About Death of a Young Lieutenant
In the opening weeks of World War One, and as a member of the newly formed British Royal Flying Corps, Captain Jake Reynolds is shipped off to Belgium.
Roped in by his squadron commander to prove the innocence of a young lieutenant accused of murder, Jake also wants to steal a 14th Century Jan van Eck painting.
The problem is both the evidence and the painting are behind enemy lines.
How do you prove a man’s innocence and steal a masterpiece while an entire German army is breathing down your neck?
Stateham has penned an intriguing and well-conceived story told mostly through the eyes of daring art thief and forger Captain Jake Reynolds, who is charged with finding out who murdered Sergeant Grimms. Young Lieutenant Oglethorpe, also deceased, is in the frame. Only Colonel Wingate is not so sure he’s guilty. Reynolds heads off to investigate, a task that means he must sneak behind enemy lines. While there, he plots another art theft.
There is much to love in this novel. I enjoyed Stateham’s punchy, rhythmic narrative style. Stateham has taken his literary chisel to his daring protagonist Jake Reynolds and sculpted a complex larrikin of a character that can charm his way out of the tightest of spots. The mystery elements combine in intricate ways that make for an engaging and entertaining read. And there is plenty of action to kick things along to a satisfying conclusion.
When it comes to stories based in history, anachronisms can easily slip in. World War One in 1914 was known as the Great War. But Stateham writes for a contemporary audience and perhaps made his choice accordingly. Death of a Young Lieutenant to my mind would not be classed historical fiction, the genre where such things matter, heaps, with historians quick to demolish a novel for getting a small point wrong. And yet the novel is packed with historical details and the author has clearly researched his subject, especially regarding the history of aviation. I appreciated the realism of the backdrop.
In all Death of a Young Lieutenant will please murder mystery fans who love to be taken on a journey to another time and place, to find themselves in amongst all the action. Recommended.
About B.R. Stateham
B.R. Stateham is a fourteen-year-old boy trapped in a seventy-year-old body. But his enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continue.
Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive. He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Near to The Knuckle, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime. He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.
In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions.
Also, in 2008 he self-published a fantasy novel entitled, Roland of the High Crags: Evil Arises.
In 2009 he created a character named Smitty. So far twenty-eight short stories and two novellas have been written about this dark eyed, unusually complex hit man.
In 2012 Untreed Reads published book two of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series A Taste of Old Revenge.
In 2015 NumberThirteen Press published a Smitty novella entitled, A Killing Kiss.
In 2017 a British indie publisher, Endeavour Media, re-issued A Taste of Old Revenge, and soon followed by a second Turner Hahn/Frank Morales novel entitled, There Are No Innocents.
In 2018 Endeavour Media published a third novel of mine, the first in a 1st Century Roman detective series, entitled While the Emperor Slept.
Also in 2018, NumberThirteen Press merged with another famous British indie, Fahrenheit Press. Soon afterwards, Fahrenheit Press re-issued an old novel of mine entitled, Death of a Young Lieutenant.
Now, after all of this apparent success, you would think Fame and Fortune would have sailed into my harbor, making me the delight of the hard-core genre world. Ah but contraire, mon ami! Fame and Fortune are two devious little wraths who pick and chooses the poor souls they wish to bedevil. I remain in complete anonymity and am just as bereft of fortune as I have always been. And apparently will continue to be for a long time to come.
B.R. Stateham has a blog called, In the Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham – http://noirtaketurner-frank.blogspot.com/
Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.