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Forests of the Night: #1, A Johnny Hawke Novel (Johnny Hawke) [Paperback]

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Item description for Forests of the Night: #1, A Johnny Hawke Novel (Johnny Hawke) by David Stuart Davies...

First U.S. paperback; Unusual voice of a young male protagonist, although based in London in WWII, his issues as a 20-something person brings contemporary feel to this well-written noir mystery , autho lives in West Yorkshire, England

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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.6" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 25, 2008
Publisher   Felony & Mayhem
ISBN  193339787X  
ISBN13  9781933397870  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Stuart Davies

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > British Detectives
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Forests of the Night: #1, A Johnny Hawke Novel (Johnny Hawke)?

A compelling read  Feb 6, 2007
Author David Stuart Davies is the former editor of Sherlock, a crime fiction magazine and the author of several books on Sherlock Holmes. He edits the Crime Writers' Association magazine, Red Herrings.

If you love period mysteries and anything British, you'll be right at home with the novel, Forests of the Night.

In 1939, young John Hawke, a policeman, is preparing, as is most of Britain, to fight for his country in WWII. His plans change with one shot from a rifle during training. The gun explodes and he loses an eye. Not one to sit behind a desk, John leaves the police force and sets up shop, in London, as a private investigator.

In 1940, John is hired by a young woman's family to find her. Pamela Palfrey been missing for several months. John soon learns that the dowdy, plain girl her parents knew is not the same beautiful, promiscuous woman that others knew.

When Pamela's body is found, John decides that he must find her murderer. His investigation into her life as a 'star-struck' wannabe actress leads John to the fading film actor Gordon Moore. A chance meeting with a young runaway boy also is connected to Gordon Moore. The boy tugs at John's heart because of the parallels to John's own life.

This book is compelling. His dialogue is filled with dry humor and just sparse enough to evoke strong emotions from the reader. The characters are well developed--and you'll either like them or root for their downfall.

I hope that John Hawke will make a return appearance.

Armchair Interviews says: John Hawke is a welcome addition to the mystery scene.
an abosrbing read but not very atmospheric  Jan 26, 2007
A fan of the PBS series, "Foyle's War," I grabbed my copy of David Stuart Davies' "Forest of the Night," the first installment in a new series set in WWII London, featuring private detective Johnny Hawke, with high hopes. Were my expectations met? Yes, and no -- and I'm not being purposefully coy here. The mystery subplot made for a very absorbing and intriguing; however, the history bits -- period detail, atmosphere, etc. were a bit paper thin, and the language seemed a bit heavy and clunky at times. All in all, though, I was happy with "Forests of the Night."

When a jammed rifle causes ex-police constable Johnny Hawke to loose an eye and ends his grandiose plans of performing feats of glory for King and country, Johnny decides to use his detecting skills and become a private detective instead. Things start off slowly at first, that is until a rather dreary middle class couple, Mr. and Mrs. Palfrey hire Johnny to find their missing daughter. Plain and frumpish Pamela, who seemed to spend a lot of time daydreaming about film stars, had left home to move in with a girl friend, but now, Pamela seems to have disappeared. No one at her place of work seems to know where she has vanished to, and the girl that Pamela claimed she would be rooming with seems not to exist at all. Johnny starts his investigation immediately, and one of the first things he discovers is that Pamela was leading quite the double life -- remaining quiet and plain and frumpish for her parents, while blossoming into quite the glamour girl while at work. It is little wonder that Pamela decided to move out and leave no trace for her parents to track her down. Johnny thinks he knows what this case is all about, that is until this missing persons case suddenly becomes a case of murder and the list of suspects includes a well known film star. And even though the police have made a quick arrest, Johnny is quite sure that they have arrested the wrong person, and is determined to use all his detecting skills and ingenuity to nab the real killer...

"Forests of the Night" was a fairly quick and easy read. The plot wasn't too complicated and there were really very few plot twists, even though there were quite a few red herring suspects. Personally, I had anticipated a more complex plot and so was a little discombobulated by the straightforwardness of the novel. What I really missed though was the period details and atmosphere. Perhaps this was because I had "Foyle's War" at the back of my mind. This, of course, was not fair to David Stuart Davies and the book. However, while some of my expectations were unfairly laid on, I have to own that I did find the author's prose style to be heavy and clunky and jarring at times; and this really did not lend itself to very smooth reading. All in all though I would recommend "Forests of the Night" as an engaging 3 1/2 star read.
fine 1940 England whodunit   Jan 13, 2007
In 1939, Johnny Hawke left the London police force to enlist with the military. However, with only a couple of months as a soldier, his military career ended on English soil at Aldershot; during training Sergeant-Major Stock gave Johnny a rifle with an obstruction in the barrel that when the recruit fired it exploded in his face. He learns from Dr. Moorhouse at Aldershot General that the heat of the explosion destroyed his left eye.

Stunned as he is discharged from the military and knowing his previous vocation is no longer available for a freak like Johnny One-Eye, he becomes a private investigator as a means of making a living. He handles boring minor cases until Eric and Freda Palfrey hire him to find their missing twenty-seven years old daughter, Pamela. Hawke soon uncover the truth about Pamela that her parents were unaware of; she hid her high class prostitution business from her middle class family. Learning that leads Johnny to realize she was murdered probably by one of her customers. He begins to investigate the late Pamela's clientele to ascertain just who killed the high price prostitute.

Though the case may seem somewhat minor especially with WW II in full heat, readers will appreciate the first Johnny Hawke private investigation mystery that brings to life England while the hostilities are in the air and on the continent. Johnny's inquiries enable the audience to obtain a feel for how mostly Londoners were coping during their "finest hour" that seemed so bleak. The whodunit is fun to follow, but takes a back seat to the world of 1940 England.

Harriet Klausner

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