Too Many Heroes

The Gripping New Post-war Crime Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - General
294 Pages
Reviewed on 08/06/2019
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Jan Turk Petrie lives in the UK. She is a former English teacher with an M A in Creative Writing. 'Too Many Heroes', her fourth published novel, was inspired by Jan's fascination with the post-war period - how WW2 changed so many people's lives.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Too Many Heroes is a ‘gripping new post-war crime thriller’ penned by author Jan Turk Petrie, which combines recent historical fiction with psychological themes and a chilling thriller-style plotline. Set in the post-war period of London in the nineteen fifties, our would-be hero is Frank Danby, who finds himself keen to dodge the law and return to normality after the atrocities of the Second World War. Frank falls for the gorgeous but already married Grace, but this is just the beginning of his troubles when the law catches up with him at last. Facing his past and a future that’s about to be cut short, survival is key.

Every page of this well written and fast-paced novel is deeply chilling and exciting to read. Author Jan Turk Petrie makes masterful use of the present tense for her narration, bringing us into the here and now alongside Frank in both his present and the recent past of the war. Unusual locations are cited for the novel’s setting, giving us a unique view of London in a time of returned heroes and supposed glory for the British as Elizabeth is poised to take the throne. The characters are rich and deeply expressive through effective use of dialogue, giving distinct personalities shaped by a world at war, and the necessity of survival in such dark times. Overall, Too Many Heroes explores the nature and cost of that survival, alongside prejudice and pre-judgments, and is a highly recommended read for period thriller fans everywhere.

Deborah Lloyd

The long-term effects of World War II in England are well-described in this crime thriller. Frank Danby had no choice but to move around the country for many years. It is now 1952, and he is still suffering from war-related nightmares. He decided to leave the countryside and live in London. He found a job as a barman in the Eight Bells pub in the East End, and soon he became entangled with the owners, Dennis and Grace Stevenson. It was obvious Dennis was connected with some shady characters, and he would disappear for hours at a time. A beautiful woman, Grace provided the steady hand needed to run a pub. Author Jan Turk Petrie has written a captivating novel in Too Many Heroes: The Gripping New Post-war Crime Thriller. Frank’s past is revealed throughout the story and after a crime is committed, he becomes the prime suspect.

The plot itself is compelling and captures the reader’s attention from the first page to the last. There are many twists and turns within the story, and the ending is not what the reader expects. The author has skillfully included some facts about life post-WWII in a country whose citizens lived through bombings, rationing, and other negative effects. These are intertwined within the storyline itself, illustrating how people were affected over the next decade. The character development is also well done, as information is disclosed bit by bit. Too Many Heroes: The Gripping New Post-war Crime Thriller by Jan Turk Petrie is an exciting adventure, brimming with intriguing characters. An excellent read!

Marta Tandori

Choices – especially the difficult ones – have the power to haunt in Too Many Heroes, a gripping work of historical crime fiction by Jan Turk Petrie. The year is 1952 and it’s been seven years since the Second World War ended. Handsome Frank Danby has been traveling around England, earning a living under the radar and generally going wherever the work takes him. After his most recent stint as a farmhand, Frank sets off for London where he finds work as a barman at an East End pub called Eight Bells. The bar is owned by a couple, although Frank doesn’t meet his boss’ wife until after she returns to London, having tended to her ailing mother. When Frank finally meets Grace Stevenson, the attraction is instantaneous and he can’t help wonder how his older, overweight boss ended up with such a beautiful woman. Grace is equally smitten with Frank and before long the two become lovers. The only problem is, Dennis’s body is found some time later floating in the river and it doesn’t take long for the police to turn their sights on Frank as their prime suspect in his homicide…

Petrie’s narrative and regional dialogue effectively capture the essence of East End London. All one has to do is close one’s eyes to “see” Brighton and the beach where Frank plied his heroic efforts to save the young boy from drowning, or to imagine the squalor of post-war London as families scraped by, with the men heading to the local pub for a quick pint before facing the travails of home life. What also makes Too Many Heroes so interesting is the choices made by Petrie’s main protagonists, fueled by deep-seated beliefs and feelings gutted by war, fueled by anger and desperation. The author lays bare her characters’ souls so that we’re able to empathize, if not fully understand, their motivations for making the choices which they made. It also shows us the resilience of humans and the ability to start over again – and again, as the case may be. Too Many Heroes casts a wide net that is sure to please, both as a work of crime fiction and as historical fiction.