The Winker by Andrew Martin @hayleycamis @CorsairBooks #TheWinker #BookReview

img_0417Corsair Books 6th June 2019

Book Description

London 1976

In Belgravia in the heat of summer, Lee Jones, a faded embittered rock star, is checking out a group of women through the heavy cigarette smoke in a crowded pub.  He makes eye contact with one, and winks.  After allowing her glances to linger for a while longer, he finally moves towards her.  In that moment, his programme of terror – years in the making – has begun.  Months later the first of the many chilling headlines to come appears: ‘Police hunting winking killer.’

Meanwhile in France

Charles Underhill, a wealthy Englishman living in Paris, has good reason to be interested in the activities of the so-called Winking Killer.  With a past to hide and his future precarious, Charles is determined to discover the Winker’s identity.

In the overheating cities of London, Oxford, Paris and Nice, a game of cat and mouse develops, and catching someone’s eye becomes increasingly perilous.

But if no one dares look, a killer can hide in plain sight…

My Thoughts

Firstly can we agree how cool this book looks – the cover is spot on capturing the  70’s vibes of the story perfectly.  The Winker is a clever piece of crime fiction set in the sweltering summer of 1976.  Detailing events from the past at Oxford University with the current actions of the, ‘Winking Killer’ the mystery is slowly revealed as the story progresses.

A wink becomes a threat, a thing to be feared, the precursor to murder and London is living in fear.  But what does this wink mean and more intriguing, what has it to do with Englishman in Paris, Charles Underhill?  Young author Howard Miller is in Nice writing his second novel when he gets drawn into this game, an unwitting pawn who struggles to refuse the enigmatic Charles.  The plot thickens in this crime caper and no one can be trusted.

A definite tale of Cat and Mouse with two enigmatic main characters in Lee and Charles maneuvering between London and Nice as they try to discover who the other is and what they know.  I enjoyed the glamour of this novel, the faded rock star and the rich Oxford graduate, new money versus old!  The time and place were captured perfectly and the result was tangible, the searing heat, the smoky London pubs, the music scene and cool rock references.

A literary piece of crime fiction, neat and entertaining, a decent summer read with a fun plot and again, just look at the cover… don’t you just love it!?  Will you be adding The Winker to your reading list this summer?

About the Author

Andrew Martin is a journalist and novelist.  His critically praised ‘Jim Stringer’ series began with The Necropolis Railway in 2002.  The following titles in the series, Murder at Deviation Junction and Death on a Branch Line, were shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award and, in 2008, Andrew Martin was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, The Somme Stations won the 2011 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award.

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