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Douglas, James - The Doomsday Testament
Paperback: 416 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Corgi ISBN: 0552164801

Jamie Saintclair, an expert in the recovery of lost and stolen art, has his somewhat ordered and ordinary world turned upside down by the death of his grandfather, Matthew. The elderly gentleman, an unassuming member of the clergy, had apparently slipped while coming down the stairs and broken his neck. Jamie begins to prepare his grandfather's house for sale and, as he does so, receives a request to visit an old friend of his grandfather's, in a nearby nursing home. Intrigued, he goes along but the old friend also meets with an accident before Jamie can speak with him properly. He does manage to tell Jamie that Matthew and he knew each other in the war and had been soldiers together. This scant piece of information really surprises Jamie, who had neither been told, nor had ever had the slightest suspicion, that his grandfather was a war hero.

A search of the house when he returns to his sorting reveals an old journal, with a map hidden inside it that entices Jamie away to Germany on a hunt for something that he assumes is just an old painting but ends up being far more significant. He soon has at least two separate groups of armed and dangerous men after him, all wanting what he is searching for. Jamie is totally out of his comfort zone but finds surprising strength and resolve hidden deep within. He pushes himself to the limits to honour his grandfather and discover the truth of what really happened to him during the war.

THE DOOMSDAY TESTAMENT is reasonably well written and has an interesting story line that kept me paying attention. However, parts of it, such as the true identity of Sarah, Jamie's new-found friend, and the problems with the hire car at the end, didn't quite ring true, and that spoilt it for me a bit. I also found the ending quite sudden and disappointing, after have been led up to it by a superbly built-up chase that left me wondering if anyone would survive and who the good guys actually were. That aside, if you like dark crime fiction and are particularly interested in stories involving Nazi mysteries, then you will enjoy reading this book.

Highly recommended.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
July 2012

Amanda blogs at
Old Dogs and New Tricks.

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 30/06/2012 20:55