TRUTH DARE KILL - Gordon Ferris
1945 - World War 2 is over, and TRUTH DARE KILL is another book set in a post-war period that I've read recently. Set in London, this is the story of Danny McRae, an ex-policeman who has returned from the war after being captured by the Germans, incurring a severe head injury in the process. As a result he suffers amnesia and blackouts, which has to make working as a private investigator a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
Approached by a woman who wants the possible death of her married lover investigated, McRae takes the job. Partially because he needs the money, and partially because the missing man turns out to be McRae's commanding officer in France, and one of the few people in the world that can help him discover the missing parts of his life. The complication is that not only do the blackouts and amnesia make his job difficult, there are also a series of brutal murders of prostitutes in nearby Soho and McRae has some very valid reasons to wonder if he could be involved.
TRUTH DARE KILL felt very like a book aiming to create a lone wolf, stripped down, struggling character. Danny McRae is taciturn and introverted, he's probably not meant to be an easy man to find any connection with. I'm not sure whether that was a particular ploy on the part of the author (the character is, after all, having trouble coming to grips with himself after his war-time experience), whether it's an artefact of the book's "styling", or maybe because it's the first book in a series. Alternatively it could be a combination of the whole lot. Either way, I suspect some readers will struggle with McRae. I found him quite realistic, and everything about him consistent, right down to the problems of finding something about him to connect to. He felt at sea, awash with the complication of life, the difficulties of randomly losing control of your life, making it seem feasible that he'd be disconnected from everyone and everybody (including a distant observer like me - the reader).
There's a very noir feeling to the setting as well. There was something subdued, dark, shell-shocked about 1945 London that felt authentic, albeit deliberately washed out, tired, gritty, bleak.
Despite the overwhelming feeling of bleakness left behind by TRUTH DARE KILL, I did find it to be quite an interesting book, set in another post-war period that isn't like the world that I live in. I certainly engaged enough with the book to add the next in the series to my buy list.
1945: The war's over. But there are no medals for Danny McRae. Just amnesia and blackouts; twin handicaps for a private investigator with an upper-class client on the hook for murder.
Danny's blackouts mean that hours, sometimes days, are a complete blank. So when news of a brutal killer stalking London's red light district start to stir grisly memories, Danny is terrified about what he might discover if he delves deeper into his fractured mind.
As the two bloody sagas collide and interweave, Danny finds himself running for his life across the bomb-ravaged city. The only escape is through that gap in his memory...
Will his past catch up with him before his enemies? And which would be worse?