, full of millions of people, and yet half a dozen principle connected characters coincide in time and space. Perhaps one, maybe two, coincidences would have been realistic. But several was unrealistic. In addition, Troy has remarkable luck – for example he’s the only survivor of a bomb explo ...more
Steven Z.
I have been a fan of Alan Furst for years. His evocative approach to espionage and his character development made his World War II noirs exciting and hard to put down. Now, I have discovered another master of that genre, John Lawton. The first book in Lawton’s Frederick Troy series entitled BLACK OUT features the intrepid Frederick Troy and his cohorts in Scotland Yard and an amazing array of individuals, who live in London in February, 1944, and a number of them who will also turn up in Berlin ...more
Pamela
Not really police procedural, not really espionage, not really thriller, not really realistic. Marred by caricatures with a bent for silly porny bits. Lawton is an American author who sets his novels in Britain. Curiously, his American characters are the least realistic and the most annoying.
Pam
Sold to me as "If you liked Foyle's War on PBS, you'll love Inspector Troy." At first I wasn't so sold, Troy was a bit prickly and hard to understand his motivations. However, once he started interacting with his peers, it all fell into place. The atmosphere is fantastic complete with bombed out neighborhoods that are rubble and air raids spent in the Underground shelters. In this war-time mystery, someone is killing refugees who are known communists. The clues are slim and the leads tenuously t ...more
Michael Klein
I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like this book. I just couldn't do it. The blurb on the cover from Scott Turow says, "This fine noel repeatedly brings to mind Le Carre." I agree. I repeatedly thought to myself, "Lawton is no Le Carre."

Lawton writes himself into a corner with his mystery, and the only way out is to give us multiple endings. Which he does. I kept thinking, "enough already." Also, the female characters are barely two dimensional - though one's dialogue is enjoyable,
...more
Vicki
Author John Lawton is a new discovery for me, and I am delighted that I stumbled upon his book! Black Out, featuring protagonist Inspector Freddie Troy, is historical fiction, but even better, it is a murder mystery thriller set in WWII London. Inspector Troy is a perfect mix of Sherlock Holmesian analysis and the intuitive sleuthing of the John Le Carre' Cold War spies, with British humor and upper class sensibilities mixed in.

Frederick Troy is the youngest son of Russian parents living in Eng
...more
Manray9
While Lawton effectively recreates the atmosphere of wartime London, the plot begs more questions than it answers. (view spoiler) ...more
Ron
More like 3.6 stars, but I really liked it. A gritty Lord Peter Whimsy with a badge.

Set in WW2 London, the story overflows with details of that time and place. I can only hope they are more correct than the smattering of details about America, because many of them are slightly off. It's a great mystery that we follow our protagonist through the solution to series of gruesome murders almost adding himself to the body count several times. The outcome feels rushed.

Speaking of feeling, the whole thi
...more
Vontel
This is the first book in the Inspector Troy series, written in 1995. I looked for this book because I believe there is a cross-over to another series of historical and mystery fiction based around the second world war with many players,countries and politics involved (primarily Russia/communists; Germany Nazis, Jew, non-Nazi Germans; Britain, including communists). I thought the cross-over/link was to a lesser character in one of David Downing's later John Russell "station" books(to the America ...more
Old_airman
An entertaining read with a lot of intersting characters. The author's vocabulary is extensive, and I used my Nook's dictionary feature much more than I normally do. The ending seemed too abrupt. Plan on reading others in this series.
Paul
I started this book in a happily anticipatory state, looking forward to a good read about life and crime in wartime London. As I progressed I became more and more disappointed. The characters, so interesting at first, did not develop past first impressions; in fact they became flatter as they committed increasingly improbable actions without adequate explanation.

Some of the novel's key plot points were simply not credible. The protagonist, Scotland Yard Inspector Troy, is a member of England's m
...more
Elli
Another author new to me that I like quite well. Detective Troy is a policeman now working for Scotland Yard who gets called in for a particularly gruesome murder case. It's set during the heavy German bombings of England during WW II. The atmosphere is rough anyway, food and basic necessities are not easy to come by, and you are always on alert to go to safety when the bombings happen and plenty don't make it. Lawton recreates the setting and atmosphere very well giving a picture of the problem ...more
Laurel
This book is an interesting mix-it is a mystery/thriller/spy novel set in the bomb-ravaged setting of WW2 London. Black Out introduces Sgt. Fred Troy, a detective solving a series of vicious murders, with clues leading him on a complicated and twisted trail, also involving MI5. In addition to having a tough case to solve, Troy must cope with the day to day realities of wartime London- bombing raids, rations, and shortages of various kinds. It took a while to grasp the group of players in this we ...more
Bibliophile
John Lawton's Inspector Troy novels seem to be racier versions of Alan Furst's suspense-filled explorations of the lives of spies in Eastern Europe before the Second World War (only Lawton's universe is a bit more chequered than Furst's so the bad guys are often - at least nominally - on the Allied side.) Black Out involves the discovery of a body in a bombed-out site in wartime London which leads to a tale of international intrigue, atomic spying and Troy's ending up in bed with at least two wo ...more
Jessie
Very different from the Maisie Dobbs series. Lawton doesn't spoon feed you the history or dated references. I prefer this style but was often confused. I learned about the white feather from Winspears' Birds of a Feather, but it was mentioned without an explanation here.

Unhappy single male detective. Now that I've started reading the Kurt Wallander series right after this, I'm not sure I really want to spend more time with this character type. I guess Maisie was the unhappy single female detect
...more
Sho
I was beginning to wonder about this novel, some of the ideas seemed a bit too modern for something set during the 2nd world war in London. And then suddenly, during an unnecessary sex scene (ok, maybe the sex had to happen, that seems to fit the narrative but the scene didn't need to make it on the page) that was totally ridiculous (mayonnaise? really?)

And then another sex scene hot on its heels - when suddenly the c-word turned up.

I'm not a prude, I've read 50 shades and worse, and if it's th
...more
Carey Combe
I enjoyed this book, although I thought it got ridiculous when the main character suddenly changed from a reasoned, intelligent person to a ridiculous man being entirely led by his prick - might happen in real life but didn't ring true here! Good evocation of a London during wartime, although I felt it was slightly too ambitious, starting as a routine police procedure to become an international cold war spy thriller.
DR
The time is London in Feb. 1944, as the Third Reich’s aerial blitz of England is resumed prior to the Normandy landings. This is the first “Inspector Troy” thriller--at least, in order of publication. (Lawton is prone to prequels and jumping back and forth in his protagonist’s career and personal history).

BLACK OUT is my first full-length encounter with Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, after a very brief cameo appearance he did in the wonderfully titled THEN WE TAKE BERLIN. Troy is dark-minded,
...more
Karen
I wanted so much to like this: I love the setting (London), the period (World War 2), and the genre (mystery / suspense). Unfortunately, this one just didn't quite measure up. The period details are good. The geography is almost as if the author wrote the book looking at a map (which is good, to a certain extent, but by the time you read 'he went up such and such and then down such and such and then took the Jubilee line to the...' for the fifth time, it's tiresome).

Three main complaints that ke
...more
Jennifer
Now that I've read the first written in the series, I can see how Lawton's writing improved by the time he got to Second Violin. I also can see the things that haven't changed, and by reading a second book so quickly after the first, the types of things one tolerates in some detective authors if the tale moves along and with interest. The flaws: Troy comes across a little more "James Bond" in this first book, where he survives situations that seem to be impossible, and the few women in the book ...more
Laura
I liked the idea behind this book more than I liked the actual book. It was pretty dragged out and it jumped around quite a bit. There were a lot of under-developed secondary characters that were hard to keep straight. The actual main character was kind of hard to like, especially as the story progressed. The author also seemed to build up his nerve with each of his main character's not-so-romantic encounters with the opposite sex, starting with scenes that faded away to the next morning in the ...more
Monica
There are wonderful descriptions of London during The Blitz and of the events leading up to D-Day. There are great characters - the unbelievably indestructible little London policeman Troy (I lost count of how many times he got shot, stabbed, beaten and blown up), his boss Onions and his partner Wildeve, Kolankiewicz the wonderfully obscene Polish pathologist, the extended Troy family and two memorable women - the formidable Larissa Tosca and the mad bitch Diana Brack.

The wartime history stuff -
...more
Calzean
A frustrating book. A story needs to be credible and this is not one that you walk away with a aha moment.

Inspector Troy is a Sherlock Holmes type at Scotland Yard. The war is on, the Yanks are in London and various bodies are appearing where the link is an elusive American Major who is in the OSS.

Troy has great deductive skills but appears to be unable to keep his pants on, and when his pants are off he misses the fact that his two lovers are (a) the murderer he seeks and (b) a Russian spy.
Joyce
Fair warning, I quit this book halfway through. For the following reasons:

(view spoiler)
...more
Matt Rohweder
Normally, I am all about World War II spy thrillers, so when I saw this book at my library and realized it was a murder mystery (my other favorite genre) that incorporated WWII, spies, and espionage, I knew I would love it. I am sad to report that I did not.

I found many of the ideas and events rather contrived...I mean, yes there is a Blitz on, but how many convenient bombs can get dropped on the main character in 340 pages? I believed the first one...but then the second and then the THIRD, tha
...more
Charles Vella
I bought this for my wife at Christmas based on a positive review I read. I'm afraid I couldn't finish it. Someone on the cover compared Lawton to John LeCarre, but I didn't see it. The story started out OK, but seemed to get sillier and sillier as it went on. The premise is that Troy is an upper crust policeman with remarkable intuition in solving crimes. He didn't do much for me as a character.
Sheila
Freddy Troy has not joined the war effort, choosing instead to remain working as a homicide detective with Scotland Yard. A severed arm is discovered by a group of children in a East London bomb site and Freddy is assigned the case. He learns the arm is linked to the disappearance of a refugee scientist from Nazi Germany and it slowly comes to light, this scientist was not the first to go missing. As he continues his investigation he realizes there is a corruption that extends up to the Allied H ...more
Ken
While this is the third book in the series if you read them in order of the time frame covered, it was actually the first written. The novel sets the stage for the novels that come before as well as after in the time frame. There is a method in this unusual way of doing a series but it does take a bit of getting used to. My rating actually is between 3 and 4 stars but closer to 4. Pretty good blend between a mystery and spy novel. Major problem I had with the novel is secondary characters appear ...more
Christian
This was an okay book. It's good enough to have kept me reading, but it didn't evoke any strong emotions or elicit a significant enough response that might cause me to recommend it to anyone. It's a rambling story about a bull-headed English investigator trying to solve a mysterious murder. Confounding him are London's uncouth street youth, the unspeakably rude American soldiers, and some violent explosions.

This book wasn't written for me. I'm not fascinated with WWII, and I lack a background in
...more
Amy
Meh. I read the Inspector Madden mysteries (set in WWI & WWII) in the same weekend and this did not compare favorably. The American and female characters were a complete joke, with the American female predictably being the worst of all. The Americans all talked as though they wandered off the set of a Wild West and/or Goodfellas movie, the women were all sex-mad, the book dragged on for way too long and the ending was bonkers. Also, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) called General Eisenhower Ik ...more
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John Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the British House of Lords as an offender against t ...more
More about John Lawton...
A Lily of the Field (Inspector Troy, #7) Old Flames (Inspector Troy, #2) Then We Take Berlin Second Violin (Inspector Troy, #6) Bluffing Mr. Churchill (Inspector Troy, #4)

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