#BookReview
The Girl with the White Flag – Ed Penney

 

Private detective Eddy is confronted with a cold-blooded Romanian criminal, a sexy blonde and a dangerous ex-girlfriend – and his recurring nightmares.

— Introduction —

The book centres around private detective Eddy Boyle, who has a detective agency with his friend from the army, Joe Spencer. They are having difficulty keeping their heads above water and desperate for new clients.  When one comes up, Eddy takes the opportunity with both hands, it involves the kidnapping of the 17-year old Julia Fletcher, daughter of the wealthy and influential Fletcher. He is a pillar of society, or isn’t he? And why has Eddy to go through various channels before even meeting up with the man himself in his impressive Mansion?

— Storyline —

Eddy’s partner Joe is also hired by Fletcher. Joe’s task is to find out whether Fletcher’s second wife is unfaithful. Eddy and Joe have no idea that both of them are hired by the same man, be it for different jobs. As it happens, Eddy and the second Mrs Fletcher go back a long time as she is Eddy’s former girlfriend, Michelle, now calling herself Samantha. Eddy’s investigation mainly takes place in pubs, nightclubs, and all sorts of places where they serve a decent beer or whisky. An informant tells Eddy that a Romanian sex traffic gang, lead by the extremely dangerous Dragu, is active. It could well be that Dragu is responsible for kidnapping Julie Fletcher. However, Eddy is more busy visiting the various pubs than properly investigating. When gorgeous blonde Edie falls for Eddy, he cannot help but mistrust her, especially when she wants to assist in the enquiry. Eddy is unable to resist Edie’s charm even if he does not completely trust her.

Eddy is a typical anti-hero with a messed-up marriage, being a lousy father for his daughter and suffering from PTSD after having been ambushed in the Middle East when in the army. He desperately wants to trust Edie but his past prevents him from doing so. The recurring nightmares Eddy experiences give insight into his deepest fears and feelings of guilt. We sense something terrible must have happened in the Middle East, to do with a girl with a white flag. No wonder Eddy is back in the army each night and wakes up screaming. The horrors he lived through are still traumatic to him. Will Eddy ever get rid of his nightmares or finish the job he is hired to do? Will it be the army that brings Eddy down in the end or will it help him? Is Edie for real or somehow involved in the case of Julia Fletcher’s kidnapping?

— My Thoughts —

The book is a first-person narrative and that complicates matters because we see everything through the eyes of Eddy: the plot, the nightmares, what happened. For me, the drinking scenes in the pubs were too much. Apart from the bottom of a glass, there seems not much Eddy is investigating. The clues are mere speculations and just as easily dismissed. But the title suggests the book is more a psychological novel about the traumatic experience Eddy lived through during the war. That is what hugely influences him and that is what he cannot let go of because of his feelings of guilt that prevent him from coming to terms with the past and accepting responsibility. The really strong and touching parts of the book are, when we learn about the war and how what happened bonded the men for life. For me, the chapters focussing on the brothers-in-arms coming to terms with their feelings of guilt showed potential and are the most powerful.

— About the Author —

Ed Penney is a British author who has been writing all his life, from pantomimes and sketches to screenplays and dramas. Ed Penney has been commissioned by Russell Grant to write scripts for musicals. ‘The Girl with the White Flag’ is his first psychological thriller, two sequels are yet to follow, also featuring the anti-hero Eddy Boyle.

— Book Info —

 Paperback   284 pages
 Publisher   CreateSpace Independent Publishing  Platform (14 July 2016)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1535268794
 ISBN-13  978-1535268790

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